Woodpeckers’ latest One Time Tools are stainless steel versions of their 641 and 1281 squares. These new model 641SS and 1281SS squares feature stainless steel blades and an aluminum handle.
But these aren’t just copies of the all-aluminum designs, they have some new features, such as laser-cut notches for scribing parallel lines, additional scales on the inside and end of the handle, and an easy-to-use recalibration feature.
The 1/16″ thick blades are laser-cut from hardened stainless spring steel and then milled for accuracy. The handles are made from aircraft-grade aluminum and anodized in typical Woodpeckers-red.
These squares have a somewhat unique design – a second stainless steel blade that’s sandwiched inside the handle. This second blade helps support the square on a workpiece edge when drawing perpendicular lines.
Along the blade there are small double-sided notches spaced 1/16″ apart for scribing parallel lines. Larger notches clearly indicate every inch mark.
Each square has four measurement and working edges, with scales in 1/32″ increments. For example the 12″ square has a 12″ outside scale and a 10-1/2″ inside scale. On the handle there’s a 6-1/2″ scale on the inside and a 2″ scale at the end.
Woodpeckers has included a way for square owners to re-calibrate the squares if they are ever find to be out of alignment.
On one side of the square is an Allen screw marked “loosen here,” that unlocks the blade. Once the blade is free, you can use the “adjust here” screw on the other side to slowly move the blade to the left or right until it is square again. Then just retighten the “loosen here” screw and the square is ready to go.
You can always send the squares back to Woodpeckers and they will realign them for free — although you’ll probably have to pay for shipping.
Woodpeckers is selling this square in six different packages:
- 6″ stainless square (641SS imperial) for $100
- 12″ stainless square (1281SS imperial) for $160
- A set with both 6″ and 12″ stainless squares for $250
- 150 mm stainless square (641SS metric) for $110
- 300 mm stainless square (1281SS metric) for $170
- A set with both 150 mm and 300 mm stainless squares for $270
Each of the squares or sets of squares come in their own MDF storage case.
Like most of Woodpeckers One Time Tools, you need to think fast on this one, the ordering deadline is April 24th, 2017. Once ordered you’ll have to wait until August 2017 for them to ship.
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I spent some quality time at Woodcraft earlier this week. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but I did notice a Woodpeckers 641 square for sale. Since my Crown Tools square is out of alignment, I’ve been thinking about buying a new precision square to setup machines for a while. I figured what the heck, and was about to buy it until I talked to the sales guy.
I jokingly said that for me it’d be a choice between a Woodpeckers square and a Starrett square. He went to a display case I missed and pulled out a Starrett 6″ double square. After talking about the pros and cons of each I decided I’d spend the extra money on the Starrett.
While I was talking to him about the square, I mentioned that my Crown Tools square was out of alignment. He asked me how I used it. When I did, he told me something I didn’t know, the outside of the square isn’t guaranteed to be perpendicular, only the inside with the brass edge. The wood can swell and shrink and throw the outside of the square out of alignment. That didn’t really matter though, my blade is still off on the inside too. Still, I never realized it was never meant to be used in some of the ways I had been using it.
The Woodpeckers 641SS 6″ stainless square is around the same range as the Starrett square I purchased. Had the Woodpeckers 641 SS been in the store that day, would I have considered it? Maybe.
Part of what attracted me to the Starrett was the durability, I liked the hardened steel blade of the Starrett vs. the aluminum blade of the standard 641, and these new One Time Tools have a steel blade. I think the scribing notches the stainless steel version have would have been really attractive too. They look a lot more useful than the tiny holes that only fit a certain size mechanical pencil lead.
Looks cool. Bought the t square and I never use it
My inbox was also barraged by Woodpeckers and their retail outlets about these. Not that they don’t look nice – but I will not be buying since I have a batch of Starrett combination and double squares hanging on an overhearack in my shop. The end of the blade is notched enough to accommodate a pencil point for running a pencil line. Perhaps not as convenient as these Woodpecker’s – since you have to set/reset the combination square for a specific measurement – while the Woodpecker notches are preset. But with a combination square you do have an almost infinite number of settings and you can sneak up on a line. For machine set ups – I more typically use a double square – like you – and sometimes on of my vintage Brown and Sharpe engineer’s squares that have fixed blades.
I kind of wish that Woodpeckers didn’t offer these through the retail network – maybe the prices would be a little better. Maybe not, since the retailers likely bring volume that could spread out or lower production costs.
But yes, I get the same barrage of emails with every One Time Tool launch.
Koko the Talking Ape
Yeah, I use my combo square the same way, except I use a marking knife, and then I don’t have to worry about the width of the pencil mark. I just slide the ruler to the right depth, reading off the markings or better, setting it directly from the work (as in marking mortise and tenon joints.)
So I don’t see those those pencil holes in the Woodpecker being very useful. I do like that secondary blade though. Normal combo squares can flip themselves off the work, which is annoying.
I love the look of Woodpecker stuff, but these short production runs apparently jack up the price, and usually the added utility doesn’t justify the cost, for me.
Exactly – these add some utility compared to a sliding blade square – but are less useful in other ways (e.g. no slide, no optional center head, no quick 45 degree, no optional protractor head ) – but might be on my shopping list if I were just starting out.
Get off my lawn!
Or the tool equivalent.
Your story about the Crown square is why there is no love lost between many woodworkers and Woodcraft. In short: That’s a crock.
The outside and the inside of the blade, assuming the blade is of equal width top to bottom (?) are always parallel. If the blade moves in relation to the wood base, it is out equally on the inside OR the outside.
Can the blade move? You betcha. Can only one EDGE of the blade move? Well, maybe if you run it over with a forklift, etc. but in normal use? No.
Whiskey and Wood
You beat me to it! That’s a load of BS the guy said to sell you on a starrett! BTW, it’s fairly easy to recalibrate a square, set it on a flat, hard(anvil) surface, and use a punch or something pointed and hard the hit the blade. If the interior angle of the square is obtuse, place the punch next to the wood handle on the outside and hit there, it expands he metal slightly on the outside, bending the inside back in place. If he interior angle is acute, place the punch right next to the interior 90 on the blade. Voila!
One, he didn’t sell me on a square, I was walking out of there with a new one. I choose the Starrett because it’s a Starrett and it’s steel.
Second you don’t know what you are talking about, you may be able use a punch on a rafter square, but you don’t adjust precision tools like this.
This is the square that was out of alignment:
Wow, that’s kind of a harsh tone. Is it unexpected that others might share a skeptical opinion on a salesman’s sales pitch?
After doing some research he’s at least partially right about try squares in particular. See the link in my other comment to see the square.
After more research I found that it’s not necessarily about wood movement, but about wear. I can find nothing from the manufacturer on the proper use of their try squares, but I found several sources that said you shouldn’t trust the outside edge of a try square and that the inner plating is supposed to prevent wear.
I think the moral of the story is twofold: Do not trust wood for a precision instrument — the Crown Tools try square was square when I bought it and now it isn’t. And learn exactly how your precision tools should be used.
I am reminded – having seen some of the work of Benjamin Seaton and his handmade all-wood try squares – that tools are a means to an end – and not a substitute for craftsmanship. In working wood – repeatability may be just as important as accuracy and being off a wee bit can be compensated for in the fit-up. That’s not to say that I want my squares to be 89 or 91 degrees.
Whiskey and wood
I think the lesson is don’t be nasty with your comments!
I know exactly what I’m talking about, metal squares have been adjusted by machinists in that exact manner since the day they were developed.
The starrett square is a nicer square than the crown by a very large margin, and is less likely to go out of square, but it can still happen, or you could drop it! It’s much better to know how and spend 5 minutes to adjust and true it than to go spend $$$.
People made perfectly square furniture and cuts with fully wooden square that move for centuries before metal squares were affordable to tradesmen. They learned to adjust them and to use the tools even with their idiosyncrasies! You can actually still use a square that isn’t square to get a square line: mark twice from opposite sides using the same side of the square and bisect the angle.
Btw, even if I was wrong, Toolguyd is dependent on the support of its readers, so it’s probably a good practice not to be an @$$ to everyone who posts a comment you don’t agree with or like, because there are plenty of them made every week.
Quote: “. . . metal squares have been adjusted by machinists in that exact manner since the day they were developed.”
Comment: I believe that you’re referring to something like a rafter square that is comprised of one single piece of metal. The key concept is: “one single piece of metal”. Deforming a single piece of metal into perpendicular alignment by applying the right amount of force is one thing. Trying to apply that technique to a precision instrument that is *not* comprised of one single piece of metal is something completely different. The physics simply doesn’t bear out the latter.
Quote: “You can actually still use a square that isn’t square to get a square line: mark twice from opposite sides using the same side of the square and bisect the angle.”
Comment: From a process improvement standpoint, I would hardly recommend that as an appropriate workflow. You’re essentially replacing one step with three steps. The more steps it takes, the greater the possibility that one is unintentionally introducing human error into the outcome. Example: what if you accidentally misalign the base of the square with the stock while you draw one of the first 2 lines? The bisected angle will then be wrong. It’s not a contrived example. It’s simply a statistical outcome of what can happen when a process is reworked to take 3 times longer than it should.
Whiskey and wood
This absolutely works on a try square, including the model the author referred to, even one with a wooden handle, the physics match up completely with it, and you are free to talk to any machinist or go to a machinist forum or tool forum and ask the guys who do it, this in not even an uncommon thing, everyone I’ve ever met who works in a shop adjusts their try squares in this manner. Please don’t make definitive statements like “the physics just don’t bear it out” when you haven’t actually done the research to verify this. This isn’t really a foreign concept, if you haven’t been adjusting your precision try squares in this manner, then you’ve somehow missed a basic shop skill, not some secret or hack.
Second, I didn’t say using a square that is out of square is a good idea as you seem to have read, I said it’s possible. But there isn’t any need to do it when you can adjust your square back in just a few minutes. I’m pointing out that going and buying a new square because you have one that isn’t accurate isn’t the only solution, nor is adjusting it, if you understand geometry you can use a square fairly well whether it is perfectly square or not. Misaligning the square is possible when using an accurate square and only making one mark as well by the way, if you don’t pay attention to how you mark something, you aren’t going to be accurate most of the time!
Since I can’t reply to your post, I’ll reply to my own.
Keeping an open mind, I can only see 2 possible solutions:
(2) Returning to the manufacturer for replacement.
Both options above seem like they would be more trouble than they’re worth. I like that you mentioned the word “research”. If all of the posturing that you wrote is true, then you should have no problems providing us with a link for instructions on truing up a try square by punching it on the metal blade side where the try square *specifically* has one piece of metal joined to one piece of wood with 3 stationary rivets . . .
Whiskey and wood
Here’s one that took 3 seconds to google, how many references would you like in a list? There are dozens of videos on you tube showing it and hundreds upon hundreds of forums talking about it. When you ask for evidence in a condescending way when it takes three seconds to google…..
I too have my doubts, but here’s how I see it. If I have a square that’s out of square, and I can’t return it or easily bring it back to square, peening the metal might be worth a try.
From what I can tell, all my Woodpeckers tools are still in perfect alignment.
Koko the Talking Ape
Well, on most squares, only the inside face of the wood is faced with brass. I can well imagine that that is the only side that would stay straight and true.
I think you are imagining that as the wood moves, the sides would stay parallel and straight. But it can also warp and twist, or arc, or bump out a little in one spot because of the way the grain runs.
You don’t use a wood square for setting up machines. You use a machinist square. If you want absolute accuracy, use a machinist square. I’m curious to know what makes woodpeckers squares so damn expensive? What is so special about them to where a square costs that much money? A combination square could do exactly what a woodpecker square does. Without the need for recalibration. Which isn’t a good selling point, because a square should stay true,if its made right.
They’re made in the USA. They’re made using quality materials. These One Time Tools are made in small batches.
I’m guessing the price is balanced towards what they can supply, and what the demand will be. Some Woodpeckers tools are problem-solvers, and unique ones at that.
The adjustment feature? Maybe some woodworkers expressed interest in having a recalibration mechanism.
I own plenty of Woodpeckers tools and am a fan of the brand, but not everything they make will make sense for me, especially most One Time Tools.
If you can’t see what’s so special about a particular tool, it’s probably not for you. I’m not saying this sarcastically, there are some tools they make that I can’t imagine how I’d use them, so they’re not for me.
Many years ago I invested in a Moore & Wright 12″ sliding square. UK equivalent to a top end Starrett – for woodworking. They cost the best part of $200 these days but they last and are very accurate.
Compared to hardened steel precision ground engineering tools like these, many of Woopecker’s tools look like pretty toys.
I don’t want a precision tool to be user recalibrateable. If it’s adjustable, it’s more likely to go out of alignment in the first place and I would need an extra investment in precision measuring gear to get it back to the standard of even a cheap class 2 engineering square.
To our colleague who adjusts his own squares with a punch, you do appreciate that when you drop your square, bend it and reset it yourself, thats totally incompatible with QA calibration practices in any precision engineering business ? 🙂
Whiskey and wood
I do understand that it isn’t useable for that purpose, for that purpose you are required to have a certificate showing any adjustments made and what grade surface plate it has been referenced to.
Peeningut is one of the methods that Starrett and other manufacturers use to correct squareness, they just use a precision press rather than a punch, mill any high spots and low spots out from any damage you did and reference it against a surface plate and give you a certificate that records how much thickness was removed, if any, and record how much they adjusted it. Nothing that cannot be done by the end user with a little bit of time. As far as I know woodworkers don’t need an ISO, AISC certification or any other type of SLC to do their work, nor do machinists for work they do at home. Large companies will pay for this to maintain their various certificates, but many also have their own surface plates and can self certify.
I never knew the name for that.
I just don’t get why people feel the need to buy layout tools that cost hundreds of dollars for working with wood. Especially when a $5 injection molded speed square is so straight and square that I couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it in some pretty exhaustive testing.
If you’re talking precision metal work I get it, but these things are obviously marketed to woodworkers with more money than sense.
It’s the latest disease on the century, to feel the need to buy expensive stuff because you are convinced by the internets because somehow it’s better. But nobody is making real comparisons to prove it, so you are throwing your money away on a mirage.
Get off your high horse. Unless you buy pretty much everything in your house at Wal-Mart, you’re “buying stuff marketed to people with more money than sense.”
Sometimes folks simply appreciate having nice things. When they’re functional as well, that’s a bonus.
Deal with it.
Yeah squirrels appreciate shiny things too.
This stuff is like the male version of buying an expensive designer purse. Sure a woman can throw her crap in $10 handbag from Walmart and it works just as fine. But they feel better with $500 one.
EMILIO E GONZALEZ
You’re right. For accurate machine set ups and other precision measurements, Starrett is the way to go. I own several Starretts and a Brown and Sharpe. They can be expensive but they are super accurate if not abused. The bevel edge squares are awesome for tight or thin spaces. Unless you use an indicator with a granite surface plate to calibrate a Woodpecker, it’s hard to tell how well this was done.
over 100 bucks for a freaking square?! This must be joke, right?
Woodpecker employees are probably laughing on their asses off if this product is selling.
Whoever throws this amount of money on a square, clearly has serious financial management issues and should see a psychiatrist before ending up on the streets
EMILIO E GONZALEZ
Re: Some people work on both Metal AND wood. I usually find good quality Starrett and B&S squares on Ebay for a song. New PEC squares are inexpensive and work well for most work. The quality tools just last longer also. What good is a bent square or tool of any kind?
I find myself buying woodpeckers more and more because they are made in America. But to be fair I have more money than sense and many of their offerings are tools I don’t have because I am new to this.
I would use the punch method as a last resort only if the outer angle is less than 90*. Otherwise, judicious drawfiling will get your angles to 90* and the tongue and blade parallel. This is what I did with a small Johnson square, and it is dead-on accurate… until I drop it.
Woodpecker One Time Tool = stuff you want but can not buy. Such an annoying concept I ignore all things Woodpecker.
You guys need to make these again. Why do you dump them after a short time?