The Squid woodworker’s centering punch, from a company called Blokkz, is a simple yet ingenious device that allows you to mark the center of round, square, and rectangular pieces of wood in just one step.
No more drawing intersecting lines connecting corners (or as close to the corners as you can get), or using a center finder tool to find where multiple lines cross. With the Squid, you just line up the tool and tap it with a hammer. The Squid will automatically center itself and leave a punch mark at the exact center of your workpiece.
The Squid can find the center of round stock up to 2-3/8″ in diameter, square stock up to 2-3/8″ wide, and boards up to 1-5/8″ thick.
The four evenly spaced legs force the center punch in the middle of the material as long as the Squid is held perpendicular to the face you are marking, and as long as your stock is square. The legs are also notched along their entire length to capture the corners of rectangular materials, which does make it easier to hold the squid in the correct position.
A little misalignment probably won’t throw the center accuracy off by much, but it’s something to keep in mind in case you were hoping to use this on odd-shaped stock with uneven surfaces.
Blokkz manufactures the Squid in the USA. They make the body from high-strength polycarbonate, and the 3/16″ diameter punch is made from stainless steel. The body can be disassembled so that you can sharpen the punch.
Take a look at the video below to see a demonstration of the Squid being used. It’s interesting to note that when the guy in the video uses the Squid to mark the center of some square stock, he lines the legs up against the edges of the wood and not the corners. Evidently the tool is accurate being used either way.
The Squid is priced at $20. You can order it direct from Blokkz with free shipping (USA only), and it’s also available from Amazon through 3rd parties with shipping starting at $6. It’s also available at local wood supply chains, such as Woodcraft.
Buy Now (via Blokkz website)
Buy Now (via Amazon)
Buy Now (via Woodcraft)
It seems like a pair of small bubble levels at right angles would help ensure it is vertical.
My name is Allen, and I have a problem.
Seems center punches are an addiction with me, I have a ton. My favorite is a Lisle automatic, but this really seems interesting.
I wish it was made in China. Then I wouldn’t be tempted.
Congratulations on an interesting idea, and thanks for bringing it to my attention.
Given this is USA made and thankfully not imported, I figured this would be under the USA tools section as well with the Toolguy’d website. I have the USA made Listle automatic center punch and even a USA made Starrett automatic center punch as well. Plus some USA made Wilde and SK center punches as well.
Cool tool design, thanks for sharing this Benjamen.
I didn’t check the “Made in the USA” category. I know Stuart reads all the comments but I’ll let him know to add it.
Benjamen, I didn’t mention this earlier, but you have a fantastic writing style as well. You are so detailed and have such a unique style that is quite enjoyable to read.
I never even knew this tool existed, but once again awesome article.
Having been in the pipe fabrication business – I’m more familiar with tools from Flange Wizard. Their centering punch comes with a spirit level:
As with all measuring and marking tools, I need to know what the accuracy is. (It seems to be provided only for the most well made tools, and even then, not always.) In particular, for this device, I would need the errors occurring at up to, say, 5 degrees of tilt. If it is within my tolerance limits, it would certainly save a lot of time marking centres.
Instead of 2 spirit levels, a single bubble level might work.
Good point. It looks like it would be possible to user-fit a small circular bullseye level on top. That is certainly easier to retrofit than a pair that must be aligned properly, although best not miss with the hammer. Now I also am tempted.
Whether the tool is level in relation to the earth is irrelevant.. in order for level to matter you would first need to ensure your workpiece was exactly level and clamped.. going through all that would void any time savings this tool promises imo… I’m very glad the author mentioned “as long as the Squid is held perpendicular to the face you are marking” that’s the first thing I thought when I saw the tool.. there is a good amount of room for error if the tool is not perfectly in line with the work piece. For joinery applications I don’t think this would provide the accuracy necessary to make multi faces perfectly aligned. however for wood turners that are going to be rounding out a blank anyway I’m sure close to center is more than good enough.
as long as you push down on the top of the thing – it’s going to be self squaring. Note I didn’t say self leveling. But squaring to the piece, it doesn’t need a bubble level. even if you don’t have is jam up secure in the legs – when you tap the spike with your hammer – it’s going to press uniformly into the legs. About the only concern I have is that you might jam into the legs so hard you need a pry the thing off.
but nice idea and good price.