OmniSquare Multi-function Layout Tool

OmniSquareThis clever and inexpensive milled aluminum square functions as a try square, miter square, bevel square, T-square, combination square and (in a pinch) a compass (the compass function would work better were there a groove on the end of the blade in which to set a pencil, which the maker mentions, but leaves up to the customer to cut per his or her preference). It folds to a 7″ flat for easy storage.

The tool works by rotating on a spring between the two blades, and it has small high-density nylon balls that click into detents at 90°, 45° and 135°. That makes it easy to quickly change settings between common angles when the two curved ends are aligned. Click it out of the detents, and it’s easy to slide the shorter blade down the longer blade to use as a T-bevel, and the balls click into the slot to keep it at 90° (and into indentations at the far end to allow it to function easily as a bevel square at non-standard angles).

Both sides of the long blade are marked in 116” increments; the short blade has inches on one side and angles on the other to help set the tool as a bevel gauge, or pull a reading off it after setting the tool to an angle. The etched numbers are filled with white paint and are easy to see, though with some slight variation in the paint coverage.

So for $24.95, you get one tool that replaces several, and that you don’t have to worry too much about munging up during travel or on a jobsite.

Is it as accurate as, say, a Starrett or Vesper? It is not – but it’s accurate enough for all but the most critical layout tasks, and ideal for work on the road or atop a ladder. And if the balls wear out after a while (though the maker has tested several prototypes through 2,500 rotations), it’s not a major investment to replace the tool (or simply replace the balls).  

Website: omnitoolworks.com
Video: Watch the author’s demonstration of how the OmniSquare works. (Coming soon) 

From the August 2017 issue