Hi everyone! This week, for Talkin' Tools I'm going to cover one of my most valuable, albeit simple tools, the Speed Square (sometimes called a "rafter square").
When I first started building, my husband handed me a speed square and said "You're going to need this." He is a professional framer and keeps one in his pocket at all times. His gets used countless times a day. Although I am not putting up walls or finding the pitch of a roof (usually), I still consider my speed square invaluable.
The best part of all... They are dirt cheap! I think I got mine at Harbor Freight on sale for $1.
Time for an anatomy lesson:
The whole thing is shaped like an equilateral triangle and has one side with a flat edge, like a "T".
It has lots of numbers on it. On the 2 adjacent sides, there are ruler markings (very handy) used to measure length. On the edge of the hypotenuse are angles in degrees.
And on the inner rail, there are a bunch of dashes and numbers. These are to find the pitch of a roof (4/12, 6/12, etc).
*On that note, living in Arizona and our sea of 3/12 and 4/12 roofs, I'm so jealous of the rest of you with your stately 6/12 pitches!
Although a speed square can be tremendously helpful in finding and ascribing angles, I typically reserve finding angles for my combination square.
90% of the time I use my speed square to mark lengths from an edge, giving me a way to draw a perfectly perpendicular line.
Or, to check if two boards are "square" with each other.
Plan on building or repairing a piece of furniture soon? I would highly recommend shelling out the $1 to get yourself a speed square. It will help you avoid stuck drawer boxes and wobbly legs.
Do you have a speed square? Are you constantly using yours?