Framing Square Questions:

 
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Old 03-15-2008, 06:39 PM   #1
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Framing Square Questions:


I bought a Johnson Steel Framing Square. While at class last week, I noticed that they school stocked Framing Squares with reference numbers on them (with relation to angles, etc...).

My Framing Square doesn't have them. It's a Johnson CS-1...apparently, I should've gotten the CS-2 which has the Rafter Markings. In looking to buy a new one, I asked my teacher what I should get and he strongly suggested the Stanley No.100 calling it the standard of the industry. They seem to be discontinued.

Anyway, some manufacturers calls their squares Carpenter's/Framing/Roofer's squares. What's the difference?

I was thinking about going consistantly with Johnson Products because they have a wide assortment of tools and I believe that they are quality tools.

Stanley's quality dropped a lot in the last few years. I'd love to keep supporting them, but I've had rotten luck with their tools.

What do you guys suggest?

Thanks.


Other tools?
For a better speed square, I'm going with Swanson.
Looking at C.H. Hanson for some layout tools.
Levels...Stabila only.
Stanley still makes the best knives (trying to locate an English knife that just went out of production for hook blades).

One more thing...I've seen some squares that have all kinds of attachments & impliments. What should I look for. I'm open to all suggestions. I'm going to use my Johnson CS-1 Sq and my 120 Rafter Sq for Roofing work so I'm looking for squares for Carpentery work with all the bells & whistles.
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:34 PM   #2
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


I would definitely ditch the steel and get an aluminum. Steel will rust, numbers will fill in.

Don't get the black aluminum either, get the silver kind.

I always get the one with the rafter tables on them.

I grabbed one of the 12" speed squares also. Not used much, but useful in situations.

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Old 03-15-2008, 08:44 PM   #3
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


Quote:
Originally Posted by framerman View Post
I would definitely ditch the steel and get an aluminum. Steel will rust, numbers will fill in.
Don't get the black aluminum either, get the silver kind.
I always get the one with the rafter tables on them.
I grabbed one of the 12" speed squares also. Not used much, but useful in situations.
See, I was told to go with steel because it's stronger and doesn't bend easily. My first instinct was aluminum because of the rusting issue of course.

My rafter square I bought for cutting shingles on the roof anyway;
that's where I'll end up using it. It's aluminum.
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:46 PM   #4
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


Well theres always Stainless



of course 49 bucks for a square is nuts.

Try here

or go to Sears or Kmart for an aluminum one for less than 20 bucks
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Old 03-15-2008, 08:51 PM   #5
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


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Originally Posted by A W Smith View Post
Well theres always Stainless
Nice! Love stainless steel. When I learn how to use a cheap square, I'll upgrade to that one. I'm set on the Lee Valley Narex Chisels for my starter set. Made in Japan too? Good stuff.

LOL!

I see you edited your post! I thought the same thing...that's why I said I'll "upgrade" to that square when "I" am worthy.
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:18 PM   #6
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


I see they are Canadian. The first time i saw a stainless square it was owned by my next door neighbors dad. we grew up together. his dad was a French Canadian merchant marine from Maine. Gerry. his son, left the square on top of the masonry chimney of one of his investment properties. for years. I found it when I did a roof repair for him. it was spotless and looked brand new. of course i returned the square to him as i recognized it from his dads workshop from childhood days past. I have never been able to find the source for one. until moments ago.
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:41 PM   #7
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


I managed to locate "1" Stanley AR100 Framers Square Ebay. $33. delivered.
Old. Aluminum. Supposedly great.

But I'm leaning towards the Johnson or maybe, just maybe, Stanley's current model.
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:42 PM   #8
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


Stainless

That's a sweet square... I use an old rusty Stanley 100(?) still totally legible, an as square as the shiny one!
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:45 PM   #9
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


Just found some good information:

"The aluminum, Stanley Professional model is the best American made square available. It also comes with an extremely informative booklet which clearly explains how to use it. This booklet in itself is almost worth the $30 price tag of the square.

Buy the Stanley for the book, but the best square available is the Shinwa stainless steel Japanese framing squares. They are available in many tool catalogs.

These will last longer than aluminum squares, take a little more abuse, and they are less flexible, which means they won't tend to bend when scoring layout lines. Lee Valley Tools sells these for around $38, and they guarantee them to be square."


http://www.foxmaple.com/primer.html

So...Stanley first, then the Lee Valley when I'm all grown up as a Framer.
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Old 03-15-2008, 11:46 PM   #10
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


I like my Millers Falls aluminum square for precision work, and use a few different steel squares for scoring and roofing and such.

I like the lightness of the aluminum square and the ease of reading, but I do have to treat it a little more carefully.

I don't think I'd buy a stainless square as the mild steel squares are easy to re-square with a center punch if they ever go out of alignment.

Make sure you're getting ALL the framing tables. Each manufacturer includes different sets of tables.

You should have:
  • Essex board feet table
  • diagonal brace table
  • octagon scale
  • common rafter length
  • hip/valley rafter length
  • difference in jacks 16 oc
  • difference in jacks 24 oc
  • side cut of jacks
  • side cut of hip/valley
  • sheathing cut at hip/valey

And then learn all the tricks you can do with the framing square, including finding the radius of a circle, centering a circle, drawing an elipse, trisecting an angle, marking a square timber for an octagonal post and finding octagonal miter angles.
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Old 03-15-2008, 11:54 PM   #11
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ndGen View Post
See, I was told to go with steel because it's stronger and doesn't bend easily. My first instinct was aluminum because of the rusting issue of course.

My rafter square I bought for cutting shingles on the roof anyway;
that's where I'll end up using it. It's aluminum.
If I was on the ground when it slid off the roof, I would be glad it was aluminum too.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:00 AM   #12
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


[quote=2ndGen;400353]
Anyway, some manufacturers calls their squares Carpenter's/Framing/Roofer's squares. What's the difference



Roofing squares have the pitch table on them for the amount of rise in 12. The different lenghts of jacks based on pitch and layout and the bevel cut.

Framing squares have this info as well but then there are other tables for,. You know what, I know less than half of all the uses for all the tables. I bet a google search would blow your mind on all the framing tables and there uses. I remember a guy on a job once with a book. Not a "pamplet" but a book, on all the uses for a framing square with the tables explained. Its pretty cool. Old timers used them instead of calculators.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:19 AM   #13
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


[quote=klucrezi;400626]
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ndGen View Post
Anyway, some manufacturers calls their squares Carpenter's/Framing/Roofer's squares. What's the difference



Roofing squares have the pitch table on them for the amount of rise in 12. The different lenghts of jacks based on pitch and layout and the bevel cut.

Framing squares have this info as well but then there are other tables for,. You know what, I know less than half of all the uses for all the tables. I bet a google search would blow your mind on all the framing tables and there uses. I remember a guy on a job once with a book. Not a "pamplet" but a book, on all the uses for a framing square with the tables explained. Its pretty cool. Old timers used them instead of calculators.

Was it about 56 pages?
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:53 AM   #14
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Riversong View Post
I like my Millers Falls aluminum square for precision work, and use a few different steel squares for scoring and roofing and such.

I like the lightness of the aluminum square and the ease of reading, but I do have to treat it a little more carefully.

I don't think I'd buy a stainless square as the mild steel squares are easy to re-square with a center punch if they ever go out of alignment.

Make sure you're getting ALL the framing tables. Each manufacturer includes different sets of tables.

You should have:
  • Essex board feet table
  • diagonal brace table
  • octagon scale
  • common rafter length
  • hip/valley rafter length
  • difference in jacks 16 oc
  • difference in jacks 24 oc
  • side cut of jacks
  • side cut of hip/valley
  • sheathing cut at hip/valey

And then learn all the tricks you can do with the framing square, including finding the radius of a circle, centering a circle, drawing an elipse, trisecting an angle, marking a square timber for an octagonal post and finding octagonal miter angles.
Thanks RSong.
We started on the "tricks" last week in class (disecting triangles, etc...). We were to make a perfect 13" diameter circle (or whatever diameter as long as it was perfect) using our framing squares and a pencil and that's it. I managed it by using one of the hole in the square, placing a nail on the scrap ply, placing the hole of the square on the nail and turning my square as a makeshift compass. Needless to say, my circle wasn't perfect, but it was a consistent 12 3/4".

The "trick"? scribe a 13" line. Find the center. Place the corner of the sq in the center. Find two reference point on the outside of the square. Scribe a circle by keeping the two outer reference points at equal distance from the center. I know I just bungled up the explanation, but he did it...he created a perfect circle out of a square.

So when a kid tries to put a square peg in a round hole, leave him. He might just have Carpenter blood in him!

Thanks for the detailed explanation. That's exactly what I'm looking for in my next square.
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:56 AM   #15
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


[QUOTE=klucrezi;400626]
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ndGen View Post
Anyway, some manufacturers calls their squares Carpenter's/Framing/Roofer's squares. What's the difference



Roofing squares have the pitch table on them for the amount of rise in 12. The different lenghts of jacks based on pitch and layout and the bevel cut.

Framing squares have this info as well but then there are other tables for,. You know what, I know less than half of all the uses for all the tables. I bet a google search would blow your mind on all the framing tables and there uses. I remember a guy on a job once with a book. Not a "pamplet" but a book, on all the uses for a framing square with the tables explained. Its pretty cool. Old timers used them instead of calculators.
So the Framing Square would be the most complete as far as information goes on the square itself for it has Roofing calculations and Framing references?
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:59 AM   #16
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


[QUOTE=A W Smith;400639]
Quote:
Originally Posted by klucrezi View Post


Was it about 56 pages?

Our teacher brought in an 1800's Framing Square Book. Awesome.

He also brought in a an 1800's book on construction. It actually had a section on what the responsibilities were of the tradesman when a slave died on the job. It sent chills up and down my spine to read that part. We see movies and have been told stories during February, but when you hold a piece of history in your hand, it really hits home.
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:04 AM   #17
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


[quote=2ndGen;400658]
Quote:
Originally Posted by A W Smith View Post


Our teacher brought in an 1800's Framing Square Book. Awesome.

He also brought in a an 1800's book on construction. It actually had a section on what the responsibilities were of the tradesman when a slave died on the job. It sent chills up and down my spine to read that part. We see movies and have been told stories during February, but when you hold a piece of history in your hand, it really hits home.

Id like to get my hands on some pattern books of that era. when you think of all that intricate pattern work and detailing that was done on fancy homes of the era. and realize it was all cut with hand tools. and nails were used sparingly. it really is amazing what they had to overcome. Did you know that on the push westward settlers would burn their frame cabins down to retrieve the nails so they could reuse them when they resettled further west? they were that valuable.
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:23 AM   #18
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


[QUOTE=A W Smith;400666]
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ndGen View Post


Id like to get my hands on some pattern books of that era. when you think of all that intricate pattern work and detailing that was done on fancy homes of the era. and realize it was all cut with hand tools. and nails were used sparingly. it really is amazing what they had to overcome. Did you know that on the push westward settlers would burn their frame cabins down to retrieve the nails so they could reuse them when they resettled further west? they were that valuable.
Yeah, the nails, hardware. All that.

When I've done some restoration work on older homes, I've come across mortise and tenon joinery that I'd just stop and stare at for a while before covering it backup (shame). I'd pull out lead flashings that were still in perfect working condition and copper flashings that were still copper colored where not exposed to the elements where they'd pick up their patina finishes.

The builders would leave Newspapers of the era in the roof and toys and I'd find "cut" nails. I've found books, a Sears Catalog, tools, all kinds of stuff.

It's builder's archeology for me.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:42 AM   #19
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


Quote:
and I'd find "cut" nails
They still sell them here. Walk in and buy a box, no ordering.
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:45 PM   #20
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Re: Framing Square Questions:


The company that made those cut nails back then is still making them today. with the same machinery. They are near Marion Massachusetts. My wife is from nearby New Bedford and her late sister lived in Marion. I have driven past that mill many times.

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