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  Brass and Walnut Try Square by Will Myers 1 of 5  

When you think about basic woodworking tools, a square of some kind would have to be at the top the list.

There are several different styles of square to choose from, my favorite that I use for most everything is a basic wood and metal try square. The all wood try squares are simple to make and seem to be accurate and are excellent for layout with a pencil.

What happens when you want to knife a line for a shoulder or such? If you are like me you will end up cutting the wooden beam of the square sooner or later that will result in having to re-square the square. I think that is the reason the most common form of old try squares you see around have a wood handle and a metal beam.

I had given some thought about the best way to make this type of square in the past, recently after talking to Bill Anderson at the Woodright’s School about different ways one might be made. I did a bit of experimenting and this is what I came up with.

You don’t need much in the way of wood for the handle. Anything fairly hard will serve, I used a piece of walnut my uncle acquired (I think he stole it) from someone’s fire wood pile a couple years ago.

Using a rip saw I ripped out a strip about 7 inches or so long and about ¾ in thick.

I planed the block flat on one side and used a marking gauge to scribe a line at 5/8in around all four edges and then planed the other side down to these marks. I then planed one of the long edges flat and square.

I then gauged from this edge about 1 3/4in and planed this edge to the gauge marks.

One thing to be sure is that the two long edges are parallel to one another, if they are not you square will be wrong on the outside. Last, I sawed one end of the handle blank square across.

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