This is the first installment of a series I like to call the 2 Minute Tool Overview. Basically I’m going to be going over different types of standard tools that you’ll see in almost any wood working shop.

Today we’re talking about squares. Now, whether you are brand new to woodworking or have been doing this all your life, one of the most important and often most difficult things to do is draw a straight line. Having accurate straight lines is important because you are going to be using that lines a reference for cuts. Fortunately squares are here to the rescue.

First, let’s review some of the most common types of squares.

Speed Squares: Often times called rafter square, triangle square, carpenters square.

This squares is one of the more essential squares. It features a fence on one side to butt up against the edge of your work surface and ruler on the other side. Most wood workers use this square after marking their initial cut mark with a ruler or tape measure. Then they take the speed square, butt the fence up against the edge of their material and use the side of the square to draw a straight line across their material. I use this square most commonly on 2 x XYZ lumber to give me a cut guide, but you can use it on almost any material. They come in a few different sizes and are incredible useful around the shop.

Drywall T Square: A drywall T square is commonly used by contractors to cut drywall panels down to size. This may seem like an uncommon square to have in a woodshop, but it’s actually quite useful. When you are dealing with large pieces of sheets goods you need a way to draw lines as guides when cutting with your circular saw or table saw. Drywall T Squares have a fence, just like the speed square, which butts up against the edge of your material. The main difference between a drywall T square and other squares is its long edge. Typically they come in 48 inches long, but their are other lengths as well.

Steel Square: Sometimes called a Carpenter’s Square. This square is exactly as it name states, it helps to ensure that joints are square. Another use would be make sure you have a clean, straight line from the edge of your piece. These squares don’t have fences like the other squares, so they rely on the edge of your work surface to by a straight edge.

Combonation Square: This one of the most versatile squares in the mix. It comes with interchangeable heads for a combination of different uses. One of the more useful is a corner fence. This fence allows you to butt your square up to the corner of a piece of a material and get a straight line from that corner.

Hopefully this was helpful for you to understand some of the more common squares out there. There are several other types of squares so take some time to educate yourself on them.

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Author Geoff

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