Speed squares are probably one of the most efficient and effective tools that are used for lumber or anything to do with wood. This piece of equipment is a triangle shaped carpentry tool. It is a combination of a Try square, Miter square and Combination, and Framing square.
It is used for marking, protracting and basically anything that includes making straight lines on wood. It is a universal piece of equipment that is precise and accurate.
The name ‘Speed Squares’ and the tool itself are patented and trademarked by the Swanson Tool co. Inc. Any such tools from other manufacturers are known by different names.
A speed square has a ruler on one side and a fence on the other. This fence can be butted up to a piece of wood or the workpiece of choice. It also has the word ‘Pivot’ marked at the right angle point and has degrees on its hypotenuse.
It is also equipped with Common, HIP/VAL markings and a unique diamond cut.
Speed squares are usually made of aluminum, steel, and even plastic. You can choose your material depending on the type of work you plan to do.
Aluminum and steel are the first preferences as they are more sturdy and durable. They tend to last longer compared to the ones made of plastic. Check out SimplyHomeTips’ article for more descriptive information on speed squares and some of the best available on the market.
Uses of a Speed Square
A Speed square has a raised border along one of its base that makes it easier to stack up to the speed square to your workpiece. You can accurately mark lines along the board to create lines that are perpendicular.
It can also be used to mark 45? angles using the sides or base of the square.
With the help of the ruler on one of its sides, cuts can be accurately measured. They are usually available in two lengths- 7” and 12”.
As a saw guide
This can be considered as an important function of a speed square. It is used as a guide for crosscutting lumber or wood at accurate 90? or 45? angles using saw blades.
As a protractor
A speed square can also be used as a protractor. It has a point called ‘Pivot’ marked on the right-angled side of the speed square edge. Now, move the base of the speed square and arrange it to get the desired angle.
The pivoting part of the speed square is now set at your desired angle at the edge of the board. In the same edge, the angle can be marked and cut.
To make roof pitches
One of its main purposes is finding rafter angles for making the pitches on wood used for roofs. It is achieved by using the basic protractor on the speed square. The two interior protractors act as guides to make the pitches.
The part where ‘Common’ is written has roof pitches indicated for rafters from 1” to 30”.
There is another marking, ‘HIP/VAL’. This means Hip- valley and shows the increase for more than 12” for Hip/ Valley rafters.
This is a unique feature exclusively found in Swanson’s Speed squares. It is a cut in a diamond shape made on one side of the square along the ruler. It is used to make lines which are at a perfect 90? angle from the marked angle to the side of the work board.
Speed squares are one of the most versatile and indispensable pieces of equipment for woodworking. They are also multi-purpose and packed with different features. So next time, you want to do a DIY project on wood or want to do some remodeling, don’t forget to grab your speed squares for perfect cuts.
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