Chris Schwarz's Blog

Squaring the English Layout Square

Several readers have asked how to go about squaring up the two legs of the English Layout Square from the December 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Do you square it up before assembly? After? What tools do you use to make it square? How do I determine if the square is indeed square? Why isn’t evaporated milk a gas?

I made this short video this morning that shows how I do it. It takes about five minutes. Here are the tools:

1. A jack plane with a 90° fence — because I’m a filthy cheater.
2. A small try square.
3. A piece of posterboard with one straight edge.
4. A sharp pencil.
5. An accurate straightedge.

Hope it helps.

— Christopher Schwarz

11 thoughts on “Squaring the English Layout Square

  1. Dan_Br

    Chris, I am making this square also, thanks and I am wondering if you ever considered once it is squared up to rip a 1/8 by 3/4″ x 21″ piece of maple and glue it to one of the legs so it would extend a eighth on each side. Then you could register that leg against the edge of whatever board you are marking/squaring across and would not have to hold one leg flush against the edge? Is there a downside to this I am not seeing?


    That looks great. And the music is lovely. I seem to remember that you mentioned before what it was. For the benefit of many, could you re-identify that information.