Johnson 440 combination square as part of a this old house tool test
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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Johnson 440

Price: About $30; johnsonlevel.com

At roughly one-quarter the price of an heirloom-quality combo square, this cast-iron workhorse, with a nonreflective finish, is the very best of the home-center fare. We like the threaded awl and easy-to-read green leveling vial but wish the sides of the head were better machined. It could also use a more prominent adjustment knob.
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