Milwaukee has come out with a new 7″ rafter square (MLSQM070), which is hardly surprising, given that Milwaukee Tool owns Empire Level.
Rafter squares have been around for nearly a century now. So what’s new with Milwaukee’s?
To start, they say that it was designed from the ground up to address common user frustrations, and also built to provide superior durability and versatility.
You can of course use the Milwaukee 7″ rafter square as you would any other, for common construction layout applications.
Milwaukee says that this is among their first line of layout tools aimed at MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) trades.
The heel of the square features a trio of rare earth magnets, which provide a secure hold to ferrous surfaces.
The wide 1-1/8″ heel is also said to be also provide more grip when working with rounded stock, such as larger iron pipes.
Product images suggest that the magnetic hold is strong enough to be able to use the square as a right angle reference in welding applications.
Another unique new-to-world feature is a 1″ pipe cutting jack built into the square, elevating materials such as conduit, copper pipes, or rigid pipes for cutting.
Additional features include “the most precision scribe notches” in its class, ranging from 1″ to 6″, and more aluminum for extra durability.
Milwaukee says that this is the only rafter square truly designed for steel stud framers and MEP contractors.
Lastly, the new Milwaukee MLSQM070 rafter square is made in the USA, with the exception of the rare earth magnets.
To sum things up, Milwaukee’s new USA-made 7″ aluminum rafter square builds upon traditional designs and features, but adds a magnetic heel, more marking notches (an extra half inch compared to Johnson Level’s magnetic rafter square), and a hole that can be used as a jack for cutting pipes, conduit, and like-sized materials.
ETA: April 2019
It looks like Johnson Level beat Milwaukee Tool to the punch, with their own magnetic 7″ rafter square. Still, the new Milwaukee square has some potentially appealing features, especially for users who work with construction materials other than wood or sheet goods.
While $25 is not inexpensive, it could be justified by the extra aluminum that Milwaukee talks about in press materials. The added work to create the punch-outs is also going to add to the price. We’ve seen pricier squares, such as Woodpeckers’.
I’d have some concerns in using this as a material brace for cutting, being that it’s made from aluminum. I’m not worried about the hole being marred up or worn, but what will happen to the 45° edge over time? Still, that material jack hole seems like a convenient feature. I use my Tri-Vise plate vise regularly, and it’s still in great condition. But it’s also made from steel, and it doesn’t serve double duty as a layout tool.
What do you think – “I’ll take one!,” or “I’ll keep what I have!” ?
As of the time of this posting, you can get a 2-pack of basic Empire Level rafter squares for $10 via Home Depot. If you ask me, it’s good to have options.