I’m fond of wooden layout tools – squares, straightedges, winding sticks and the like. They are lightweight, don’t damage your work like metal tools can and are made from scraps.
Plus, you can make them to suit your taste, whether that’s plain, fancy or something between.
Last fall I built a couple of these layout squares after seeing an original that was for sale. I’ve been using mine quite a bit and have some maple set aside for a couple more for friends and family.
We published plans for this square in the December 2010 issue, and now we are offering the full article free – below is a link to download a pdf of the article, which contains the construction drawing and cutting list.
You can download a SketchUp model of the square from the 3D Warehouse. I recommend using the SketchUp model. You can print out the square full-size on several sheets of paper and then use that plan to cut all the details and curves.
One last note: Several readers have asked me what the heck this square is used for in the shop. I use it for lots of chores. It’s a straightedge. It lays out dados and other joinery on carcase sides like a framing square. It checks my carcase glue-ups to ensure they are square. And other uses that my coffee-deprived mind cannot summon up this morning.
— Christopher Schwarz
Roubo’s Try Square
If you like this project, you might be interested in building some fancy wooden try squares ripped right from the pages of Andre Roubo’s 18th-century books on woodworking. We prepared a detailed plan for these squares with full-size patterns that you can download for a small fee from our store here.