Author Topic: Starrett combo square clarification please.  (Read 4580 times)

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Offline RJNeal

  • Posts: 547
Starrett combo square clarification please.
« on: May 25, 2020, 05:44 PM »
I’m in a market for a new square or two. I’m thinking a combination and a double.
Starrett has a bunch of 12” combination square, can someone please enlighten me on the differences.
Thanks.rick
Have you walked your saw today?

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Online Cheese

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Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2020, 06:26 PM »
Rick, Starrett 12” combination squares can be broken down into either being cast or forged. After that you choose what head style you want. I have the protractor head but don’t use it much, as in almost never.

I also have both cast & forged heads and think the cast head is a little more resilient if dropped on the floor. I’ve cracked a forged head when it hit the floor.

Remember you can swap out the 12” blade for an 18” or a 24” blade at a moments notice, it takes 10 seconds or less.
You can also choose the blade markings. Metric, fractional or 100ths of an inch.

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 630
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2020, 06:47 PM »
I’m looking at just the same ones you do, me too wandered about forged or cast.
For me it’s metric, but there are fewer options. I liked Veritas’ new pocket square too, but it’s only in imperial - wich had me look into the tiny Bridge City square with magnetic foot. That in particular could be interesting if one might set the foot at a narrow edge.

If anyone knows of alternatives I’d be happy too. But the combination square and double seems pretty obvious.
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 1007
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2020, 06:49 PM »
Rick, I have numerous Starretts and echo what Cheese said.  One thing to add is the finish of the blade.  I elected for what I think Starrett terms a satin finish. 

Also, I made a mistake once when ordering and ended up with the machinists blade. It's ok, but I never use it that way because I'm not working in decimal measurements. I mention this just as an FYI so you make sure you get what you want when you order.

Offline Tom in SoCal

  • Posts: 121
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2020, 07:57 PM »
Rick, I have numerous Starretts and echo what Cheese said.  One thing to add is the finish of the blade.  I elected for what I think Starrett terms a satin finish. 

Also, I made a mistake once when ordering and ended up with the machinists blade. It's ok, but I never use it that way because I'm not working in decimal measurements. I mention this just as an FYI so you make sure you get what you want when you order.

Ditto -- the satin chrome is the way to go...  costs a bit more, but is infinitely more readible.

Go to the Starrett site to educucate yourself on the rule markings...   I prefer the 16R style;  fractions and decimal inches but other options are available.

I prefer the smooth finished heads to the black wrinkle finish;  easier to keep clean.

So for me...  the C33h-12-16R is my preference. 

That said, and I love my Starrett stuff...  today the Products Engineering (PEC) brand is probably the value choice.  Outstanding quality, for much lower price than Starrett.  I'm not sure where they are made, which may be important to you.

Enjoy the search!  You'll love using it.

Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 1007
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2020, 10:36 PM »
Hey Tom

I should have asked you to help me when I ordered years ago and I wouldn't have gotten the model number wrong.  [big grin]

I do like the crinkle finish on mine and now that I think about it, maybe because the texture makes it just a little bit easier to grip.  Either way , Rick will be happy with the quality of Starrett combo squares.

You're right about PEC brand.  A buddy has several PEC squares and they were really well made and a fraction of the cost of Starrett.

Offline RJNeal

  • Posts: 547
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2020, 11:16 PM »
Thanks everyone for your help and replies.
And thanks Tom for the suggestion.
It seems like all the narrative seem like they sound the same and it’s hard to compare online.
I fell in love with Starrett long time ago. I have my grandfather’s machinist tool box.
I have misplaced a few of the squares while I was doing the construction thing. Now that I’m having a dedicated shop, I need to replace them.
Rick.
Have you walked your saw today?

Offline Tom in SoCal

  • Posts: 121
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2020, 11:51 PM »
Hey Tom

I should have asked you to help me when I ordered years ago and I wouldn't have gotten the model number wrong.  [big grin]

I do like the crinkle finish on mine and now that I think about it, maybe because the texture makes it just a little bit easier to grip.  Either way , Rick will be happy with the quality of Starrett combo squares.

You're right about PEC brand.  A buddy has several PEC squares and they were really well made and a fraction of the cost of Starrett.

Don't get me wrong -- the crinkle finish is very cool.  I just find it a bit harder to keep clean. 

Machinist squares are definitely a "cry once" situation.  I bought mine 25 years ago;  it was expensive but I've enjoyed every time I've used it.

Pay  your money and take your choice!

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7754
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2020, 01:48 AM »
Well here's an interesting comparison.

The top blade is the Starrett chrome satin finish. The middle blade is a Starrett stainless item that's no longer available. It lives on the cast Starrett head that does duty mostly for outside jobs. The bottom blade is their standard blade and it's probably at least 30 years old. It rusts, it corrodes, it's difficult to read, you need to clean it with Scotch Brite from time to time.  Obviously the easiest blade to read is the satin chrome version. The satin chrome blade is actually easier to read than the stainless version.




Here's a comparison between the forged and the cast heads. I personally like the forged heads better because they're easier to clean, however I also noted they do seem a bit more susceptible to damage despite the fact that they are forged...go figure. They are also about 15%-20% more expensive than the cast versions.




If you're looking for a standard to gauge the rest of your precision tooling against, and seriously, every woodworker needs that, then Starrett is the solution. I was fortunate enough to become friends with our in-house QA group and I brought all of my Starrett squares in and had them gauged against the Starrett granite standards. As far as square goes, they were all within .0001-.0003 of the granite standards. My squares are daily working tools that are still capable of maintaining this accuracy 20-30 years after they were produced.

I may note, I'm a big fan of Woodpeckers squares and for the price, they provide a lot of bang for your buck. However I noticed several of mine were out of whack when I compared them to the Starretts.  I contacted Woodpeckers, they asked me how I determined their squares were wonky, I responded and consequently they sent me 2 new squares.

Spend a little less...get a lot less.


Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1267
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2020, 06:06 AM »
@RJNeal Rick if you are mostly doing woodworking, you'll probably find the 4R markings most helpful. It has 1/8 and 1/16 on one side of the blade and 1/32 and 1/64 on the other. I find myself reaching for the 13A 4 inch double square the most.

If you are not in a hurry you can sometimes find deals around. Regular prices on most Starrett stuff is within a narrow range. But sometimes Amazon's pricing algorithm will come up with a lower price. You can always set up a price alert. In addition, if you sign up for ZORO email, they routinely run coupon discounts and Starrett is NOT excluded. 15% off is the norm and often 20% with a rare 25% thrown in. ZORO is an industrial supply house.

www.zoro.com

Ron


Offline Gregor

  • Posts: 1739
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2020, 07:00 AM »
Another vote for Starrett. And yes to the chrome satin finished ruler, unless you manage to obtain a stainless steel ruler.

And while I use the H8 head the most... the other two also see light of day on a regular basis, hence I would suggest to spend a bit more and get a 43x (434 or 435, depending on going cast or forged) set. Plus (depending on depth of pockets) additional ruler(s) of different length.

Offline RJNeal

  • Posts: 547
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2020, 08:29 AM »
Again thank you for the education, and suggestion
Ron, zoro is pretty impressive. I signed up !
Rick
« Last Edit: May 26, 2020, 12:11 PM by RJNeal »
Have you walked your saw today?

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7754
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2020, 10:39 AM »
Here's a quick look at the 4 different graduations available, from 12" long to 48" long.

4R...1/8" & 1/16" on one side and 1/32" & 1/64" on the other.



16R...1/32" & 1/64" on one side and 1/50" & 1/100" on the other.



36...1/2 mm & 1/32" on one side and 1 mm & 1/64" on the other.



35...1/2 mm & 1 mm on both sides.

Offline RJNeal

  • Posts: 547
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2020, 12:11 PM »
O thank you Cheese, that was the missing link...
Have you walked your saw today?

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1978
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2020, 02:01 PM »
@Cheese In the pic showing the 3 blades with the different finishes, does the top blade looks like it's out 1/16th or more over 4 inches? 
-Raj

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7754
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2020, 02:33 PM »
@Cheese In the pic showing the 3 blades with the different finishes, does the top blade looks like it's out 1/16th or more over 4 inches?

No Raj it's just parallax error. Here's a wide angle shot of the 2 rulers together and then without moving them I took a close-up of the LH end & the RH end.





« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 02:53 PM by Cheese »

Offline jeffinsgf

  • Retailer
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  • Posts: 309
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2020, 03:00 PM »
Just another feature of 4R not yet mentioned.

If you are measuring with the 1/8 scale, and you find it is not fine enough, rotate the tool 180 degrees and you're on 16ths. If that isn't fine enough roll it once and you're on 32nds. If that's not fine enough rotate it 180 degrees and you're on 64ths. Like-wise, I often find myself looking at 32nds when I don't need them and reverse the roll/rotate to get to the resolution needed.

To me, it's more important on rules than on the combo square, but I think the Starrett 4R is the most woodworking-friendly scale out there.

Offline RJNeal

  • Posts: 547
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2020, 03:59 PM »
Thanks Jeff, with my eye, I was hoping they had one side with Braille. [eek]
Have you walked your saw today?

Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3169
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2020, 06:12 PM »
I bought the Starrett 6” double square a while ago and find I am using it more than any of my other squares. I only buy the satin finish blades due to their greater visibility. I also sometimes put a pencil mark on the blade. The marks are easy to erase on the satin. My tools are a mix of metric and Imperial so I have to buy both.
Birdhunter

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 630
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2020, 02:49 PM »
Thanks for a lot of good info. I’ll probably order at least one combination square and one double square from Starret.
I just stumbled over this video from How It’s Made: Featuring Starret.


“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7754
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2020, 03:03 PM »
Thanks 🙏 for that @FestitaMakool ...I watched it 3 times.  [big grin]

Very interesting that they etch the markings using photo resist and UV light, those are some of the same steps that are used when producing semiconductors.

I’m curious if they will eventually transition to laser etching?

Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 1007
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2020, 03:23 PM »
Festita, that's a good video  [smile]

I have always wondered how Laroy Starrett was able to machine the first combination squares in the 1870's, to such a high standard of quality.  From what I have read, apparently the way we see the combination squares now is largely unchanged from his first model.

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 630
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2020, 06:11 PM »
Thanks @Cheese and @RobZ
.. I guessed that you already had seen it  [blink] [big grin]

Well, I thought so too, saving for another play tonight  [smile] It is such documentary that make you understand the thought and care put into seemingly simple product.
Also your explanation of the different rulers you can opt from Cheese, this is what makes me understand and appreciate even the “simplest” designs, and in the end make me want to buy that particular brand or item. I loved the “calibration check” in the end. I guess that particular tool is used under specific temperatures and is officially checked annually at an official department for accuracy.

I’m actually thinking of buying one ruler in imperial, for those rare occasions I could have the use. And I love the ones that goes into fractions! (I still mostly, for some odd reason [huh] buy folding rules with imperial in addition to metric. I guess it was my early learning of wood sizes back then from my uncle. It was easier to determine if the wood was in metric or imperial) Today however, all is in metric. But I do live in a house that is built with imperial wood, mostly 4x4”. And I’m resourcing old wood for restoration.
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 4155
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2020, 10:48 PM »
I had been thinking about getting an 18" blade for my 12" Starrett combination square -- thanks to this thread I've just gone ahead and made my pockets a little lighter.
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Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7754
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2020, 11:38 PM »
Edward, I’ve used the 24” Starrett scale with a 90 degree head for an absolute square for many years before Woodpeckers released their large framing squares.

Now I use the Woodpeckers framing square because it is more durable...but not more accurate than the Starrett square.

One of the things I use the 24" Starrett blade for is to ensure the wheels on my band saw are coplanar. 
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 12:33 AM by Cheese »

Offline Rob Z

  • Posts: 1007
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2020, 11:58 PM »
Cheese, the Starrett I always wanted but never felt I really needed is the builders combination tool.  [big grin]

https://www.starrett.com/metrology/product-detail/439-24

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7754
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2020, 12:26 AM »
Cheese, the Starrett I always wanted but never felt I really needed is the builders combination tool.  [big grin]

https://www.starrett.com/metrology/product-detail/439-24

Ya I certainly hear you Rob...If I were God and had the ability to mint all my own coins...the Starrett builders combination tool would be mounted on the wall like the RED BADGE of COURAGE.  [big grin] [big grin] [big grin]

Serious wood workers & metal workers all need a test standard...something that can be measured and be put to the test. A standard that defies all the naysayers and those that declare that it's "good enough" and then when "good enough" isn't really good enough...they find fault with the tool instead of their own measurement methods.

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7754
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2020, 01:03 AM »
I loved the “calibration check” in the end. I guess that particular tool is used under specific temperatures and is officially checked annually at an official department for accuracy.

Festita...I don't know if you have any background in manufacturing, but since the introduction of ISO manufacturing standards about 30 years ago, it's been common place to mandate temperature/climate controlled QA areas and annual inspection and verification of all inspection tools.

Also, along with the company QA people that are under the microscope, that also includes a complete verification of personal members (mechanical engineers) measurement tools if they are taking measurements to qualify a tool/product/jig/fixture/finished product. It may seem like an unnecessary/frivolous step at first but when dimensional issues raise their ugly head later on, the commonality of measurement standards is actually a God-send.

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 630
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2020, 04:46 AM »
Cheese.. That part was a purely an ironic comment  [big grin]
Knowing Starret and also other well known brands that manufacture high quality equipment does come in contrast to other, maybe not even unknown brands delivering equipment that one might wonder have calibrating QA. On occasions I’ve measured my measure tools up against each other, and there have been a couple of tools thrown in the bin. And I don’t buy and use cheap stuff without “calibrating” against my known measuring tools.
If I don’t have this in order (in woodworking that is) I’ll be sure to measure, mark and cut with one measuring tool where uniform shapes are not required.

I only have a tiny experience in manufacturing, nothing big, but significant enough to think and measure before I do.
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”

Offline FestitaMakool

  • Posts: 630
Re: Starrett combo square clarification please.
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2020, 04:49 AM »
Have you guys suggestions to where to buy Starret, in metric?
I can’t find a store that carry a wider range of metric Starret squares that ships internationally. Lee Valley does have a pretty good selection.
“The Stig” Yes, it is true, at least some part of it..
“If you have an old Land Rover and a fit wife, you’re most likely always busy”