Squads, or speed squares are one of the oldest tools known to men. They have always been companions to carpenters, architects and builders. They are a simple and convenient way to create, measure and cut diverse angles. These tools today have of course been modernized as they’ve adopted to emerging technology and they are made with new materials like metal alloys.
Speed squares or ‘angles’ are very basic tools which are tremendously simple to use. You will find them in many different sizes, types and materials. All the different models have their own unique utility specifications, some also incorporate extras such as angle conveyors. If it sounds like there are lots of little details to consider, don’t worry. In this article we cover everything you need to know to get the squad that best suits your needs.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best speed squares on the market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about speed squares
- 4 Purchase Criteria
- 5 Summary
- It’s important that you know what use you’re going to be giving the tool. If you plan to work in harsh conditions, we recommend models made of tough metals. These will be able to withstand long working hours without being terribly damaged or broken.
- We advice you choose a tool that has the numbering recorded onto it. Some of the squares on our list even offer corrosion-resistant engraving. These models are great options, since the numbering won’t get scratched or erased with continued use.
- There are different types of squads on the market. Each one of them has a specific function and is designed for a particular type of work. Of course you should always choose the one that will best suit your needs.
Ranking: The best speed squares on the market
In any tools department you will find a great variety of types and models of speed squares. Finding the right tool among the sea of tools that are offered to you can be an overwhelming task. To help guide you through the purchase, we’ve selected the best products available to you in Canada. These are the top ranking tools in different departments, and we’re sure one of them is the right one for you.this guide with the best product options available to you on the Canadian market.
No. 1: Wolfcraft, Universal Square
Wolfcraft’s universal angle measures 200×300 mm. It is a very simple and versatile tool. This is a very affordable tool that can be used in all sorts of projects, from carpentry to architecture. This tool is also suitable for measuring, plotting, drawing and simple DIY handiwork – the perfect choice for all sorts of crafts.
This speed square is made with high quality materials. The arms are made of steel, which means you can use it to mark on metal and you can also use it while cutting with blades without having to worry about damaging the tool. Moreover, it comes with a very resistant plastic stop and a removable stop which are great for performing precision work on edges. Lastly, this tool incorporates a parallel plotter and a plotter pattern.
No. 2 : Swanson Tools, 7” & 12” kit
Both of these Swanson tools are made of heavy gauge aluminum alloy with a mate finish to prevent glare. They have quarter inch spaced notches which are meant to facilitate scribing lines. This speed square is 5 tools in 1; Try Square, Miter Square, Saw Guide, Line Scriber and Protractor. We should mention that this 7-inch and big 12-inch speed square kit comes without a layout bar.
This is an American, triangular-shaped, carpenters’ layout tool which combines some of the most common functions of a try-square and a framing square into one simple tool. These items are used to make basic measurements and mark lines on dimensional lumber, they may also be used as a sawing guide for making short 45 and 90 degree cuts.
No. 3: Silverline, 1734100
The Silverline angle tool is made of a high quality steel alloy that is known for being resistant and durable. This tool is made with long lasting materials so that you can use it to mark materials and cut with blades without it showing signs of wear. It has a lateral measure of 185mm – Later, you will find our measurement guide, with information in both the metric and imperial system.
This is a very versatile, reliable, precise and easy-to-use tool. The edge is designed to fit securely on any surface you choose to work on. The measuring scale is very practical and easy to read, you can easily find angles from 0 to 180 degrees. The only feed back that has been noted is that a plastic stop should be included for safety reasons.
No. 4: Tacklife, Digital Angle Meter MDA01
The Tacklife speed square has a digital angle measuring system. With this tool you will be able to measure any angle from 0 to 999.9º with the highest of precisions. This item allows you to measure length and angle simultaneously. This is an efficient and easy-to-use device that will save you a great deal of time measuring and tracking angles.
This angle tool has a measuring range of 0 to 400 mm. Its design is very simple but highly effective. It’s manufactured with stainless steel alloys, making it a very durable tool. It has a “Zero” button to restart the measurements. Lastly, it’s built-in battery will allow you to work with it for more than 2,000 hours – An ideal tool for an avid handyman!
No. 5: Stanley, 45-500
The Stanley 45-500 carpenter’s square has a classic and simple design. It is a traditional tool – solid and resistant, made with the best stainless steel alloys available. This tool is an “L” shaped square that is capable of measuring at 90º angles. This item has been manufactured to be have a long life and it is built to withstand hard work and strenuous use.
Because the tool is so strong, it is very easy to use, which in turn makes it easy to get used to working with it. It measures 200 x 400mm and the extruded steel is riveted three times an hour to achieve greater force and precision in it’s measurements. The measurements are recorded using the GRAVEMAT procedure, which ensures that they will not be scrapped off with repeated use.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about speed squares
Before deciding on an angle tool, it is important that you understand all the relevant aspects of this tool. They can be found in many different models, sizes and materials. To make this information easy to digest, in the next section of this guide we’ll go over these aspects in a little more detail. Read on and find out all the answers to the most frequently asked questions users have when looking to buy a speed square.
What is a squad exactly?
Speed squares are tools used since ancient times by carpenters and metal workers. These are fields in which there is a need to measure and mark up pieces of metal or wood so that, after cutting or manufacturing, they are as straight as possible. These tools are also used to measure angles and to draw on tables.
When looking at the speed square selections available to us in canada, we can find a wide range of products with varying characteristics. Some are made up of materials such as steel, bronze, and some are riveted to a wooden handle. In this case the inside of the handle is fixed with a metal strip, to ensure that the pallet is immobile and properly set at 90º.
What are the parts that make up angle tools?
The squad can take several shapes. Drawing squares usually take the form of an isosceles triangle, while carpenter’s squares are usually “L” shaped. In all the cases however, they are designed to be able to adopt the shape of a 90º angle. This is is important because above all, these tools are used to check angles when cutting and mounting.
When using the square as a guide to measure degrees, it must be be placed so that it creates angles and vertices. Moreover, you must always have a measuring scale. Finally, in some cases this tool can also come with an angle conveyor. Next, we elaborate a little on each of the parts that make up these tools.
- Angle: An angle is a combination of two rays (half-lines) with a common endpoint. The latter is known as the vertex of the angle and the rays as the sides, sometimes they are also known as the legs or sometimes the arms of the angle. Speed quarts follow the shape of an isosceles triangle, which is formed by one 90º angle and two of 45º ones.
- Vertex: The vertex is the common endpoint of two or more rays or line segments. Simply put, when we speak of the vertex it typically means a corner or a point where lines meet, like the cusp of a pyramid.
- Scale: This refers to the ordered succession of values of the same quality. In the case of a speed square, the measured values are represented on one side of the tool. The numbering is usually done following the metric system, although you can also find some models that have scales in the imperial system.
How do I use a speed square?
The way you use a squad will depend on what you want to measure or design with it. This tool has many applications in different professions, for example it is used in carpentry projects when having to form angles, while also being used in metallurgy (metal work) to mark pieces that must be cut or welded.
When using this tool in other fields such as design and drawing, its used is combined with other tools. For example, squadrons are often used with a bevel – usually, one instrument supports the other. Although this tool is very easy to handle, as a rule of thumb, always make sure to use both hands when handling it. Keep in mind that the speed square will move along the axis that supports instrument.
What is the difference between a speed square and a bevel?
The squad and the bevel are both measuring tools and the two are shaped like right triangles. The big difference between them is in its shape, the speed square is an isosceles triangle (it has two equal sides). The bevel on the other hand is a scalene triangle (which has 3 different sides). Next we elaborate on these differences:
|Triangle||Isosceles Triangle (two sides of equal length)||Scalene Triangle (all sides of different length)|
|Angles||One 90º angle and two 45º angles.||90º angle, 60º angle and 30º angle.|
|Use||Draw perpendicular and horizontal lines.||Usually used together with the speed square to draw vertical and parallel lines.|
At the end of the day, it should be noted that when both tools are used together, drawing perpendicular and parallel lines becomes a much easier task.
What are speed squares used for?
Squads, thanks to their shape, are very useful tools for drawing straight lines perpendicular and inclined at 45º. These inclinations are used in works that require the use of the 1st person perspective. In order to achieve this, as we have mentioned before, the square must be placed on another ruler that will serve as a reference point for where the inclination most be traced.
Moreover, it is also possible to draw lines with a military perspective by creating horizontal axes at 45º. For this task we need the support of a ruler in a horizontal position to trace the vertical axis and the two of the horizontal plane at 45º. In this perspective the coordinates are placed in the corresponding axes.
What types of squads are there?
Speed squares differ and are categorized according to the materials with which they are made. Most commonly, they’re made of some kind of steel alloy. Usually, they also incorporate wooden or plastic elements in their handles and bumpers. These additions are usually present in the speed squares used in technical drawing.
Here is a list of the different types of squares that currently exist:
- Beam: This tool is used in architecture, it is a joist or metal strip bent at a right angle. It is used to make frames, reinforce corners, make windows and support stained glass.
- False square: This instrument is composed of two rulers, joined by one of their ends, which rotates freely. This facilitates the tracing of angles greater and lesser than a right angle. This tool is also used to draw convergent lines. These squares can also come in the shape of a “T”.
- Carpenter’s square: Also called shoulder square. This is the most common and easy to find model in the market. It is vailable in different sizes and they are usually made of steel or wood, depending on its intended use. These tools usually allow you to measure both in centimetres or inches.
- Universal square: Despite it’s name, this tool is not as common as the above. However, this multifunctional tool actually offers various measuring possibilities. The one characteristic that differentiates this tool from the others is that it incorporated a bevel inside it – this is the ideal tool to use when drilling holes for hinges.
What materials are squads made out of?
Traditionally, squadrons were made out of wood, keep in mind that this type of tool has been used for ages. It’s invention is attributed to Pythagoras and for many years they were made solely of wood, however its extended uses in construction and metal work have made the tool manufacturing to evolve by incorporating more resistant materials in its making.
Even the traditional models made of wood, would eventually evolve to include metal in their composition. In many cases one of the blades was made of metal and riveted to the wood to achieve a 90º firm angle. Today, stainless steel alloys are used – these are are much more resistant. Finally, the tools that are used for drawing are often made of plastic materials.
When you’re ready to choose a squad, make sure you evaluate its key features and aspects. To help guide you in this process, the following are the most important purchase criteria to consider when buying a speed square. Read on and don’t rush, there are many different models and many brands on the market, so if you want to choose a quality tool, you should be well informed:
- Intended use
- Size and weight
Most of the models listed on the market today are made with some type of steel alloy. These tools are built to be durable and withstand even the most arduous jobs. Because they tend to be accurate, light and long lasting, we would always suggest that you choose a stainless steel model.
Keep in mind that some models, those with a more traditional cut, are often made with wooden parts. Carpenter’s squares are usually made from this type of materials. They are still very resistant tools, but with a more artisan feel to them. Finally, the models designed to transport angles and to draw, usually have plastic stops that make working with them more comfortable.
Before committing to a specific model or tool, you should consider the intended use you have for it. Keeping this in mind will undoubtedly help you choose one model over the other in the end. For example, you wont need the same tool for use in an architectural office as you would need in a mechanics’ workshop. Details about the tool will largely depend on how intense and demanding it’s intended job is – this will determine whether you should choose a tool made of more or less resistant materials.
Stainless steel squads are often intended to be used for demanding jobs in harsh environments. If this is the use that you plan to give to your tool, you should also note that the scales have an engraving quality that will prevent the numbers from wearing off. On the other hand, if you plan to use this tool for tasks that are less strenuous, like drawing and transporting angles, you don’t really have to worry too much about finding the tool that’s made of the strongest materials.
Size and weight
Speed squares are generally not very heavy instruments. However, models made of steel alloys will weigh more than those made of plastic. Again, we advise that you think about the use you intend on giving the tool.
If you are going to use it a lot and for a long time, opt for a light model that is comfortable to use and that is also made of resistant materials.
Size is also important, make sure to take a good look at what your needs are. Although it is most common for squad tools to be about 200mm in size, you can of course find instruments that are larger and also smaller. You should choose a tool that is capable of meeting the requirements of the job you plan to use it for.
Design also goes hand in hand with the previous criteria of size and weight, for example, false squares are very different from carpenter squares. The first ones have all the sides of the triangle, while the others are usually formed by an angle and two sides. This allows you to use the inside of the angle to take and mark measurements for cuts and holes.
Universal squares on the other hand, have a more complex design – the joining part of the angle is usually adjustable, allowing you to open it and close it to measure and adapt to more angles. There are models with wooden handles, while others have plastic bumpers. And finally, some squares come with incorporated technology by even having digital measuring elements!
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The new speed square from @martineztools. Another amazing design from Mark, the most advanced square ever, with a heap of features. Scribe marks galore, saw blade wrench, bottle opener, and an inbuilt level. My thoughts; This isn't my square, I don't own one, this is just an unbiased opinion. This is an expensive tool at $250US. The experience, materials and production costs to get this to market go a long way to justifying the price. Not affordable for everyone, lots of people don't use it enough to justify that price, plenty also pull their speed square out hundreds of times a day for repetitive marks and cuts, these scribe marks are a big efficiency boost and no other square on the market is as comprehensive. I'd hate to hear the sound when a saw blade hits this square, I've accidentally cut a few squares before and they are not much good after. This titanium square is tough as but a saw blade would do some expensive damage. I'm not sold on the level addition. I use the regular square fence a lot as a spacer for deck boards, it's 5mm width is a perfect spacer. I imagine the level would feel bulky and harder to grab out of the toolbelt. I can see it being useful though, I often carry a small level from framing eaves to installing siding and fitting off internal hardware. The man made a metric model. Incredible, the majority of the world works in metric and it is a struggle to find high quality tools in this format. Huge. Will be great to see more of these on jobsites around the world. Is it just a fancy tool for designer Insta carpenters, or is it the greatest square ever made, enjoyable to work with and an efficiency booster. Time will tell. Regardless props to Mark for shaking up the industry and producing an elite product. Love it or not, what's your thoughts? #thetoolbelt #theefficientcarpenter #martineztools #carpentry #speedsquare
When making your purchase online, it’s important that you look at consumer reviews for the products you choose. Most of the time, buying a product without any comments and reviews is a risky move. Reviews are important because they are the best way to learn what the item is like directly form users, and if its worth your time and money.
In addition to comments, we should look at other users’ ratings. This can help you find out very useful information about materials and technical specifications of your chosen instrument. These comments and ratings usually provide very complete and detailed information about the product that you wouldn’t otherwise find anywhere else.
Speed squares are tools that are very simple to use and have many different functions. From being used in the drawing tables of architectural offices to being essential instruments in carpentry workshops. Squads are core tools for measuring, drawing and extracting angles. They are an indispensable companion for handymen and professionals alike.In the market there is a great variety of models and types of speed squares.
In this guide we have gone over the most important aspects concerning these tools – make sure not to overlook them at the time of purchase. Remember that materials, quality and intended use are just a few of the factors that should be taken into account before making a final choice. Just keep in mind all the information we have given you throughout this shopping guide, and you’re sure to make the best purchase.
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(Featured image source: Miragaya: 10437295/123rf.com)