by Megan Fitzpatrick
A diemakers’ square with a narrow blade is an excellent tool for determining minute problems with your joinery, allowing you to get in between narrow dovetail pins, for example, to check for sloping walls. But a true diemakers’ square (on which the blade angle can be adjusted for patternmaking) is quite expensive, even on the secondary market (though Lie-Nielsen sells a well-priced version if you don’t need a narrow blade).
Enter the “double square” – a similar tool, minus angle adjustment. Lee Valley has just released a small double square ($49.50) that comes standard with two 21⁄2″-long blades; one is 1⁄2″ wide, the other just more than 3⁄16″ wide, with a 3⁄32″-wide, 1⁄2″-long probe on one end for sneaking into the smallest of places.
The stock is dead-square to the blades, and the rules are easy to change – though the center pin (the rule catch) does rotate in the body. (It does not on the $140 double square from Vesper Tools, which comes standard with three blades and also includes a 45° reference bevel on the stock, where the Lee Valley one does not.)
Out of the box, the edges of the pre-production model I used are sharp enough to cut flesh, so I took a few minutes to burnish them. (I’m told the production versions are less sharp, which in this case is a good thing.)
I sure wish that probe were longer – the 1⁄2″ length limits its use to thin stock. But if you don’t cut quite narrowly spaced dovetails, it’s a non-issue.
All in all, this small double square is a good tool for the price.
Oh – and about that box it comes out of? This is a precision tool that should be stored with care, not just tossed in a tool tray; the French-fit box makes that a no-brainer.
From the February 2017 issue, #230