How to Use A Combination Square

How to Use A Combination Square: Complete Guide

A small tool can be daunting, especially when a simple tool becomes too complicated the more you stare at it. Perhaps this what you are feeling while looking at your combination square. You find yourself concentrating hard while debating whether this is a new ruler for grown-ups or strictly for professionals. Now, this ever-demanding question on how to use a combination square will leave you feeling clueless about what to do next.

In reality, however, it is not that complicated. As you learned the different uses and how to use a combination square, this tool will straight away become your favorite and well-used apparatus. In no time, you will be measuring, checking, and cutting your woods to help you create whatever project you have in mind.

Now, how do you start to understand the use of combination squares? Well, first, you need to know more about it.

What Do You Need to Start Working?

You can find some combination squares sold in a set, complete with the ruler, the standard, protractor, and center finder heads. The difference is the interchangeable anvils, often called heads, attached to it. All these have their uses.  These heads get placed on the ruler, then tightened securely and in place using the bolts and lock attached.  Knowing the correct type of anvil to use is the first way to learn how to use a combination square.

The Standard Head

First is the standard head. It is one of the most common types sold. It consists of three adjoining flat sides, with the third side at an angle of 45 degrees. Its specific feature will allow you to mark and measure 90 degrees and 45 degrees angles. The spirit level will help you check whether the surface is equal and level.

The Protractor Head

Second is the protractor head, which works like the usual protractor. It will be easier for you to measure and check the angles on the edges and surfaces to see if your measurements are accurate. This head includes a spirit level that will ensure the balance horizontally, thus minimizing inaccurate measurements and errors.

The Center Finder Head

The third is the center finder head, which, based on its name, helps you find centers in circles and make it possible to mark different points at different angles.

How to Use Your Combination Square 

A combination square is called a multi-purpose tool for a reason. There are plenty of things you can use it too. Aside from measuring the angles and getting the measure of the circle’s center, the distance and the depth measurements are easier to know with the combination square. Next time you want to get a bit crafty at home, take the tool out of your toolbox and dig into the different ways on how to use a combination square.

1. Angle Measurement

You now know that the combination square is the perfect tool to get the exact measure of 90- and 45-degree side angles of your wood. You can easily see if your desired angle takes the correct measurement using the standard head.  All it needs to do is position the wood on the 45 degrees or the 90 degrees face of the head. However, it can also help check the angle of your saw blade, band saw, or table saw.

2. Depth Measurement

Knowing the depths of the wood or material is easier with the combination square. You can measure or set up the depths of one wood and transfer the measurement to the others. Adjust the head to your desired inch and mark it with a pencil. Then, you can measure and do the same to the other woodcuts.

3. Blade height and angle marker

To help you check the 90 degrees angle of your blade, set the head of the standard combination square on the end of the ruler and measure the blade.  For the 45-degree blade angle, take the standard anvil, press its shoulder on the bland, and gently tilt it until the desired angle. Then, use the ruler to check and measure the desired height of your blade.

4. Finding the level

Such part is ideal for finding balance on the surfaces to create the perfect square and angle for projects like pictures, cabinets, and frames. However, not all combination square has this feature, and it probably will go unused for most of the time. The trick to knowing if the surface falls on an equal level, the bubble in the spirit level must be in the center, between the two marked lines.


Your combination square is a multi-purpose tool that you can use to measure and mark necessary lengths in your material, whether metal, wood, stone, and even paper. It works like a regular ruler and more.

Once you get basic ways and feel comfortable using the combination square, you will find it most helpful. Measuring and marking the right angle and measurements will become a simple task for you. The truth is, learning how to use a combination square is one of the life skills worth knowing and practicing. In your next project, do these different tricks in using a combination square and you will not need to fret over the wrong measurements. If you’re the crafty one, a combination square is probably your best purchase ever.



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