Monday, February 06, 2017

try squares

One of the important tools that you will want to introduce to your students is the try square. You can buy metal ones from any number of retail outlets in your community or online for as little as $7.00 ea. More expensive ones might cost as much as $15.00. But there is satisfaction in making them yourself.

I have written about these before and you can learn more about squares and marking wood for square cuts on this wisdom of the hands blog page:

These are easy to make by cutting a slot mortise on the end of a block of wood for the blade to fit. The photo shows an easy set up using a sled and stop block, and once set up, you can cut hundreds if you like. It is important to use a very accurate square to check to make sure the blade is aligned squarely in the slot as it is glued in place. And it is important to accurately plane or saw the blade stock so its thickness matches the width of the saw kerf. I use a saw blade with a square top cut, so that the wooden blade will nest very accurately and securely in place. As it is assembled, check that the blade is square to the body.

Is this wooden square as useful as a factory made steel square? Yes, it can be, and its light weight means that if it is dropped, it is not as likely to hurt a toe, or be knocked out of square from impact with the hard floor. The great thing of course is that it costs almost nothing. You can make several at the same time and students can help in the making of it. Use the drill press and Forstner bit to drill a hole in the handle so that it can be hung up when not in use. When my students make tool boxes, they also want to make a few tools to go in it. The square is a great addition, even if they don't know its importance yet.

Make, fix and create. Insist that others have the opportunity to learn likewise.

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