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Don’t Close Your Eyes to the Square

When people injure themselves in the shop, their first reaction is to grab the wound and refuse to look. Sadly, this is the same attitude many woodworkers take with the squareness of their components: They refuse to look and hope things will work out. While there are lots of areas of woodworking where squareness doesn’t matter (stick chairs, for one), if you are going to build rectilinear boxes and hope […]

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& Effective Trammel Points">Quick, Dirty & Effective Trammel Points

When starting in woodworking I couldn’t afford a good set of trammel points. I had my grandfather’s set, but it didn’t lock down well. Then one day woodworker Troy Sexton showed me how he drew large arcs and I realized that I already owned an effective trammel. Troy uses a yardstick (or meter stick if you are metric). Then he bores holes at all the locations where he wants to […]

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Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 10: Blue Spruce Try Square

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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 […]

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Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 10: Blue Spruce Try Square

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 […]

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Check Squareness on Big Pieces

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When you’re building casework, your parts really need dead square ends if you hope to fit drawers, dividers or a gallery inside. I don’t trust any table saw gizmo to give me square cuts. And I don’t trust my shooting board, either. The only thing I trust is a square that has been tested for accuracy. To check my carcase parts, I have a couple of huge Starrett squares that […]

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You Can Own the Rulers of the Ancient World

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How we measure the world around us is a reflection of how our society interacts with the world. To wit: The metric system is, in my opinion, the most efficient way to gauge everything around us. And that is exactly why I dislike it so. It is a system based on base-10 efficiency and little else. If you spend any time investigating ancient measurement systems, you find that they are […]

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Wierix Square, Part 3

With the glue dry, it’s time to see if your square is square – or if it’s a doorstop. Squaring a wooden square is a simple operation if you plan to use it for woodworking – not for building equipment for a nuclear reactor. It’s easy to go overboard with squareness. Here’s how I do it. I get a big sheet of termite barf (MDF), which is what I use […]

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Build a Wierix Square, Step 2

Making the blade of the Wierix square is the most creative part of the construction process, when you can get in touch with your inner fledermaus (aka bat). While you can argue about whether or not the curves on the blade have any purpose, I am pretty certain of the reason the overall blade is triangular: to conserve wood and make the square easier to use. You can easily saw […]

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Build a Wierix Square, Step 1

A customer asked me to make a Wierix try square for him this week, and because it’s silly to make just one wooden square, I’m making a batch of five this week and am documenting the process here on the blog. If you don’t know what a Wierix square is, it’s an old style of try square that shows up in drawings of “The Childhood of Jesus” by Hieronymous Wierix, […]

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Free Plans: Ancient Squares for Ancient Scraps

I don’t turn pens much, and the word “fireplace” is a dirty word in our house (thanks to an incident involving a flaming log and full nudity). So my scrap pile is always overflowing. I give away scraps for kindling to my neighbors or I burn them in our outside firepit, but that is a hard sell during the hot humid months. Recently I’ve been building ancient layout tools with […]

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