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Thread: Miter sqaures

  1. #1
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    Miter sqaures

    There has been a lot of discussion on this site lately concerning miter squares.

    I'm curious why with the popularity of combination squares, why a miter square is needed. I have a 6" and a 12" combination square.

    Also, a miter gage set to 45 degrees will do the job as well.

  2. #2
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    Convenience. A combination square can be awkward for certain miter layouts. And, yes, you can set an adjustable bevel, but it's an extra step, and then you have to be confident that you don't bump it and knock it out of alignment.

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    A fixed 45 - 135 gauge is much more convenient than a combination square or a bevel gauge. When checking a miter cut it is handy being able to quickly check from either or both sides of the cut.

    If one crossed my path with a longer blade it would likely be bought and taken for a ride home.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
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    I understand that a full toy box is the goal of all woodworkers, however, the 6" combination square (from Lowes) makes an excellent substitute.

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    Jim, you said "When checking a miter cut it is handy being able to quickly check from either or both sides of the cut."

    For the life of me, I don't understand what can't be checked with the small 6" combination square. The one I bought at Lowes is dead on at 45 degrees and only cost a few dollars.
    I made a wooden square with a thick handle so I could check the mid leg brace between adjacent legs for square. A miter square would be easy to make. You could make a 22.5 degree, a 30 degree, or what ever angle you want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lowell holmes View Post
    Jim, you said "When checking a miter cut it is handy being able to quickly check from either or both sides of the cut."

    For the life of me, I don't understand what can't be checked with the small 6" combination square. The one I bought at Lowes is dead on at 45 degrees and only cost a few dollars.
    I made a wooden square with a thick handle so I could check the mid leg brace between adjacent legs for square. A miter square would be easy to make. You could make a 22.5 degree, a 30 degree, or what ever angle you want.
    The blade on my fixed miter square makes both 45 and 135 in relation to the main stock. I haven't figured how to measure 135 with a combination square. Besides, I am not much a fan of the combination squares even though I do have a few of them. The one with the adjustable angle is nice, but a fixed gauge is less bother.

    Making them for other angles is a great way to go. I do have a lot of bevel gauges. So far they are easier to set than to make particular fixed angle models.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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    I see, (I think), you want to measure the angle on the wood, you're not talking about layout. I was fixated on layout. I don't think I ever had the occasion to measure 135 degrees. I have measured 45 degrees many times. I have a difficult time visualizing a solid 135 degree piece other than a raised panel and that would be on the face of the panel.

  8. #8
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    When a 45 miter is cut, the pointed side is at 45. The other side of the with the wide angle is 135.

    A picture is worth many words:

    Miter Square.png

    One side of the blade to the stock is 45 the other side is 135.

    135 + 45 = 180

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 06-16-2016 at 11:03 AM. Reason: 135 + 45 = 180
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  9. #9
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    I understand the 45 degree cut, But I don't recall ever cutting a piece of wood to 135 degrees. What would you be building?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lowell holmes View Post
    I understand the 45 degree cut, But I don't recall ever cutting a piece of wood to 135 degrees. What would you be building?
    It all depends where you establish your point of reference. On a miter box both marks are labeled 45. One is actually 135.

    When cutting miters and shooting for perfection I often read both sides and adjust as needed.

    Corner Detail.jpg

    It helps to fit the corners.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #11
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    I'll give you that your miter square is a sexy tool. And that is reason enough to have one.
    I do admire your miter square and would want to show it off if I had one.
    I'm considering making one.

    However, I think I could check the corners with a combination square and I probably would use my 6" square.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowell holmes View Post
    I'll give you that your miter square is a sexy tool. And that is reason enough to have one.
    I do admire your miter square and would want to show it off if I had one.
    I'm considering making one.

    However, I think I could check the corners with a combination square and I probably would use my 6" square.
    Well, that isn't my miter square as the picture was just the first image to show up in a web search. I couldn't find an image of mine right away. A bit more digging found this:

    Miter Shooting.jpg

    It is up above my right hand. It isn't quite as sexy as the other, but it does have its own resting place on my try square rack.

    But I was thinking about this while remaking my shooting board yesterday. (see my post Oh Shoot!) When a 45 wedge is used to shoot mitered corners the angle to the face of the work is 135.

    In my post the wedge was cut for ~17 but there really would be no place to check that angle for the work being done. One would need a gauge with the supplementary angle, 163, to check the work if it had to be accurate.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 06-17-2016 at 12:17 PM. Reason: clarified wording
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  13. #13
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    You can change your mis spelled thread title by pressing the "go advanced" button. It allows corrections then. Thought this would be useful info.

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    Quote Originally Posted by george wilson View Post
    You can change your mis spelled thread title by pressing the "go advanced" button. It allows corrections then. Thought this would be useful info.
    Not sure to what you are referring George. Should it be Oh Chute?

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #15
    I've read all the posts and can't see any advantage of the miter square over a combination square, BUT, I really like my 1937 Stanley miter square. I also have a couple of Stanley try squares and four or five combination squares--a couple of Starrets and a Union Caliper square that was made only one year.

    I have ENUFF squares. Won't be buying any more. I need to be thinking about whether some of my grandkids should end up with particular tools I have.

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