I don’t think that many people can understand the many uses of a combination square. It is used in carpentry, metalworking, and in stone masonry. It is not much of a complicated tool, there is nothing special about it. It’s just a simple ruler with a handle attached to it. Its primary purpose is to lay out or check right angles and 45 degrees angles.
If you are into DIY projects,then you must have one of these in your workshop. However, as simple as they may be, combination squares are important in woodworking and other such activities. Why? Because it can dictate if a job is well done or not. Can you imagine what an extra degree can do for your project? It can ruin it completely. You will be forced to start again whatever it is that you’re doing. All that because of a single degree. So nobody can say that a combination square is useless. If you can’t find a hammer, you can hit a nail with a rock, but nothing else will help you make a perfect 45 degrees angle. A combination square is almost irreplaceable. What else can provide such accuracy?
The structure of a combination square
The combination square is made of three parts: The blade, the anvil, and the scriber.
The blade, also known as a rule, is a straight edge that will determine if a surface is flat or not. The higher the quality of a square, the more accurate it will be. That is because high-quality combination squares have their blades made of hardened steel and they are accurately graven.
The anvil, or head, can be used by itself or with the blade. It contains a bolt that safely secures the rule, and it’s tightened with a thumbscrew. This feature is the main reason for which the combination square has become so popular. It allows you to adjust the blade, which you cannot do with a regular square.
The scriber is a marking device that is built directly into the anvil. It will help you mark a line with an extraordinary accuracy. This comes in handy if you don’t have a proper tool to make your marking, like a knife. A pencil will not provide as much accuracy as the scriber. Also, there is no smearing.
How to choose the best combination square
There is no lack of combination squares on the market. You can enter any hardware store you find, and you will see that they stock a few kinds. It’s a standardtool that you can find anywhere and anytime. But what exactly should you look for in a tool like this? There are five primary aspects you should search for in order to get your hands on the best combination square.
- Accuracy – this is the first important feature in a combination square. After all, that is why you are using it. You need a tool that can lay out or check angles with the highest precision possible. I don’t know if you have ever used a not-so-perfect square to see what happens. It can ruin the entire project, there is a material loss, and let’s not forget about the time you invest. To start things all over again because of a 43 degrees angle is an absolute tragedy at times. That is why you need an accurate tool. It will save time and resources. It’s best to invest a few dollars now than to ruin something that may be costing you a lot more.
- Easy handling – when you are working with wood, metal or stone, you need a tool that will not make your life harder than it already is. Working with any of the materials above is not easy. So why should you bother using a tool that’s hard to handle? Instead, the combination square should run smoothly in your hands and on the material you are using. Who needs the headache of using a tool that refuses to adapt to your style of work? Nobody has that kind of time. So, to recap, you need a blade that will run smoothly on the material you are working on, the anvil should be easy to adjust, and the scriber should make its mark without too much pressure. As long as the tool you choose has all these characteristics, you should be okay.
- Versatility – if you buy a combination square, you will be amazed at how many things it can do. You can mark perfect angles, find the center of a circle, measure with absolute precision if you want to cut something around, and much You can even calibrate a saw with a combination square, did you know that? Here is a video of all the things this simple tool can do.
- Durability – that’s also an issue you should consider in a serious manner. A combination square is not that expensive, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t last. Also, the metal that it’s made off will not decide only the number of years you are going to own it, but the quality of your work as well. Low-quality metal and bad etching will also affect your project. As years go by, there will be dents in the blade, a thing that you do not wish for. You need something that will be perfectlyetched as the day you bought it. The recommended metals are zinc and stainless steel. There is nothing more durable than these.
- Size – this is not a must, but it depends on what projects you’re taking on. The bigger the project, the longer blade you’ll need. There is no point in struggling with a small rule on 15 feet board, don’t you think?
With the above aspects in mind,I believe you are ready to make the best choice. Searching for the best combination square is not hard, but you have to pay attention to every little thing. You know what they say. The devil’s in the details.
What is the best combination square?
As I mentioned before, there is no problem in finding combination squares. They are everywhere, in a hardware store, hypermarkets, and online. The issue is finding the best one. That is why I browsed for you and found these three perfect tools.
Irwin Combination Square
My grandfather, who was a carpenter by the way, always told me that you are only as good as the tools in your toolbox. And he was right. When you think about it if you don’t have a high-quality tool in your hands, how can you possibly do a great job? It doesn’t matter what you envision as long as you cannot bring it to life. Try to make a perfect square with a crooked square. You envisioned it perfect, but is that how it came out? My point exactly.
The Irwin combination square will always be the tool that guarantees precision. You cannot fail. It doesn’t matter that you are a beginner. Nobody could fail with this in their hands. Its black precision-etched scales will help you mark the perfect 90 degrees and 45 degrees angles. It can also be used as a gauge for transferring measurements. That’s what I was talking about when I mentioned versatility.
This combination square will last for years thanks to its durable cast zinc body. The blade is made of rust proof stainless steel that will not allow any dent. Now, don’t think you can store it anywhere and that it will be fine. Like all things, a combination square such as this one must be kept in a dry place.
The only thing that bothers me about this combination square is the length. The longest version measures 16 inches, which is kind of hard to use on 10 feet boards. That is why I believe this is more suitable for people with a hobby. But other than that, the Irwin combination square is perfect. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Swanson Tool Tc132 Combination Square
This too comes in three versions: 6, 12, and 16 inches. It’s still too short for significant jobs, but it will do I guess. The truth is that you cannot find longer rules with ease. They are very hard to get by. Until then, people make due with what they have.
The die-cast zinc body will ensure a very long life, and the brass bolt spring loaded blade will make sure that settings are firm and, most important of all, accurate. The blade is made out of stainless steel, so you know it’s durable and rust proof. I emphasized the importance of this aspect. As long as the metal is durable, no dents will appear over the years. Precision is essential, it makes like 99% of the product.
What you will like about this combination square is that the rule runs smoothly. It’s always nice when you find something like this. I know that it’s not much, but it’s the little things that make us appreciate some stuff.
For this small price, the Swanson tool is practically a steal. There is no doubt about the angles, they are perfect 45 and 90 degrees. It will never fail when it comes to this. The leveling feature is also extremely reliable. This combination square comes with an impact-resistant acrylic vial. It will not break anytime soon. The numbers areclear, and the measurements are displayed in both inches and centimeters, whichever you need. But what you don’t find on all combination squares is the brass scriber. They are present o all squares, naturally, but this one has a brass threaded end that will prevent it from sliding out. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Empire Level E250 12-Inch Heavy Duty Professional Combination Square
If you are a professional or a passionate DIYer,then you are going to love this combination square. It’s the best tool you could have in your toolbox. Just take a look at your current square, multiply its quality by 10 and you will get this one. It’s just perfect.
The blade is 12 inches long, just like any regular combination square, but this one has an etched stainless steel rule with a matte finish that will never rust or corrode.It also has a True Blue vial. In case you are not familiar with what a True Blue vial is, you should know that it is the most accuratevial in the whole wide world. This is not an exaggeration. This leveling tool is engineered to provide maximumprecision, durability, and increased readability. The True Blue vial is a trademark of Empire Level Mfg. Corp. I can bet that you have never owned this good. Unless you ownedan Empire before.
As the most accurate vial in the world wasn’t enough, the Empire Level combination square is equipped with a self-aligningdrawbolt, a hardened scriber, and a heavy-duty machined square head. Many people test their square’s accuracy after purchasing it, but it won’t be necessary in this case. Precision is the first thing that Empire Level Corp. guarantees. Also, I noticed that a lot of people who are interested in buying products such as this ask the country where the square was manufactured. If it makes any difference to you, this particular tool is made in the USA. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
I think you have already guessed my choice among the three products. Empire Level cannot be ‘leveled’ by any other manufacturer. Not now, at least. The company has a history of producing high-quality tools that nobody ever complains about. It’s the kind of tool you tell your buddies about. I am not saying that the other products are not worth their price, but there will always be the first place. In this particular case, it’s Empire Level. I honestly believe that this is the best combination square ever made.
There is more to combination squares than meets the eye. There are a few things you should know about, not only that it makes good angles. Like every other thing, there are criteria to be met and standards to be reached. After all, it’s your hard-worked money. Don’t you think that you deserve the best? Click here to buy on Amazon
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