How to Use a Try Square

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Carpenters use try squares to mark right angles for sawing boards or to test corners to see if they're square. A try square has two parts, a metal blade and a thicker handle that's set at a 90-degree angle to the blade. Some have inch or centimeter markings along the blade so they can also serve as rulers. The value of a try square is its precision, so treat it carefully and avoid dropping it so you don't knock it out of alignment.

  • Lay the blade of the try square across the board that you want to mark or test. Let the thicker part of the handle extend over the edge so the blade lies flat, touching the board.

  • Press the handle against the edge of the board. The blade will now be positioned at exactly 90 degrees compared to the edge.

  • Adjust the blade so it's where you want to mark the board and draw a line across the board, using the blade as a guide. If you're checking the end of the board to see if it's square, align the blade with the end of the board and see if there's any gap between the blade and the board.

Tips & Warnings

  • To check if a try square is accurate, draw a line across a board with the handle toward you. Turn the try square over so the handle is away from you and check the line. If the try square is accurate, the blade will align exactly with the line.

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