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Thread: After only 20 years I learned how to use a speed square

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    I've built stuff for a living, for 48 years now, and have never owned one. Maybe I'm missing out, but I get by. I do use framing squares for what they will do, and keep a combination square in my tool belt, when I'm wearing one.
    Your not missing much Tom, and you can't beat the instant credibility when someone sees you using a framing square to properly to cut rafters. They both do that, but the framing square does look cooler.

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Rozmiarek View Post
    Your not missing much Tom, and you can't beat the instant credibility when someone sees you using a framing square to properly to cut rafters. They both do that, but the framing square does look cooler.

    Biggest thing about Speed Square is the little book. It's an absolute must for rafters. No figuring required. I'm old enough to remember when rafters were cut on a 16" Dewalt RAS, including the "bird mouth." Studs were also cut on the "DeWalt."

  3. #18
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    Bought my first Swanson speed square about 34 years ago when I started framing with a new employer . Everyone on the new crew had one and after I used one for a day I purchased one also. I also shared my Japanese made cat's paw nail puller with my new found crew and they very shortly all had one of their own as well.

  4. #19
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    I'd hate to try to survive without a speed square! I have a least 1/2 dozen. A couple are the big ones, 12" I think, SO handy when framing with larger boards. I use them for angles a lot too - quick and accurate. I like bright orange squares so I can't misplace one easily.

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wrenn View Post
    Biggest thing about Speed Square is the little book. It's an absolute must for rafters. No figuring required. I'm old enough to remember when rafters were cut on a 16" Dewalt RAS, including the "bird mouth." Studs were also cut on the "DeWalt."
    I don't know if it's true today or not but use to a good framing square had all those tables and more stamped into the center field of the square.

  6. #21
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    Menards runs them on sale for low or no cost (rebate).
    I pick up a bunch when they are on sale.
    .
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  7. #22
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    How does the speed square give you the length of a rafter? With gauges, and a framing square, no figuring, or measuring, or trial and error needed. You just step off the length with the framing square. I don't remember paying anything like this price, but I've had these for 47 years. Easy for hips, and valleys too. I haven't bought one lately, but mine do have all the charts on the square.

    I can't imagine how you would do an accurate stair stringer with a speed square, but like I said, I don't know anything about them.

    https://www.amazon.com/Starrett-5047...7659531&sr=8-8

    I like that design better than the hexagonal ones.

  8. #23
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    A lot of contractors have moved to using a smartphone application to do the math. Input the the data accurately, and the lengths and angles require will be pretty much exact every time. It's then merely an exercise of not making human mistakes.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #24
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    Tom I have never tried using one for stairs. That is a framing square and gauges. I really like the looks of the Starrett ones that you posted, might have to pony up and get some of those.

  10. #25
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    They take out any error caused by the rounded edges of boards, like you can get with the smaller, hex ones. With those, and a sharp no. 4 pencil, I can lay out a rafter, or stair stringer dead on, first try. I use the combination square off the framing square for the last fraction of a foot mark, when something (almost always) is not an even number of feet.

    My gauges are old enough that they have thumbscrews instead of those round knobs. I expect they changed them because too many people got too heavy handed with the extra leverage of the thumbscrews.

    Need a hip rafter? Just change the 12 to 17 on the square.

    The Chappell square has all sorts of other charts on it, useful for timber framing, but I haven't had the project come up where I needed one of them yet.
    https://chappellsquare.com/
    Last edited by Tom M King; 07-30-2021 at 2:39 PM.

  11. #26
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    A couple of weeks ago, I built a little hip roof for a cupola. I used a framing square to mark the hip rafters, and a Wixey cube on the table saw blade to set the angled top cuts. I cobbled up a fence to cut the rafter cuts on the miter saw, just eyeballing the blade to the line, so they'd come out the same. Everything went together first try, easy, peasy.

    edited to add: I almost didn't use that treated wood with all the knots, but it was leftover from another job, and had been milled to 2-1/4" thick over 15 years ago, so I figured it had done what moving it was going to do. I wanted more surface area than regular 2x lumber would have given me.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Tom M King; 07-30-2021 at 2:57 PM.

  12. #27
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    I tried to figure this one out once for unequal pitches, got it to work for a few, decided it was really too complicated to remember how. IF that ever comes up again, I'll learn it again I guess.

    chappell.jpg

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    A lot of contractors have moved to using a smartphone application to do the math. Input the the data accurately, and the lengths and angles require will be pretty much exact every time. It's then merely an exercise of not making human mistakes.
    Not only contractors use a smartphone to measure things. Yesterday my wife wanted to measure a desk we have. She went to get a tape measure but my eight year old grandson said " grandma you don't need a tape measure" and he proceeded to measure the desk using her iphone
    Dennis

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by dennis thompson View Post
    Not only contractors use a smartphone to measure things. Yesterday my wife wanted to measure a desk we have. She went to get a tape measure but my eight year old grandson said " grandma you don't need a tape measure" and he proceeded to measure the desk using her iphone
    True, but I was speaking about applications that do the math for rise/run/angles, etc. There's some pretty handy ones available and they cut down a lot of work and time for folks who are working things that require the calculations.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    How does the speed square give you the length of a rafter? With gauges, and a framing square, no figuring, or measuring, or trial and error needed. You just step off the length with the framing square. I don't remember paying anything like this price, but I've had these for 47 years. Easy for hips, and valleys too. I haven't bought one lately, but mine do have all the charts on the square.

    I can't imagine how you would do an accurate stair stringer with a speed square, but like I said, I don't know anything about them.

    https://www.amazon.com/Starrett-5047...7659531&sr=8-8

    I like that design better than the hexagonal ones.
    Re read my post about saving the book that comes with a Speed Square. Tables are in there, showing lengths for various pitches. Never cared for gauges clamped to framing square. Instead, use a of piece of 1 X material clamped to square to match rise and run. Have been known to use corner of a piece of plywood, instead of square.
    Last edited by Bruce Wrenn; 07-30-2021 at 8:48 PM.

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