How to Use a Combination Square

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Something as simple as a combination square can be a bit confusing if you don't know how to use it. The combination square takes a bit of knowledge about getting that triangle, square-looking thing called the combination square to work for you.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Pencils
  • Scribing tool
  • Scrap board
  • Utilize the combination square when doing any type of woodworking as most of the cuts are at a 90 degree angle. The combination square comes in a variety of sizes; however, the most common is the steel rule blade with an adjustable triangle attached that can be used for measuring corners as well as angled cuts. The triangle can be adjusted for a 45 or 90 degree cut.

  • Test your square for accuracy by using a blank sheet of paper with a straight edge and taping it to a piece of wood with a straight edge.

  • Draw a straight line and measure it against the straight line of the board. If the two lines are parallel, your square is accurate. Another test is to draw a line. Then flip the square and draw a line with the other side. This shows if the square is level and not bent or warped.

  • Draw a line with the combination square by placing your pencil at the position where you want the line, bringing the square up against your pencil and drawing the line.

  • Draw an angled line by angling the square and holding it in place with your index finger. For finer lines than a pencil, there should be a scriber tool located in the head of the triangle.

  • Cut a board lengthwise by adjusting the triangle at the proper distance. Then place your pencil along the square moving both at the same time.

Tips & Warnings

  • Combination squares are also good for measuring corners on shelving, wood or just about anything with a corner.

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