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Timothy Miller
Speed squares how to use them.

Howdy i just learned how to layout rafter cuts watching you tube and visiting the Swanson Speed Square web pages.
Good to see one carpenters time saving idea was made into a tool most everyone has.

Here is a good laugh i up till now just used mine to mark a straight lines on 2bys. Worse yet my bird mouth cuts were just plain lousy. I mean beyond terrible....

When your done laughing. Have you ever wondered why there is a cut out diamond on those speed squares ? Or worse yet what the little serrated edge was for. Well i never gave it a thought. But let me tell you these are way cool tool improvements. Thank you Swanson an you tube videoers....

Now i can layout rafter cuts including bird mouths that are almost good as a framers. An it is so easy. On Swanson's' web page the Rafter Seat Cuts diagram assumes that the 2 by top rafter cut is to the left. I had to study that for a while to figure it out- i'm left handed wanted to think instead it was to the right.... Imagine laying out a straight line effortlessly- using the serrated edge.

So boys and girls how about sharing your hints for other uses of such a mighty fine tool.

A. Spruce
Re: Speed squares how to use them.

I use mine to prop doors open. Makes a good boomerang, and a pretty accurate shuriken. ;):D

jkirk
Re: Speed squares how to use them.

besides a layout tool i use it to sc**** snow and ice off of lumber in the winters months...and to break my fall when my ladder collapses.... ouch bruised the ribs around this time of year 2009

Mastercarpentry
Re: Speed squares how to use them.

My plastic Swanson speed square has a level built in so I don't need to carry a torpedo level anymore. You have to check these out in the store- most of the levels in these are very badly off. I also use it to push crown molding up in the corners to tighten the joint before nailing. You can tap on it to help here. Once you've got your pitch cut right, look at the degree scale and use that to align your cut- it's more accurate than guessing at an 8 1/2 pitch which isn't marked. The large sized ones make excellent saw guides for square cuts too.

I just wish someone would make one with the level in it out of metal- plastic breaks far too easily

jkirk
Re: Speed squares how to use them.

i dont really trust the bubble on tools that also have a spirit level built in to them.. if i want to level something i grab a actual level. its a precision instrament not a tool, you have to take care of them so they dont read innacurate.

as for the big speed square, their perfect for cutting vinyl siding and soffit

Mastercarpentry
Re: Speed squares how to use them.

Price or application doesn't make a spirit level accurate- I have an expensive Stabila level which has never read right on one vial! I also have a cheap 2' plastic and aluminum beam level which has been dead accurate for about 20 years. This is why I say you must check these 'square-level combos'. In my experience only 1 in 10 to 15 is close enough to trust for the small things where a torpedo level would be used. The one I now have is almost true- it's off by about 1/128 inch across it's 6 inch length- plenty good enough for what I use it for!

The best way to check any spirit level is against itself where any inaccuracy is doubled. Place the level on a solid wall, and mark both ends when it reads center-bubble. Without rotating it, flip it end-for end and hold either end on one of those marks. Get the same vial right and make another mark at the other end. The distance between the marks is now 2X the error in that vial. Perform this procedure with all the level's vials and with both sides of the level, both level and plumb, and you'll know what to expect from it.

The best accuracy comes from using the largest level you can- at least as long as the thing being leveled or plumbed. Torpedo or 'square-levels' like this are to be used only on small things where a larger level won't fit. Yes, I bang gently on this one but I know what I'm doing and what to expect from doing it. I check this thing every time I use it as a level(takes just a moment) and when it goes out of true it goes back into the truck as a spare.

These 'square-levels' usually don't last that long with me. It seems I always forget it's in my back pocket when I sit down. The resulting cracking noises :eek: remind me that I'm human, and that it's now time to buy a new one :rolleyes: That's why I'd love for somebody to make a metal one :D
I cringe whenever I see a mason tap on their level to set a course they are laying. I've checked a lot of their levels and have never found one reading true because of their constant abuse. They just keep on using these till the last vial breaks never understanding why their courses aren't level when they top out against a level house :confused: Common sense is the most uncommon commodity there is.

Phil

Timothy Miller
Re: Speed squares how to use them.

Howdy Phil thanks for helping me figure how to check the true of levels.

"Common sense is the most uncommon commodity there is." uncommon sense.

jkirk
Re: Speed squares how to use them.

your right about how masons abuse their levels.. i cant stand that

regarding your stabila's they have a lifetime guarentee on their levels.. they will honor it and will either replace it or tune it up as long as it wasnt abused so much that its pretty obvious

Mastercarpentry
Re: Speed squares how to use them.
jkirk wrote:

your right about how masons abuse their levels.. i cant stand that

regarding your stabila's they have a lifetime guarentee on their levels.. they will honor it and will either replace it or tune it up as long as it wasnt abused so much that its pretty obvious

I love that about them- but if I send it off I'm without one on my most important tools till it gets back! Till the other vial goes bad I'll just read the good one. I highly recommend Stabila levels and this is the only one I've ever seen with a problem of any kind not caused by heavy abuse. Stabila is as good as life gets!

Phil

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