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    I received my set of Starrett squares today. Yay! The edges are very sharp compared to my cheapo big box squares. Like the edges of a plane, I was wondering if I can lightly chamfer the edges for more comfort, or would that throw off measurements and ruin the squares? I would use a high grit sandpaper for this task.


    I would think that you could, but I would make it very slight. I also would absolutely not do it to the beam. If you chamfered the beam, your marking knife could undercut the beam slightly if you weren’t referencing perfectly off the flat.


    personally I wouldn’t touch it.

    Dave Ring

    I wouldn’t either.



    I bought a starrett combination square from twice and returned both times — may be I was expecting some mythical, exceptional quality that’s just not there. Or the starrett quality old timers extol is a thing of the past.

    I use an engineers square for marking cross cuts — much easier to find very accurate and well-made ones at a reasonable price. But engineers square is no replacement for a combo square — so still looking for a good one.



    @selva what was wrong with them?


    @ed : The square was not true enough — off by almost 1/64″ over the length (12″). That introduced visible offsets when marked around a 3×3 piece, for example. The spec says accurate to +/- 0.002″ so the worst case should be 1/512 off over 12″ — that sounds excellent.

    I could have fixed it by filing those nubs on which the beam rides but expected more from a starrett. May be I got some bad ones. The feel of the tool in hand was much better than cheap squares in big box stores but even there expectations were too high, may be..

    Anyway, I am not saying Starrett is not good (they have a well deserved reputation gained over decades by providing quality products) — most likely mine came from a batch that slipped through QC. And I only measured using otherwise “uncalibrated” references and by checking visible errors in real use.

    Anyway, I will stick with an engineers square or try square for 90 degree markings — easy to find fairly cheap ones that are dead on and stays so. Still a combo square is needed for the other nifty and useful things it can do.



    Then I won’t touch them.

    My son and I have found great use for the 4″. Nice and light, great for dovetail marks.

    @selva, I checked both of mine, and they appear quite square. I have some of the cheaper Swansons (from a local big box store) that I was able to get “square, but over a 12” distance were off about 1/32. In contrast, I found that I could knifewall all around a 1×6 board with my Starretts, and the measurements were perfect.

    Sven-Olof Jansson

    Apologies for a late comment.

    With the exception of a saw maker not providing a left-handed version of their Disston 8 handsaw replica, I’ve never had a negative experience with tools from first line North American manufacturers. As that doesn’t amount to very much of evidence, I decided to provide some based on a simple study.

    Using my five Starrett combination and sliding squares, a calibrated Base square (T-square) complying to better than DIN 875/2, a straight edge confirming to 874/1, and a 0.025 mm feeler gauge of unknown precision.

    Resting the squares on the T-square and straight edge, I used light and the feeler gauge to assess any deviation from squareness and straightness, respectively, and found none.

    The Starrett tolerances for perpendicularity are on par with DIN 875/2, slightly twice more than for the used T-square. Linearity of the square’s blades can deviate by 2.5 times to that of the used straight edge.

    By the methods used it seems my squares are square and straight. Ideal would of course have been to send them to the calibration centre, but that isn’t exactly free of charge. The traditional method for testing for squareness (a line along the blade with the stock to left and right, respectively), might be less exact, should the stock not be aligned to a straight edge or the blade impacted by the marking.


    Sven-Olof Jansson
    London, UK; Boston, MA

    Larry Geib

    This is not the first report i’ve Seen of the fall in Starrett quality.

    In 2016 Chris Schwarz wrote “The quality of the new stuff seems to be falling lately. I hope it’s temporary.”

    I own a large 12” and a 6” combo square from Starrett made in the 70’s. They are still true and wonderful tools.

    But I also own a Brown & Sharpe forged and hardened steel machinist square I think is a better tool than my Starretts.(slightly more expensive)

    I also own a much cheaper alternative by General that has served well. It’s cast iron body is very durable and the blue combo square Paul has been using lately seems suspiciously like it. It was the square I kept in my field box.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by Larry Geib.
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