Every shop needs a square that is the ultimate arbiter of squareness. It is the tool that determines if your jointer fence is 90° to the table, if the end of a board has been shot square or if a drawer’s joints are correct.
While I love my combination square, it has worn a bit after 16 years of daily use to the point where I don’t trust it for high-tolerance tasks. So this spring I purchased a 7″ try square from Chris Vesper, an Australian precision toolmaker, and it is now my favorite square.
Each of Vesper’s squares are individually calibrated on a device of his own invention, and their accuracy is noted on each box. And while I appreciate an insane amount of accuracy (110 microns deviation – or less – over the entire blade), what really sold me on the tool was the swingy bit of metal in the corner of the handle.
This hinged piece of steel allows you to rest the tool on the edge of the board without supporting it with your hand. It just sits there. All by itself. Genius.
While many old squares had a similar feature, I’ve never seen one with such a high level of refinement – so much so that Vesper has a patent pending on the mechanism. The tab has just enough resistance so it doesn’t swing like a loose tooth. But when you press it to move it, the tab moves smoothly out of the way so you can take an accurate reading.
Vesper has tested a square’s tab by moving it more than 500,000 times. After the test, the tab on that square moved crisply (I tried it myself). These tools aren’t cheap – they start at $165 and go up depending on the size (4″, 7″ or 10″) and the handle you choose – but they are perfect. PWM
Blog: Read about a visit to Chris Vesper’s shop in Australia.