Thursday, March 31, 2011

Square Query

I admit it I'm off-colour with a lurgy at the moment and am not at my brightest, but I can't help feeling this design of wooden square has a fundamental flaw.

How can you use it for internal corners with the blade sticking out at the end like that? That's a useful thing to be able to do. I can understand the urge to make a wooden square that's different just, 'cos, well otherwise it's just another wooden square and why would anyone be interested, but I can't help thinking this isn't the most helpful design tweak one could introduce.

Anyway, very nice of Popular Woodworking Magazine to offer the extract from The New Traditional Woodworker on their site; I was curious and there's fat chance of being able to have a quick flick through in a book shop. Although even as Jim Toplin's jumped enthusiastically on the hand tool bandwagon, I can't help but wonder if he's regretted drilling holes in his bench planes in order to hang them up in the cabinet in The Toolbox Book yet...

Yeah, when I have a lurgy, I can get a bit catty too. Shoot me. *hanging planes on nails through their soles, for the love of Norm, mutter, mutter...* ;)


  1. Must admit I never use a square for internals, preferring to use a diagonal measurement. I like the look of those squares by the way, I did make one myself when I was an apprentice, think it's in my tool chest somewhere.

  2. I'm guessing that your comments are at least partly in jest, but here's my thoughts on them. You could always make the blade flush with the stock, no? And as far as the holes to hang the planes, we all make mistakes, right? Jim is a very nice guy: I attended a short lecture he gave on drawknife use that was quite interesting. I think you'd get along well if you met him.

    - Pete

  3. An intriguing square:
    I looked for a reason to criticize the rounded bottom, without finding any.
    Next point, the protruding nails, they are a nuisance, but only if the back was straight.

  4. I had a feeling someone would bring up the diagonals... You never do it, Mark? Really? Not even as a quick check? Man's a saint! :) I dunno; I just don't see the point in removing a useful option on a tool like that, I s'pose.

    Pete, safe to say there's nearly always a hefty dose of jest in my comments - usually it's aimed at me, and I get very little protest ;) And you're right; you could change the design. But I don't know if you've noticed how many woodworkers just take everything in print as gospel and can't, or won't dare change it?

    Damien, deary me, I hadn't even given thought to the protruding rivets. Knew I was off my game! ;)

  5. First off, nice job on the squares; I especially like the relieved edge where the fingers would wrap around the beam. Don't think I've seen rhat before - your idea?

    Second, it seems to me that you'd want a wooden try to be square for either the inside beam/outside blade OR outside beam/outside blade. For either case, you could bring it back to square by shaving the thin outside edge of the blade. But if you want both, you'd have to square it up in 2 dimensions. Beside the PITA factor, you'd now be shaving the thicker outside beam, and eroding the finger holds that I like so much. Plus you'd have to maintain it that way, no?

    But what do I know - I use a Starett.

  6. Hang holes a mistake? You great big tooly you :)
    Can't see how they might impair function, and perhaps less so with planes, but with full length saws they offer clear benefits when they need to be stored high (undamaged, hand-friendly handles and more stable, safer orientation when retrieving/returning to nail. No, mine don't, but if conditions required then they would, whether antique or boutique.)

  7. "Can't see how they might impair function, and perhaps less so with planes.." Right, except...doesn't one run the risk of scatching the sole of the plan when hanging it upon the nail/screw in the wall? OK, who cares about the sole...unless it also leaves a scratch in the timber as a result.

    But it's really irrelevant - one should never, ever drill a hole in a plane just to hang it on the wall. Just...never.

    "...with full length saws..." All of my saw handles came with holes designed in. Geez, how do you even hold yours? ;-)


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