The real world doesn’t always involve easy-to-reach right angles That’s why you need a tool like the Empire protractor and angle finder in your toolbox.
This 6″ long tool has a short 3-1/2″ side which allows you to get it into tight places a T-bevel or other measuring tools won’t fit. It’s made from yellow polycast plastic with brass hardware.
You can use the tool for measuring inside and outside angles, laying out miter angles, and transferring angles.
This little problem-solver isn’t very expensive – you can pick it up in person at most Home Depot Stores for $6.
Buy Now (via Home Depot)
General Tools also offers a very similar angle finder. It looks to be identical to the Empire model, except it looks to be a darker shade of yellow and it has slightly different markings. It also appears to have a vernier scale for reading minutes of angle.
Buy Now (via Amazon)
How I’ve Used it
The protractor and angle finder isn’t a tool I use every day, but it’s indispensable when it’s the only tool that works. Below are some of the uses I’ve found for the tool. Note that some of the photos are recreations, since I didn’t have the forethought to actually take photographs at the time.
Our bedroom door makes an odd angle with the hallway and I originally picked up this tool because a T-bevel or protractor wouldn’t fit.
When I was building my sheet goods storage cart, I used the tool to ensure that the angle of the rear posts was the same on both sides.
The inside angle is useful for determining the angle of small objects. Here I’m measuring the angle of a Milwaukee bit holder in order to create a 3D model of it.
The angle finder can be used like a normal protractor. Above, I’m using it to verify that an angle I cut on a miter saw was 60°.
Finally, here I’m using the inside angle to check that this dovetail key was 12°. It took a lot of grinding to get the angle right. Of course the problem with a plastic tool is that you have to let the metal cool before you use it.