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Thread: Squaring sticks

  1. #1
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    Squaring sticks

    Getting ready for the dry fit. I made these squaring sticks with some scrap cherry from the cabinet project and some blue tape. So simple. I love YouTube!

    my sticks.jpg

    I tapered the points to 10 on the shooting board after cutting a plywood backer at 80. Such a Neanderthal I'm becoming: I initially thought I was going to cut the little tapers on the band saw or even the table saw.
    Last edited by Bob Jones 5443; 11-04-2019 at 9:09 PM.

  2. #2
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    They are so, so useful in checking for square. So much handier than a ruler. I used some taped up ones for a while and eventually bought an inexpensive hardware kit from LV to make one set that seems to fit lots of the sizes I need, but not all of course.
    David

  3. #3
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    I have a pair of different colored 24" levels that are working for me for now. Are these also known as winding sticks?

  4. #4
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    Scott, these are different from winding sticks. My photo only shows the squaring sticks retracted, so they look like four individual sticks, but they are four matched pairs. An assembled pair is called "a" squaring stick. An alternate name is "pinch sticks."

    Every part is tuned to a fine bevel on one end. (Some designs use rods that come to a point, but I thought these would be simple to make and easier to handle.) In the assembly the bevels are at opposite ends. The blue bands you see hold the two parts together so they cannot pivot from each other. You extend the parts until the bevels' edges touch into opposite inside corners when you assemble a square case or frame. Once you have the diagonal measurement you put a small clamp (not shown) in the middle so the measurement is fixed. Then you can transfer that measurement to the other diagonal. When the measurements are the same, the case is square and you can clamp it up.

    The photo shows the four lengths of sticks I'll use to cover all the diagonal dimensions in my cabinet. With this set I can measure anything from 12" to about 42".

    Winding sticks, on the other hand, use high contrast strips to show you whether a board is flat or if it has "wind." (like you wind a watch)
    Last edited by Bob Jones 5443; 11-05-2019 at 3:30 AM.

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    well that's a clever thing. Cool.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Winners View Post
    I have a pair of different colored 24" levels that are working for me for now. Are these also known as winding sticks?
    Good question Scott! I didnt recognize the term either.
    Looks like a handy tool Bob!
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  8. #8
    Hi,
    Traditional inside squaring measurement sticks and the Lee Valley gauge heads are very cool and traditional.

    But to be honest, I simplified my life and just use a good old folding wood rule with a brass extender every time I want to check for square or any type of inside measurement. Available from any Home Depot or dozens of other places.
    Just another option, either will get the job done. Still feels kind of traditional and neanderthal....
    Edwin

    lufkin-rulers-and-yardsticks-x46sln-64_1000.jpg

  9. #9
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    It doesn't cost any more to size your text so that it is readable by old people like me.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=Art Mann;2964092]It doesn't cost any more to size your text so that it is readable by old people like me.[/QUOTE

    I agree with this.

  11. #11
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    Just be aware, an isosceles trapezoid's will also show accurate corner to corner measurements, but the sides will not be square. This approach is only accurate if you first measure the sides to ensure that parallel sides are the same (exact!) dimension.

    This might seem like nonsense, but it's important especially for panels where one can easily fall into making a trapezoid, measuring corner to corner and assuming it is square.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  12. #12
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    I made something similar using scraps of aluminum T-track. No separate clamp necessary and I can add different lengths of track for different ranges of length.

    3EC3E958-1C38-474F-9862-3DAFE3111B4D.jpg7D5E376A-E1BA-4374-878F-07DBB2011517.jpg
    Pay no attention to what you cannot control.. Epictetus, 100 A.D.
    It costs nothing to be kind to others

  13. #13
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    Brian, intriguing observation! Ill be sure also to use the sticks to check rail-to-rail spacing on both ends. My rails are already precisely uniform, but there is some tiny up-and-down play in the mortises. Ive been puzzling about how to manage that, and your geometry reference drove it home for me. Isosceles trapezoid! Fun to say.

  14. #14
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    Mark, nice work! Easy to slide, keep in line, and lock securely. I might have beveled the tracks so the points face toward the middle of the assembly. This would keep the points a bit more in line with the axis of the tool, especially with short lengths. But a length is a length, so OK. I like how the aluminum is far less prone to denting than my delicate cherry points.

  15. #15
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    Mark, nice work! Easy to slide, keep in line, and lock securely. I like how the aluminum is far less prone to denting than my delicate cherry points.

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