Milwaukee has come out with a new trim square, MLSQ040, which was first revealed at their recent NPS19 new tool media event.
It’s a 4-1/2″ square, which Milwaukee says is 35% more compact compared to standard 7″ rafter squares.
Milwaukee says this is the first mass-appeal compact square on the market and that its small size makes it an everyday carry layout solution.
The Milwaukee trim square fits into tight spaces, and easily stows away in pockets and tool pouches. It features high visibility laser-etched markings, and a dual measurement 1/4″ and 3/8″ heel that can be used to make quick marks. There precision notches at 1/8″ increments.
The aluminum square is made in the USA and is anodized red.
It can be used in most of the same ways as larger rafter squares, such as for laying down cut lines on wood materials.
You can use it with other materials as well, and its small size allows it to be used in spaces too narrow for 7″ and larger squares.
The Milwaukee trim square can also be used as a 90° reference, such as for checking or adjusting the alignment of miter saw blades.
The offset heel gives you convenient 1/4″ and 3/8″ marking widths or measurement gauges.
MSRP Price: $7
Preorder Street Pricing: $10
ETA: September 2019
If you’re interested in the new Milwaukee trim square, you might want to also read about their relatively new 7″ rafter square, which is also made in the USA.
That Milwaukee describes this as the first mass-appeal square indicates that they’re aware of the existence of Woodpeckers’ Delve square, which Ben talks about here. The Delve square is actually smaller, with a height of ~3-3/4″.
Milwaukee’s trim square and Woodpeckers’ Delve square have very different pricing, but it’s worth pointing out that the Milwaukee square is made from machined extruded aluminum, and the Woodpeckers Delve square is machined from “a single piece of tool plate-grade aluminum.” I mention this because I know some of you are going to be familiar with the Woodpeckers tool.
I usually use a combination square for a lot of the different tasks Milwaukee highlights their new trim square as being perfectly suited for. I do also have a Woodpeckers Delve square that I purchased at a woodworking show, and I use that on smaller stock. But, the Milwaukee trim square looks like it could be convenient, especially since it’s a one-piece tool.
With combination squares, even my smaller ones, I often have to take the rule out of the handle and use just the handle for tasks such as miter saw blade calibration. But, with the rule removed, its reference height is small and less than optimal.
Let’s also not forget that this tool is meant to be used on smaller boards that might be awkward for a 7″ rafter square.
Overall, I’m optimistic. This seems like a useful tool, at least if you can see yourself using it.
I recently received a sample of Milwaukee’s magnetic rafter square recently, and it’s quite nice, although some of its edges are about as sharp as the ones on Empire squares. If you picked up a 2-for-1 Empire square promo pack at Home Depot, you probably know what I mean. If the new trim square is similar, it’ll still be comfortable enough to slip into a back pocket (but please don’t sit down!) or tool pouch.
There’s a nagging question I can’t quite shake. If this is such a great idea, why hasn’t it been done before on the “mass appeal” level? Is it because this 4-1/2″ trim square is comparably priced – or pricier – than standard 7″ aluminum rafter squares? But, it does have notches, which increases its versatility and adds to what you get for the money, and also the offset dual-measurement heel.
$7 or $10 doesn’t seem like a lot for what you get. Press materials say the square will sell for $7, and the only retailer that has the square listed at the moment is showing a price of $10. I think that $7 is low enough for “sure, why not, I’ll try it” mentality. $10 might require a little more self-convincing, but still seems reasonable.
Is this something you might buy or use? Or will you continue to use your combination square, rafter square, or a different layout tool for the tasks the trim square was designed for?