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I decided I wanted a good combination square so I went to Starrett.com and was shocked to realize it was going to cost me around $75. Maybe I'm a little naive but that sounds pretty high to me. I'm not one to buy the cheap stuff but I really don't like paying way too much for something. Is this a good price and if not what is a good brand to look for?

Thanks for all your help!
 

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I personally don't know but all I've ever seen were the Starretts and the cheap Swanson or Stanleys. Seems there's nothing in between and with the cheap ones it's hit or miss on being square. I went through every single one Lowe's had one day looking for a square one and found none. All were off as much as a 1/16 sometimes. I finally went with an engineer's square, one that's fixed and doesn't slide or adjust at all. I love it, but I really did like the idea of an adjustable square to do some different things, or even mark 45 angles which my fixed square won't do. I have a real old Stanley square that dad gave me and it actually is a lot more accurate than any new one I've seen (never seen a Starrett close up) but it's still off by 1/32 at times. I say at times because I move it once and it's square, move it again and it lines up a little off this time, then it might be square again on the next move, and so on. I just gave up on moveable squares because I want to shoot for dead on accuracy when I mark so my final builds will I be as close as possible to square. I figure I shoot for the stars and I'll hit the moon. But if I just aim at the moon I'm liable to miss completely.
 

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I have to precede this reply with the statement that I feel that you get what you pay for and will spend the extra money to buy a higher quality of tool every time. Having boughten both a cheap combo square and a nice Starret combo square I would spend the money and buy the good one. I'm sure there will be plenty of people who think that I am insane for thinking this but it's also a subjective question. Yes the cheaper one does the job. Is it as easy to use as my Starrett? No it's not. Just my opinion.
 

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Starrett is really good stuff. If I was a machinist that's what I'd go for. Being one who sometimes needs to watch his pennies, I've been more than happy with Empire measuring tools. I have their little 6" combination square which I use a lot in the wood shop as well as a 12". You could buy both at your local HD and have a little change left over from a $20.

Bill
 

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Starrett is really good stuff. If I was a machinist that's what I'd go for. Being one who sometimes needs to watch his pennies, I've been more than happy with Empire measuring tools. I have their little 6" combination square which I use a lot in the wood shop as well as a 12". You could buy both at your local HD and have a little change left over from a $20.

Bill
From what I have seen of Empire brand it is certainly adequate at woodworking.

The original poster stated he measured 1/16"off but did not state over what run.

Some squares, such as the ubiquitous 24" carpenters square, can be minutely adjusted with a center punch.

George

George
 

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So, if I'm in a store and want to check if the square is really square, how do I check it?
Take a piece of cardboard ( or thin plywood) that has a known straight edge with you to the store. Use the square to draw a line on the cardboard perpendicular to the straight edge. Switch the base of the square to the other side so that the leg on the board is on the line you drew. If that leg lies exactly on that line then the "square is square." However much that leg deviates from that line indicates that the instrument is not square.

If you are checking a combination square, then take one or more (how many angles does the combo square have?) plastic drafting triangles with you.

George
 

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I've heard good things about the higher end Empire squares, they are supposedly really accurate and fairly cheap.

That being said I have an old Starrett 6" square and a newer Empire (not one of the new higher end ones though), and I'd take the Starrett hands down. I've never really had a problem with accuracy with the Empire, the Starrett is just much smoother to adjust and locks down better, the adjusting nut on the empire always binds up now that it is getting older. I picked my Starrett up at an estate sale for less than $20, so you can pick them up for a similar price of you are willing to buy used.
 

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Starrett..the only way to go.

I bought these Starretts about 50 years ago. There are no better. Keep them clean and lubed and they should last a lifetime.
. If you are building a chicken house, Stanley, Empire, General, are fine. They can even do well in the wood shop, if they are true.
. Thing is, it's not really the cost of the tool, but how you use it. A mistake with a Starrett is due to operator error. I use my 24" Starrett to check all my other tools.
I think $75 for a 12" Starrett is not too bad, but shop around.
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Combination squares come in handy for many things but it shouldn't be your reference square. Get a 6" engineer's square. You can take it with you when you buy other squares to check them. They are the best for machine set up and not very expensive.
 

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I'm not going to get into the question of whether $75 is too much; that's a question of opinion.

I will say, though, that my 16" Empire combination square is square and straight, and has stayed so despite some minor abuse. It's been dropped once or twice (and my shop has a concrete floor), and it still checks out fine. I bought a 6" Empire combination square recently, and it also checks out perfectly. Empire claims their "True Blue" line (pale blue vials for the level) are guaranteed to 0.001" over their length. Frankly, you're going to have a hard time machining wood to that level of accuracy anyway, and no one will ever notice if you do. If my 16" level is accurate to .01, I'd still need to go 200" before it was off by 1/8. That's more than adequate for me.
 

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As for combination squares, I've had good luck with Stanley. I've got several both 12" and 16". They all are square. If I drop one or it gets damaged or out of square, I don't use it.






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And, you can buy several of those for one Starrett. Plus you do not cry if you drop one and it becomes damaged.

George
 

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Love my Starret, but paid more than $70 several years ago. Use it all the time, it is accurate and worth what I paid for it. Mine was still 100% made in the USA, with a signature from the assembly worker in the box.
 

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I'm a bit of a nut where measuraing tools are concerned.... I have 6 or 7 Starrett squares in various lengths. My absolute favorite is this little guy. I use it on every project. http://www.starrett.com/metrology/p...cision-Hand-Tools/Squares/Special-Squares/13A

In any event, I think the PEC line is a very nice line which fills the gap between the higher end squares like starrett, and the box store crap. There is a site called Harry Epstein.com, which sells the PEC line with belmishes for very reasonable prices. I have nothing to do with them, but I've ordered at least 6 of thier blemished PEC squares in various sizes, and have been very pleased. Here is a link...

Alan

http://store.harryepstein.com/c/ProductsEngineering.html
 
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