Use a Steel Square As a Try Square





Introduction: Use a Steel Square As a Try Square

I like using a Try Square.  Sometimes I wish my small steel square could function as a try square, too.  With the piece of wood shown in the photo, that is easily done.

Step 1: Begin With a Piece of Wood

Begin with a piece of wood 3/4 inch thick and nearly as long as the longest leg on your steel square.  Make it a bit wider than the longest leg of the steel square is wide.  Make certain the edges on the long sides of the wood are truly parallel to each other.  One way to insure this would be to run the piece of wood between a fence on a router table and a straight bit in the router.

Step 2: Make a Kerf

Make a kerf about the thickness of the steel square.  If the kerf is made to fit snugly, the piece of wood will stay on the square by itself.  Make certain the bottom of the kerf is parallel to the edges of the piece of wood.  This should be no problem if the kerf is cut on a table saw.

Step 3: Half-circle Opening

I used a hole saw to make a half-circle cutaway in the piece of wood.  It should be located so you can apply pressure to the shorter leg of the steel square, in case you are using the longer leg to mark something. 

For the setup I clamped another piece of wood next to the edge of the wood with the kerf.  This supports the hole saw more completely while cutting.

Step 4: Kerf Across the End

For an extra touch I also made a kerf across one end of the piece wood so the square slides down into it.

Step 5: Use the Square

Here I have slipped the piece of wood over my steel square's shorter leg.  My finger applies pressure against the shorter leg to keep it firmly pressed against the piece of wood I made and also against the edge of the piece I am marking.  If the kerf is a little loose, a couple of small pieces of paper could be folded a few times and the folded paper could be slipped into the kerf with the leg of the square to function as a wedge that helps to hold the square in the wood. 

The second photo shows using the square to mark with the shorter leg.  Because the longer leg of the square is wider than the kerf in the wood is deep, my fingers can press the square against the wood at any point along the leg's length.



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    Phil, cool idea. The converter can hide in your tool box until u need it for a cross cut.
    if you drill the hole first in a wider board - less chipping, easier to hold it - you can then rip the board and proceed with the rest of your neat design, making 2 converters at once.

    Thank you for a good idea. I shared the basic idea with a man who had only a couple of flat steel squares, but sounded as if he would not mind having a try square. He planned to go home and try it. I have not talked to him since to know how it worked out for him.

    very simple, very clever
    ill try it tomorrow if its not too hot.

    Thank you. I apologize for missing your comment until now.

    While a LOT of people mis-spell it, the actual name of this piece of equipment is a TRI square.

    There're enough who spell it wrong that you can easily google a "try square" and find out what a tri square is... and probably not be told you spelled it wrong. But check a dictionary or other similar reference source; tri square is the proper spelling.

    You may also let the know at Merriam Webster know that they too misspelled "Try Square". Also ask them to include the new contraction "There're"  I searched the online dictionary for both "Tri square" and "There're" and both resulted with "not found"

    THis "tri-cornered" argument is "trying" my patience.

    After questions about spelling (Tri or Try) arose, I was in a national chain home improvement store.  Their squares offered for sale are all made by Swanson, who spells it Try Square.  

    Actually, it is correctly a TRY square. Similar to a TRY plane (a/k/a trying plane or fore plane). This comes from an earlier form of English than most of us practice these days. When using this instrument , it was said that the workman was "trying" the work - i.e., checking the work to see if it was square. Thus, this tool is a square for trying the squareness of the work - a try square. A trying plane is for trying a piece of work to assure its flatness.

    I checked the spelling through a web search and was led to the "This Old House" web site.  They gave the spelling at "try" square.  I could not remember for certain, and accepted their spelling.  Thank you for the correction.