Combination Squares

Choosing and using this must-have measuring and layout tool.

By Robert W. Lang
Pages: 52-55

From the June 2011 issue #190
Buy this issue now

In 1878, Laroy S. Starrett designed and patented the combination square. His invention was a multipurpose
layout and measuring tool for machinists and it was rapidly adopted in the trade.

Woodworking books of the period don’t mention this tool. After all, the try square and marking gauge were common and effective, so it took a while for the transition from machine shop to cabinetshop. Today, most woodworkers own a combination square, but few know all of its uses, and many try to get by with inferior versions.

Article: Read about using a combination square for layout on our blog.
Video: Learn how to fix a combination square when it’s out of square.
Web site:
Visit the L.S. Starrett web site for history and a full catalog.
To buy: Shop where the machinists shop at McMaster-Carr.com.

From the June 2011 issue #190
Buy this issue now