Choosing a Combination Square

The combination square is incredibly versatile in woodworking and should be a staple in your tool box. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, the combination square will prove to be useful in almost every project you do. This is likely to be a tool that you keep and use for a very long time, so it's one of the ones that we recommend doing your research on before you buy. Investing a little in a quality combination square with all of the extras can help you avoid mistakes and make more precise measurements on all types of items.

The combination square is made of steel. It consists of a ruler and a sliding square head. Simply loosen the bolt to slide the square head up and down the ruler, then tighten to fix it in place. Some will have a protractor head, and some will have a third piece, the center head. Here we will discuss the different applications of the combination square and each of the specialty head attachments. Use this guide to help you determine which features to look for and how to use each one.

The basic combination square will usually have a bubble level in the square head. If the one you're looking at does not have the level, then you should probably reconsider. The level is very useful and you'll surely miss it if your combination square does not have one. Another thing to look for on a basic combination square is a forty-five degree angle feature. Some will only have a ninety degree face and are less useful. The last thing to look for on the basic combination square is the scriber. The scriber is a small rod sharpened to a point. The scriber is used to cut a thin guideline in your wood project. These lines will allow you to make more precise measurements and more accurate match-ups than a pencil line will. Pencil lines are sometimes hard to see or end up inaccurate due to inconsistencies in wood grain.

If you want to kick it up a notch, look for the combination square that has a protractor head. The protractor head can measure many different angles, allowing you to create precise angles and curves. Look for a protractor head that also has another bubble level. You will need to know that everything is level before you determine the angle that it needs to be at. Most protractor heads will also have a scriber, like the basic square head.

The last optional combination square piece is the center head. Attachment is of used this for the determining the center of a circular project, like a plate, or the center of a Dowel . Dowels and other round woodworking pieces should be measured on a center head, because it is very hard to determine the exact center of something without it. If your project is not perfectly round, you can use the center head around each edge to establish the most central point. To use the center head, place the circular edge into the wedge and mark a line. Repeat from another side of the dowel or round wood piece and draw another line. The intersection of the two lines should be the exact center.