I have an older Empire combination square, and recently bought one of the new updated models. Do you need a new combination square? If so, these are definitely worth your attention.
I was actually about to order a 6-inch model as well, and figured that the reasoning behind my decision will be worth a quick post.
Both Empire combination squares, available in 6-inch and 12-inch sizes, have similar heads, but they are scaled differently depending on the ruler length.
Combination squares are useful for many kinds of layout, marking, and measurement tasks, and if there’s reader interest, this could be the focus of a future post.
The head is made form cast zinc with precision milled surfaces.
I will often use combination squares – with and sometimes without the ruler blade – for adjusting machine surfaces. It can be useful for adjusting saw blades and fences when a larger square isn’t available or when working with smaller surfaces in more compact spaces.
- 6-inch square (e255)
- 3″ base x 1″ vertical x 2″ 45° x 1″ thick
- 12-inch square (e250)
- 4-1/2″ base x 1-1/2″ vertical x 3-1/4″ 45° x 3/4″ thick
The heads have Empire’s TrueBlue bubble level vials with e-Band markings for high visibility.
Empire combination squares are made in the USA with global materials.
To be frank, Empire has really stepped up their game since being acquired by Milwaukee Tool. I don’t know if this is because Milwaukee Tool leadership stepped in to take the reins, or if this is one of the resulting from the influx in cash used to upgrade and expand Empire’s manufacturing capabilities.
I’ll be keeping my older Empire and Empire-made Craftsman combination squares for posterity, partly out of nostalgia, but also for my kids to use if they’re ever interested. But in my main woodworking tool box, it’s going to be all-Empire, with the 12-inch I picked up at Home Depot a few weeks ago and the new 6-inch I’m about to buy as soon as I hit “publish” on this post.
I have lots of different types of squares, many of them more premium than these, but combination squares are a crucial part of my kit.
Empire took a tool that was already pretty decent, and they made it even better.
Price: $10 for 6-inch, $11 for 12-inch (free shipping)
At the time of this posting, Home Depot is offering free no-minimum shipping on both sizes.