How to Use a Speed Square

Posted by in Home Improvement Tips, on August 3, 2016

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Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva demonstrates the amazing versatility of the humble rafter square.

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Shopping List for How to Use a Speed Square:
– PVC baluster, used to make Speed Square holder
– 3/4-inch plywood strip, for reinforcing PVC baluster
– Short screws and belt clip

Tools List for How to Use a Speed Square:
– Speed Square
– Miter saw, to cut PVC baluster
– Table saw or router, for slotting PVC baluster

Steps for How to Use a Speed Square:
1. A Speed Square, also called a rafter square or layout square, has a 90-degree marking edge and a 45-degree marking edge.[BR]
2. The square can be used as a straightedge guide when crosscutting with a circular saw.[BR]
3. A pivot point allows the square to be used as a protractor for marking angled lines.[BR]
4. The square is ideally suited for laying stud locations for walls.[BR]
5. Built into the square are several scribing notches, which provide a fast, easy way to mark layout lines or cutlines onto lumber.[BR]
6. The perfect 90-degree corner of the Speed Square can be used to determine whether two boards form a precise right angle.[BR]
7. To keep the square close at hand, hang it on your tool belt with a hook or get a specially designed Speed Square pouch.[BR]
8. You can also custom-make your own Speed Square holder from a PVC baluster.[BR]
9. Cut the baluster to length on a miter saw, then cut a stopped slot along one side with a table saw or router.[BR]
10. Cut a [FRACTION 34]-inch-thick plywood strip to fit inside the PVC holder, and secure it with short screws.[BR]
11. Attach a metal belt clip to the opposite side of the holder.[BR]
12. Clip the holder onto your tool belt, then slide the Speed Square into the slot.

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