Stuart posted about Savage Pro hand tools from Swanson way back in 2011, including a short blurb about their straight edges. I recently bought a Swanson Savage straight edge for myself, and though it deserved a closer second look.
The straight edge is made from a single piece of aluminum extrusion. It has a no-slip bottom and “thumb saver” protective edge.
The anodized aluminum straightedge has laser etched markings in increments of 1/16″, both on the reference edge and on the back side.
The non slip material fits into a channel in the bottom of the straight edge, so when you place it on a hard surface the reference edge maintains tight contact. This also stops the non-slip material from rolling over and causing the straight edge to wander away from the line.
The “thumb saver” feature is just a function of the extrusion profile. The high, rolled-over edge keeps your thumbs and fingers away from the blade while still allowing you to put pressure on the backside to keep it in place.
The Savage straight edge is available in 5 different lengths:
- SVE240 — 24″ long ($10)
- SVE360 — 36″ long ($13)
- SVE480 — 48″ long ($18)
- SVE720 — 72″ long ($30)
- SVE960 — 96″ long ($44)
The best pricing I found for these straight edges was at Amazon and online at Home Depot. Both stores have the same prices, except for some odd reason Amazon is charging $18 for the 24″ long straight edge.
Buy Now (via Amazon)
Buy Now (via Home Depot)
After discovering that some of my long rulers weren’t as straight as they once were, I decided I needed some better straight edges. While browsing the rulers in Menards I came across these Masterforce straightedges.
Menards had them in 36″and 48″ sizes for a little more than I was willing to pay: $18 and $25 respectively. So when I got home I did a little searching online and found the Swanson Savage straight edges.
It looked to me like the extrusion was identical and that either the Masterforce was a rebranded Swanson or both were made by the same third party OEM.
So I picked up a 24″ Swanson rule from Amazon and it cost me $13. I have no idea why Amazon is now charging inflated prices for this 24″ straight edge. Checking the price history, I saw that price has been all over the place.
I’ve only had the straight edge a short time, but I’ve already used it with a rotary cutter to cut fabric, an X-Acto knife to cut foam, and with a pencil to mark straight lines. It performed all three tasks pretty much as you would expect, plus kept my fingers out of harms way.
I had a 24 inch Stanley Max Stick (#45101) that was similar in design. My only quibble with it was that when using a utility knife along its edge you had to take care not to knick the aluminum.
I didn’t use it as much as I had expected I would, but that could be because I picked up a Woodpeckers ruler around the same time. The Woodpeckers became my 24″ workhorse.
Wouldn’t the fact that it’s anodized help?
Not that soft orange stuff. Generally any colored anodizing is quite soft. HA3 or “hard” anodizing is the only one that might just dull your knife instead of being cut. HA3 is typically black or grey in color. Most “tacticool” flashlights these days are HA3 coated.
Do you not have the same experience with kicking and gouging with the Woodpeckers too as its also aluminum? Curious as thats whats kept me from getting it. As accurate (and expensive) as Woodpeckers is, I shy away from getting their stuff only because I feel like it wouldn’t keep that accuracy very long in real working environment with the soft build material.
I’ve had the utility knife gouging edges issue with many aluminum strait edges, seems a steel strip laminated onto the marking edge would greatly help this issue.
Of course this introduces possibility for inaccuracy if it starts to peel off, but I would be willing pay enough more for the feature that they could use epoxy or even a dovetailed fit
One could always switch over to an mat cutter system – the best are sort of like the track saw equivalent for a knife blade – but the cost of the good ones might forestall the switch
Our work Photo Matt Cutters have a fairly decent learning curve to consider. I think we have ones up to 72″. But they can and do cut both very straight and offer fixed bevel cuts as well.
Just bought the 48″ Swanson Savage from Amazon while participating in their BIGTHANKS day. Thanks for the idea.
Well for once it seems we are getting way better pricing in Canada. I got the 48″ for $15 CAD in September, though it is $24 right now. The 24″ is $7.86 CAD and the 36″ is $10.21 CAD.
Fastcap also makes a similar SafeCut Ruler with cut guard and ability to add lengths together thats worth checking out:
which includes the ability to use their “SafeCut Mouse” and “Izzy’s Track Guide” modules in the channels.
Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. I remember watching one of Izzy’s videos about his track guide.
I like it – might buy one. 2 things if they are making the extrusion it would sort of be nice to know they trued it via mill or the like and if they offered something notched, add-on that added a 90 degree block such that you could ensure it was square to the item.
but that’s all cost.
too someone else’s point it would be nice if there was maybe they pressed into the extrusion a strip of SS as a wear edge. again cost but if that could be done for say $5 or so – I’d still buy it.
I tested mine against a reference straight edge and I couldn’t get the smallest feeler gauge between them, although that was the 24″.
If you can’t make something that short straight, you need to get out of the tool business.
I ordered the SVE960 from Amazon. It was shipped by UPS. It arrived bent. I sent it back and received another one by FedEx and same thing, bent. I suggested that the package be put on different packing instead of boxes, but instead of trying to issue me a third one, they gave me a refund. I don’t have the SVE960. Instead, I ended buying a Harbor Freight 50 In Clamp and Cut Edge Guide on sale for about $15 (http://www.harborfreight.com/50-inch-clamp-and-cut-edge-guide-66581.html).
Probably real nice for shop use but that profile might get banged up on a work truck. Have kept a flat 4′ Empire aluminum straight edge on the truck for years without trouble. Would rather use steel but my good Crain 6′ steel straight edge wandered off somewhere.