Author Topic: WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel  (Read 1275 times)

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Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 809
WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel
« on: November 25, 2020, 12:24 AM »
I've the WoodPeckers 12" square, 12" triangle, and some smaller mini triangles that screw together all in the Red aluminum.  I love these squares but unfortunately every one of them has at some point fallen on the floor and taken some dents and rash.  In addition, when they landed on the floor and dented, the Aluminum folded over slightly on the straight edge so I've had to file those areas which was heartbreaking but had to be done.

That said, I'm considering the 26" WP square, possibly even the 18"/26" combo, and notice they are also available with SS blades.  Would SS be more durable and resist denting if dropped on the floor?  I doubt I'd use it for layout work and am just wanting something more durable ... any reason to choose one over the other?

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Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3356
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2020, 01:05 AM »
I’ve migrated to the stainless squares just because the scales are easier to read, I still own and use the older squares as they work perfectly. I think you can return the red squares to Woodpeckers to be refurbished.
Birdhunter

Offline rmhinden

  • Posts: 408
Re: WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2020, 01:54 AM »
I’ve migrated to the stainless squares just because the scales are easier to read, I still own and use the older squares as they work perfectly. I think you can return the red squares to Woodpeckers to be refurbished.

I can't speak to the durability of the stainless steel squares, but I like them a lot better than the red ones because there is less parallax when using them to mark dimensions.  Also, in some of the models the left and right side markings are aligned.  I find that to be less error prone.

I have a six inch red model, that I will probably sell at some point.

Bob

Offline hdv

  • Posts: 274
Re: WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2020, 05:43 AM »
I am with Birdhunter. I too have gone over from the aluminium versions to the SS versions. Less parallax and easier to read. However, I still do use the thicker aluminum squares. To me it is easier to see if light shines through any gap (if there is one) with the aluminium squares when I check something for square. I am still hoping they will someday have a large SS triangle. I do have the small one, but they do no (yet) have a large metric version of that as far as I know.

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 809
Re: WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2020, 07:47 AM »
I’ve migrated to the stainless squares just because the scales are easier to read, I still own and use the older squares as they work perfectly. I think you can return the red squares to Woodpeckers to be refurbished.

Do you mean they will redo my square/triangle to make them look new again?

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 809
Re: WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2020, 07:53 AM »
I don’t use my squares rule for any measuring or layout and only use them to check square of my table saw & MFT/3 fence and guide rails.  That said, is it harder to use the light shining through method because the SS is thinner or check with feeler gauges with the SS squares?

Offline afish

  • Posts: 379
Re: WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2020, 08:40 AM »
I dont have any WP squares so this is just based on my quick observation.  That 26" ss square looks reeeeal nice but based on what you said you will be using it for, it seems like a bit of overkill.  For checking blade and edge squareness I prefer smaller machinist type squares. Think pocket sized for an apron 4" is plenty for most tasks.  If something is out of square more than a few thousands you should be able to quickly detect that with the light test.  This way you always have one on hand for quick checks. I prefer stainless with sharp corners. I also use a Starrett combo reguarily 12 & 24" blades for layout work in combination with a caliper if im getting real particular and I use a TSO MTR for big square tasks such as squaring tracks and checking larger items for squareness.  The one thing I would be concerned with the SS WP is how thick the blade is.  I didnt check but it looks relatively thin I would be concerned it might not be tall enough for squaring up tracks. If its to thin it might want to slip under the track and would require extra care.  I like the triangle design of the TSO since I feel it makes it more durable for occasional oopses. Also the thicker edge gives the track something solid to bump up to. Having said that it cant hurt having that 26"er around the shop, I just think it would be the last one I would buy.   

Offline hdv

  • Posts: 274
Re: WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2020, 11:57 AM »
@Bugsysiegals : not sure if it is harder per se. But I do like it better with the thicker alu squares. Maybe just because it is easier to see the light against a red background than against a shiny silver background?

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 809
Re: WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2020, 10:10 PM »
I dont have any WP squares so this is just based on my quick observation.  That 26" ss square looks reeeeal nice but based on what you said you will be using it for, it seems like a bit of overkill.  For checking blade and edge squareness I prefer smaller machinist type squares. Think pocket sized for an apron 4" is plenty for most tasks.  If something is out of square more than a few thousands you should be able to quickly detect that with the light test.  This way you always have one on hand for quick checks. I prefer stainless with sharp corners. I also use a Starrett combo reguarily 12 & 24" blades for layout work in combination with a caliper if im getting real particular and I use a TSO MTR for big square tasks such as squaring tracks and checking larger items for squareness.  The one thing I would be concerned with the SS WP is how thick the blade is.  I didnt check but it looks relatively thin I would be concerned it might not be tall enough for squaring up tracks. If its to thin it might want to slip under the track and would require extra care.  I like the triangle design of the TSO since I feel it makes it more durable for occasional oopses. Also the thicker edge gives the track something solid to bump up to. Having said that it cant hurt having that 26"er around the shop, I just think it would be the last one I would buy.

I love the 18” TSO triangle but I never cut angles and would use the table saw if I did. The reason I like the 26” WP over the 18” TSO triangle, for me, was reconfirmed today after squaring the MFT/3 guide rail with my 12” triangle, cutting drawer box bottoms (530mm x 530mm), and finding the top and bottom widths with a difference of up to 1-2mm.  The 2mm difference could’ve been my pushing the panel towards the fence to close to the guide rail where the Upper Left dropped and Upper Right raised causing the Lower Right to drift Right and thus a smaller bottom after flipping the panel 180 degrees and maintaining the same reference edge.  When I was more carefully holding the panel and ensuring it didn’t move, I still had 1mm difference even though the square seemed correct.  This seems unacceptable to me and thus it seems the 26” would provide the greatest accuracy for MFT/3 or cross cutting larger panels on the floor.

But that Blue TSO triangle on sale ... 18” vs 26” ...

Offline afish

  • Posts: 379
Re: WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2020, 09:58 AM »
Even though I dont use a "festool" MFT you should be able to achieve square cuts without resorting to cutting on the floor.  Are you using dogs or a rail hinge? if hinge do you have one of those slop stoppers?  If memory serves me correctly I think I remember others complaining about the mft fence system. Are you checking for square after raising or lowering the cutting height on the rail hinge?  Im not sure how stout that hinge piece is or if it can be clamped to the side of the mft out of square but you need to check and verify everything. It sounds like there is a problem in the MFT and you need to go through it and find what the problem is.  While I hear you on the reasons for the WP square most of my cross cuts are at 24" or under.  I think the MFT is limited to 26 or 27" If you have the rail squared for the first 18" on a max 27" crosscut and somehow the panel is not square after the cut the problem is not the square being used (unless the square is not square).  I see the WP as a quick checker for square on big panels more than anything and while it is nice to have I check my panels by cutting one and setting it aside just how it was cut then cut another and spinning it 180° set it on top of the first and try to match up the edges any error will be doubled and easy to find.  I cannot see using the WP square as a viable option for placing the track for every cut.  Nor the TSO one for that matter.  For occasional cross cuts yes but not in any situation involved in breaking down more than a couple sheets.  Also look at your cutting process to see if you are introducing any possible errors.  Are you ripping the sheets with track saw, table saw, combination of both?  If I was approaching this task depending on how many pieces you need and assuming Im starting with a full sheet I would use track saw to rip a slightly oversized 535mm and mark the good edge then run it through the table saw at 530mm so I was confident I had 2 good sides that are "parallel" If you have 2 or more check by stacking and rotating 180° and checking the long edges.  If they are not parallel you will feel it. Once you are confident the long sides are good set up for cross cutting.  Set your track up for square however you are comfortable. Make a "small" test cut on one end removing only about a blade width plus a mm or two.  Its important to remove a full blade width and a little extra to prevent any blade deflection.  Now check that cut for square using the biggest square you have or math.  It is possible if you are placing the square between the fence and backside of the track the cutting side could still be out if the track is out of parallel.  So I would only use it as a starting point.  Make any adjustments until you can achieve a perfectly square test cut. Once you do then proceed and cross cut one at 540'ish mm set it aside and recheck for square.  If happy cut a second panel (length isn't critical at this point) and place it on top of the first and flip it 180° match up 3 edges (top/bottom and corner on one side) feel along the side for any variances. Remember any error is now doubled. Everything should be perfect hopefully.  Once you are happy with squareness proceed in cross cutting up however many pieces you need slightly oversized checking each one as you go with the first. once you have all your pieces cut now go back and set a stop up at 530mm to the left of the saw so you can get all panels exactly the same size.  At the end of the day I see the WP square as a luxury not a necessity but if I was wanting and could afford to add some luxury to my life I would skip the 18/26" WP combo and get the 26" ss and 18" TSO that combo would give you the best of both worlds in my opinion.

Offline Bugsysiegals

  • Posts: 809
Re: WoodPeckers Squares - Aluminum vs Stainless Steel
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2020, 10:59 AM »
I’m only cutting on the floor when initially breaking down a 4x8 sheet. On the MFT/3 I use the rail hinge and square the rail to my fence after I’ve slide the panel underneath and adjusted the rail height. I do not have the slop stop but would like one even though they’re likely less than 0.25mm of play in the rail.

I’ve an Incra fence mounted to the MFT/3 which is just at the edge of the MFT/3 so I can cut a width of 745mm or 29.33” which is really nice!

Thanks for the tips!

As I look at the TSO offerings I see they have some images of using the GRS-16 PE on the MFT/3 for making square cuts but without a fence to measure width. I started a new thread to see if the parallel guide could be attached to act as a fence with rule which would be a REALLY powerful combo on the MFT/3 not to mention it can be removed in seconds if I need to move to the floor and break down a 4x8 sheet. 

If the TSO setup works as expected I may not even need the 26” WP or 18” TSO triangle for now...