In Shop Blog, Techniques

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


At the conclusion of every gift guide, I like to offer a tool that is a bit expensive but will change the way you work or – at the least – wildly exceed your expectations. This year, it’s the Blue Spruce Try Square.

When I first saw photos of the square on the Internet, the tools looked a little plastic-y, probably because of the different color schemes available. But when I saw the squares in person at Woodworking in America, I couldn’t get to my credit card fast enough. The try square (and the sliding bevel square) are the opposite of plastic. They are metallic perfection.

The body is milled aluminum covered with a ceramic coating. The blade is hardened high-carbon steel. You can get the blade simply polished or with the ceramic coating.

I have enough trouble dressing myself in the morning (my wife says I dress like an exchange student), so I went with basic black all around.

These squares can be adjusted back to a perfect 90° if they ever get knocked around. Simple hex-head screws at the base of the stock allow you to move the blade in small increments. When this tool is square it clicks on another square surface in a way that makes your heart beat faster.

Dave Jeske at Blue Spruce Toolworks has hit a home run with these squares. I don’t need a matching sliding bevel. But dang, I really want one.

— Christopher Schwarz

Read Day 1 of the gift guide here: Clauss Scissors.
Day two on a Boot Tray for Sharpening.
Day three on humidity monitors.
Day four on a MWTCA membership is here.
Day five on the Arno burnisher.
Day six on WoodOwl auger bits.
Day seven on the Veritas spokeshave.
Day eight on Trusco toolboxes.
Day nine on Nick Offerman’s ‘Good Clean Fun’

If you’d like to read gift guides from past years, check this link.

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 2 comments
  • Jim McConnell

    There is something to be said for a matching set

  • Shaun Harper

    Thanks for another great list. I have a set of Dave Jeske’s bench and butt chisels. They are great. I don’t know how you feel but I really like the control I get with the butt chisels especially with delicate chopping and even dovetail work. Is there such a thing as delicate chopping??? I think I need more practice, but being able to keep my hand closer to the piece of work seems to keep the chisel angle closer to 90 degrees.

Start typing and press Enter to search