Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Squares - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 12-07-2019, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Squares

I am totally in love with these. I really like how versatile the length of the squares are (18" and 26") versus the standard 12" square you get at the hardware store.

https://www.woodpeck.com/woodpeckers...g-squares.html

I cannot justify spending $429 for a couple of squares. Is there anything remotely comparable out there that's a little more budget friendly?
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post #2 of 25 Old 12-07-2019, 11:53 AM
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BP - what kind of work do you do ? what do you consider "budget friendly" ?

my personal opinion of these expensive measuring implements
that provide precise angles and straight lines is this:
if you can not cut along a straight line, it does not matter how you got the line.
(strictly my personal opinion - not intended to initiate the Tool War all over again).

my B.I.L. was a drafting engineer for a big city. he designed the path for
underground utilities. he had to use top of the line expensive drafting tools to draw his lines.
but - the workers in the field, with the backhoe and shovels, often cut water and gas pipes
and all kinds of cables.
I guess his argument could be: "but, I used a $1200.00 T-Square to draw the plans".
sorry - I just never got the jist of these expensive design tools in the shop (my shop, anyway).

.

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-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --
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post #3 of 25 Old 12-07-2019, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
sorry - I just never got the jist of these expensive design tools in the shop (my shop, anyway).
This is similar to the ongoing debate one of my best friends and I used to have. (I think I related it, here, in another thread.) His feeling was weekend warriors, at least, didn't need the best tools in the world. My feeling was amateurs needed them perhaps more than experienced craftspeople.

E.g.: I can cut a straight line with the aid of good guides and good tools. The guy that built our shed could cut as straight a line with a plain old 7-1/4" circular saw, free-hand.

As for squares: I've a small machinist's square with guaranteed accuracy that I bought to check my sharpening of chisels and hand plane irons--particularly when restoring a trashed edge. I used that the check the squareness of my fairly expensive (at the time) combination square. (Turned out to be dead on as near as I could tell.) I used that to check my carpenter's square, which was most definitely not bang on.

I've got a thing called a TS Aligner Jr. I used to tune my table saw and sliding compound mitre saw. (I will re-employ that now that I've put a new fence on the TS.) This way I know, for example, that, when I go to cut an X angle on a piece of wood, that is precisely the angle I'm going to get--if I do my part.

That being said: You won't fine me paying $430 for a couple squares :)
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post #4 of 25 Old 12-07-2019, 01:58 PM
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I do not understand the pricing on Woodpeckers tools. You can see the quality and care that go into their design and manufacture, but in general, I am not willing to pay those prices. I am especially annoyed that they charge so much for aluminum, no matter how well machined and finished. I hope that Woodpeckers has a scientific explanation of why aluminum is the best possible material for their tools, other than manufacturing cost and profit margin, which must be outrageously high. Who knows, there could be a real justification for the pricing, but I don't see it.

I recently bought two items from Woodpeckers, but only because there were no alternatives that I could find. I bought a five piece carbide pen mill set, which arrived yesterday. After wearing out two of Rockler's $35 pen mills (even though I resharpen them myself) I figured that the $85 Woodpeckers set with replaceable carbide cutters was the way to go. (I may hand it to Spouse to deliver to me as a holiday gift), I also bought a tiny square as a gift for my spouse to square up blades on her scroll saw. It was the only tiny square that I trusted to fit in the small space. I had to call Woodpeckers to get the outside dimensions. It will arrive soon.

What are your precise requirements?
Inside square only? ... or inside and outside square? Not all squares are square on the outside.
Do you need measurement markings, or just a square?
Would less precise markings (say 1/8 inch apart) be sufficient? (Thinking framing/carpenter's square here.)
Must the square have a lip, or would a flat square suffice? (Again, thinking framing/carptenter's square.)

If you don't need markings, you can make your own squares. I have friends who use their own shop-made squares. Some of them are made from beautiful hardwoods with brass inlays and metal or wood blades. Others are crude, but they are square. One very old woodworker in our club uses nice shop-made hardwood squares, probably mahogany. Nothing special, just old, well used, and square. I keep thinking that I should do the same, if for no reason than skills development.

Additional note:

Not all fancy squares are square. I have a 9-inch Robert Sorby Gilt-Edge rosewood and brass try square that is not square. It makes me mad. I bought a similar six-inch Crown try square at Rockler, and returned it. It wasn't square either. Over the months, I noticed that the same square would disappear and reappear on the peg. (The SAME one, not a replacement; I know from an incidental mark on the plastic package.) I assume that others bought it, found it not square, and returned it. I finally made a comment about it, and they took it off the shelf as defective. I just looked at Amazon, and those same Crown try squares got terrible ratings.
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post #5 of 25 Old 12-07-2019, 02:33 PM
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OK, I'm reluctant to post this ..........

I was informed of this site by a friend who bought some laser lights and liked them. So, I bought some myself and sure enough 4 out of 5 worked fine at $8.00, if I recall. Then I bought a few rifle scopes,
Chinese knock offs, of Leupold and Zeiss, but as experienced as I am, I can't tell the difference .... I saved hundreds of dollars. So, as far as quality goes, I'd say pretty darn good. Here's what I found from a Google search "machinists squares" :
https://www.wish.com/product/5cbabc7...hoCpNwQAvD_BwE


But, how square is square? It's all relative and when it comes to woodworking if you can split a pencil line that's close enough. FYI, I can't so, my stuff has built in tolerances.
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Last edited by woodnthings; 12-07-2019 at 03:43 PM.
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post #6 of 25 Old 12-07-2019, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
I was informed of this site by a friend who bought some laser lights and liked them. So, I bought some myself and sure enough 4 out of 5 worked fine at $8.00, if I recall. Then I bought a few rifle scopes,
Chinese knock offs, of Leupold and Zeiss, but as experienced as I am, I can't tell the difference .... I saved hundreds of dollars. So, as far as quality goes, I'd say pretty darn good. Here's what I found from a Google search "machinists squares" :
https://www.wish.com/product/5cbabc7...hoCpNwQAvD_BwE


But, how square is square? It's all relative and when it comes to woodworking if you can split a pencil line that's close enough. FYI, I can't so, my stuff has built in tolerances.
“Items are sold and shipped by WTFtrump“
Copied from your link. I don’t dispute your claims of good enough and I’m not sure what this means but sent up red flags to me. Likely the seller is just making some sort of joke.
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post #7 of 25 Old 12-07-2019, 07:19 PM
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For many years I never felt the need for anything better than what I could buy at Sears. Then came Lowes and Home Depot. Now I do not feel the need for anything any better than what I can buy in those 3 stores. As for squares, it is very easy to check the accuracy.


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post #8 of 25 Old 12-07-2019, 09:10 PM
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Woodworking may require hair splitting accuracy .....

My favorite woodworking guru, Rick Christopherson a woodworker who pushes the limits of perfection, writes about cutting the wedges for this expanding round table in page 7 of the blog:
http://www.waterfront-woods.com/


Quoting Rick:
This meant that each cut was off by just 1/128th of an inch over a distance of 30 inches.



Try that with your Home Depot framing square and see what it says.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #9 of 25 Old 12-08-2019, 01:49 AM
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For what we do . . . .

Let me rephrase that:
For what most of us do, National Bureau of Standards traceability in a square is not needed.

So how do we get a square square? It is a lot easier than you think.
First, under stand that many tools are dipped in a varnish and hung up to dry. Why do you care? Because during the dipping and drying process the finish is uneven and drips may be evident.

Second, every manufacturer is going to produce a square with a slightly different 90.

To find a "good" square go to the home center. Select the brand and model that you want. Grab 3 or 4 of these. If they have been dip coated, use the straight back of a key to scrape off the dip on the edges that you need to be square. Test these edges against first against the others of the same brand and model. This is a test of the manufacturers consistency in manufacturing. If you find some are tight and others are loose (Acute and wide) it would be best to choose a different brand and model.

Then test the squareness against other brands in the store. Use the same logic here. If your choice is consistently tight or loose, again it would be best to choose a different brand. This is a test of relative accuracy.

Finally, take the square to the lumber department to do the 'Flip Me Over' test. Grab a piece of S4S lumber and use the square to draw a pencil line across the wood. Flip the square over and measure that the line is parallel to the square. Flip me over means handle down to draw the line and handle up to measure the line.

I was doing this test at Home Depot and an employee asked what I was doing. I explained. He then grabbed the same model and brand and asked me to do the same. Both were good squares. He said he was going to buy the second square after his shift.

I asked if he got a discount. He said, "Yeah. If I come in early I'm allowed to drink coffee before I start and after my shift is over I can buy anything I want at shelf price." Ah yes, the great American enterprise.
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post #10 of 25 Old 12-08-2019, 12:24 PM
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Good comments and suggestion, NoThankyou.

Along those lines: Recently acquired a new fence for my table saw. It appears the two sides may not be parallel based on initial checks with my machinist's square, which I've assumed to be pretty darn square.

So last night I checked my assumed-to-be-square machinist's square against my good combination square and against a cheaper combination square I purchased recently, which had been checked against a carpenter's square at the store.

Imagine my surprise to find my assumed-to-be-square machinist's square disagreed with both carpenter's squares in the same direction and about the same amount! (I'd estimate 1.)

I suppose it's possible the two combination squares, manufactured 20+ years apart, by different manufacturers and of different materials are off by nearly exactly the same amount and in the same direction.

"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -- John Ruskin (1819-1900)
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post #11 of 25 Old 12-08-2019, 01:57 PM
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So much for "precision" then ......

Wouldn't it be nice if the product description actually was true? As Reagan said "Trust, but verify"
The two most popular method for checking a square for 90 degrees are:
Align the base by using an edge or maintaining it to a line, scribing the long leg on the right, then flipping it over and scribing the left side right next to the first line. Any deviation will show as a wedge in the two lines which will be 1/2 the total error.


The second method is to place the edge upright on a flat surface and bump another square up to it and look for a gap between them. The only problem with that is, which one is "OFF"? Back to method number one.


Now, in real life, where we need to make accurate cuts, the "compounding error" or 5 cut method will determine the the amount of deviation from 90 degrees. There's plenty of videos on this method.



Another simple method to determine error is explained here by Rick Christopherson:
http://www.waterfront-woods.com/
Double Error Squaring


When tuning up my table saws and aligning the blade parallel to the miter slot, I use a variation of increasing the length of a plane by extending it. I run a 24" steel scale along the plane of the blade, being careful to not engage any of the teeth and then hold it to the table top with two strong magnets. Now instead of having a 8"or 9" blade length to measure from, I have a 24" length. This will compound any error by a factor of 3:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f27/...er-slot-11185/






The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 12-08-2019 at 02:09 PM.
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post #12 of 25 Old 12-08-2019, 02:47 PM
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i'm with georgec on this and use the same squares i've had for 30 years.
easy to check the accuracy and also easy to adjust the accuracy if needed
a $400 square is good until dropped
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post #13 of 25 Old 12-08-2019, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BP-MI View Post
I am totally in love with these. I really like how versatile the length of the squares are (18" and 26") versus the standard 12" square you get at the hardware store.

https://www.woodpeck.com/woodpeckers...g-squares.html

I cannot justify spending $429 for a couple of squares. Is there anything remotely comparable out there that's a little more budget friendly?
Johnson and Empire make quality tools at much more affordable prices. The Johnson CS12 is a 1/8 inch thick Stainless Steel 16x24 framing square that is far more durable than an aluminum square, but also runs $30 - $40. The Empire 1190 16x24 "True Blue" anodized aluminum framing square has a compass point and marking holes on the blade, although it would have been better if the marking hole's ran the length of the blade, but for $15, money well spent IMO.

The Milescraft 8405 is a 19in framing square with more functionality (look it up and you'll see what I mean) than the Woodpecker for under $20 albeit with plastic cheeks instead of aluminum, and not sure if the blade is aluminum or not, their website simply says construction is "metal and plastic"....
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post #14 of 25 Old 12-08-2019, 07:54 PM
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Far as checking if squares are actually square goes, if you have 3 squares, a decent eye and a flashlight, you can establish exactly how square they all are by comparing them against each other. Butt them against each other, with one leg on a known flat surface, and look for a gap between the blades. Repeat with all possible pairs, i.e three squares labelled A, B, and C, start off comparing A and B, then A and C, then B and C. If you dont get a gap in any of those measurements, all three squares are truly square.

Reason you need 3 squares is because if you only have 2, they could both be out of square, just in a complimentary way. To elaborate, if one square has a 95 degree angle and the other has an 85 degree angle, when you butt them against each other they would match up. If you throw a third one into the mix though, the only possible way all 3 can match is if theyre perfectly square. Picture having a 95 and 2 85 degree angles. The 95 and the 85 wont show a problem, but the 2 85s together would.

Has no bearing on the original thread topic, but the idea of self-proving squares and straight edges is fascinating

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post #15 of 25 Old 12-08-2019, 08:52 PM
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Totally off-topic, I apologize.

I'm not a fan of Woodpeckers tools. Their One-Time Tool business model capitalizes on "limited quantities" marketing hype. Good for them, but not so good for the consumer. What? So they're just going to toss the plans and tooling for these products and never make them again? No. They'll bring them back later on a "limited" basis and charge even more for them. 100% hokum. If they'd stop giving YouTubers free tools to promote, they'd be able to knock their prices down for Average Joe.

This stuff is just anodized aluminum. Their profit margins must be astronomical.
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post #16 of 25 Old 12-08-2019, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by AmishElectricCo View Post
Totally off-topic, I apologize.

I'm not a fan of Woodpeckers tools. Their One-Time Tool business model capitalizes on "limited quantities" marketing hype. Good for them, but not so good for the consumer. What? So they're just going to toss the plans and tooling for these products and never make them again? No. They'll bring them back later on a "limited" basis and charge even more for them. 100% hokum. If they'd stop giving YouTubers free tools to promote, they'd be able to knock their prices down for Average Joe.

This stuff is just anodized aluminum. Their profit margins must be astronomical.
Thank you for confirming what I suspected all along.
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post #17 of 25 Old 12-08-2019, 10:22 PM
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Not a big cost savings, but have heard good things about these squares, though they are more intended to be used with a MFT table.

https://tsoproducts.com/tso-precision-system-triangles/

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post #18 of 25 Old 12-09-2019, 12:07 AM
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Thank you for confirming what I suspected all along.
Woodpeckers is the McRib of tools.
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post #19 of 25 Old 12-09-2019, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
I was informed of this site by a friend who bought some laser lights and liked them. So, I bought some myself and sure enough 4 out of 5 worked fine at $8.00, if I recall. Then I bought a few rifle scopes,
Chinese knock offs, of Leupold and Zeiss, but as experienced as I am, I can't tell the difference .... I saved hundreds of dollars. So, as far as quality goes, I'd say pretty darn good. Here's what I found from a Google search "machinists squares" :
https://www.wish.com/product/5cbabc7...hoCpNwQAvD_BwE

But, how square is square? It's all relative and when it comes to woodworking if you can split a pencil line that's close enough. FYI, I can't so, my stuff has built in tolerances.
I should have said something earlier, so sorry. Did anyone else notice the text on the webpage for those squares, where it said:

"Note:
1.Please allow 1-3cm error due to manual measurement. Please make sure you do not mind before you bid.
[...]"

That was enough for me to pass on those squares.
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post #20 of 25 Old 12-09-2019, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
I should have said something earlier, so sorry. Did anyone else notice the text on the webpage for those squares, where it said:

"Note:
1.Please allow 1-3cm error due to manual measurement. Please make sure you do not mind before you bid.
[...]"

That was enough for me to pass on those squares.

Yes. Saw it. I wondered if maybe that meant whoever created the ad wasn't involved with the manufacturing end of it.
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