In Shop Blog

We may receive a commission when you use our affiliate links. However, this does not impact our recommendations.

Every year with this gift guide, I recommend one tool that is just a little more expensive than the others but is definitely worth the money. This year it’s the Lee Valley Cast Masons & Engravers’ Square.

This is a new item in Lee Valley’s catalog, and the minute I saw it, I ordered one.

This well-made tool excels at scribing lines that are parallel to the edge of a board or assembly. Yes, you can do this operation with a combination square. But with this tool you have far more bearing surface – the fence is 6-1/2” long – and you don’t get squiggly lines because your pencil tip slips into the divot in the ruler. (This ruler is divot-less.)

The fence is a gorgeous brass casting (as a toolmaker, I am quite jealous of what they could achieve here for the price). The ruler is a typical stainless 6” rule that is .022” thick. I wish it were just a hair stiffer, but it doesn’t affect the tool in use.

The Masons’ & Engravers’ Square is based on a vintage Preston model, and Lee Valley took pains to make its version something that Edward Preston would admire. The square is $39.50 – that’s a bargain for the workmanship and materials.

— Christopher Schwarz

To read past entries from this guide (and from former years), click here.

P.S. This concludes the 2017 gift guide. I hope you found a few things for your shop that will make your work more enjoyable. And by the way, don’t let anyone tell you that you can make a great hand cream by mixing Old Man Schwarz’s No-Kill Mutton tallow with sugar. That’s not a good idea.



Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

Recommended Posts
Showing 5 comments
  • marvinlee

    I looked at in and liked it. Ordered it. It is a very attractive and well finished tool that is exceptionally stable in use.

  • AlanWS

    If you ask your dog, you will get another opinion on that hand cream recipe.

  • JesAri415

    Chris, just curious if any of your longer combo square rules fit within that?

  • Just_Iain

    I looked at the picture but wasn’t sure about one. I’ll take a look the next time in the store. Hands on can make or break the desire.

Start typing and press Enter to search