Graphical Construction Glossary >> Tools. >> Hand Tools >> Try Square

Try Square
A joinery tool for testing timber or lumber for square, that is 90 Degrees. Also used for general squaring and marking out work. Comes in various sizes.
Try-Miter Square
A joinery tool that can be used as a standard 90 degree try square and also as a 45 degree miter square.

A traditional joiners try square
A traditional joiners try square
Photo thanks to Wikimedia Commons, User: Luigizanasi

Above is a traditional joiner's square. This particular one has a hardwood stock (it looks like beech), a brass wearing face to the face of the stock. The blade is blued steel. It is commont to see a "blued" finish (Similar to gun barrel bluing for anti-rust) to the blades on good quality squares.

These tools are not intended for rough knock about usage like on site work, but are quality tools that are normally used in a workshop where they should be well looked after. These squares come also in 150mm 225mm and 300mm sizes ( 6" 9"12").

using a try square
testing for square

A typical application of this joinery tool is trying or testing the edges of planed timber for square as seen in the sketch above, but this is by no means the only use of them. They probably get most use with a pencil and rule (tape measure) in marking out timber for almost all joinery operations.

Because of the precise work that these squares are used for, it is always good practise to check the square from time to time. The way to do this is shown on the right. A board with a straight edge is used. A mark is made, the squared is rolled over 180 degrees and the blade edge is compared to the mark. If the square is true then they should be the same.

A precision try - mitre square
A precision try - mitre square
Photo thanks to Wikimedia Commons, User: Maksim

Above is a very nice good quality square. It has the end of the stock set up as a 45 degree angle so that it can be used for marking out 45 mitres as well as 90 right angles. Manufacturers often use the name Tri-Miter Square for this type.

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