How to Use a Square


This tool is one of the most useful in the list, for the importance of having your work "square" can hardly be over-estimated.

The try-square should have a metal strip on the inside edge of the wooden arm, head, or beam, or the handle can be wholly of metal. Get a medium-sized try-square (9- or 10-inch blade is good) rather than a very small one, as it is much more useful; and a graduated scale, like a rule, on the blade is sometimes serviceable.

The primary use of this tool is to test or "try " the accuracy of right-angled work - hence the name. The one special point to bear in mind in using it for this purpose is to be sure that the head or beam is pressed firmly against the edge or side to which it is applied, determining the accuracy of the angle by the position of the blade (Fig. 680).

Fig. 680

You will also use the try-square continually for marking straight lines across boards or timbers at right angles to one side or one edge (Fig. 681). In using it for this purpose be sure not merely to press the head of the square firmly against the edge of the board, but to keep it securely in the same position. When the blade is placed correctly on the given point do the marking as by any straight-edge. Another way is to place the point of the pencil or knife directly on the given point and slide the square along until it bears on the pencil or knife. Then, keeping the head of the square firmly against the edge, the line can be drawn along the blade.


The try-square sometimes is made with the end of the head or beam next the blade cut on a bevel. By placing this bevel against the edge a try-square of this construction can also be used as a mitre-square (Fig. 682).

If you buy a second-hand square, or if a square has been wrenched, you can test its accuracy by marking a line with it across a surface from a straight edge, then turning the square over and repeating the operation; the two lines should coincide. But the edge from which you rule must be perfectly straight, or the test will be of no value. If, however, you buy new squares made by the best makers they will be as accurate as any test you can apply to them.

Beginners, particularly young beginners, are very apt to be so engrossed in making the line along the blade that they forget to keep the head in position, or let it slip, when the blade will of course cease to be at right angles with the edge or side (Fig. 683)

Square Fig. 683

The framing-square, "steel-square," or large two-foot carpenter's square, is a very useful and important tool; not merely for framing and large, heavy work but also for small work, and it is of great value in many mechanical operations. Even an iron square is very useful, but a nickel-plated steel-square is the best, as the figures are more distinct and it is less likely to rust. The long arm makes a good straight-edge.


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