Clay, Application to Refinement


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Combination Square


This precision tool is one of the most widely used, especially when it come to marking out your baseboard, modeling table or templates. As in most engineering processes it is always best to start out with your primary lines in the correct place. If you are going to mark-out your modeling table for a scale model build you need to have your centerline and the grids running at a right angle to ensure correct measurements and duplication.

There are numerous brands of combination square available such as Starrett, Brown and Sharpe, Moore and Wright and Mitutoyo to name just a few. Each of these manufacturers have world class products and are made to an exact standard that will last a lifetime.

The complete set for the combination square consists of the square head, the protractor, the center finder and the blade itself. You can get by with just the blade and the square head but I have found over the years that you will use all the components.

The protractor is ideal for marking out angles that are more or less than ninety degrees, the center finder is as it suggests ideal for finding the center. The square is the main component and this is used for squaring lines, checking vertical alignment and even putting in vertical faces on scale clay models by dragging against a ground template. Each square head comes with a removable scribing tip which is kept in the base of the square head.

Moore and Wright Combination Set consists of a square head, protractor,center finder and blade.

Starrett squarehead and blade.

As you can see from the photographs above, the set on the left is the English manufacturer, Moore and Wright and on the right is the American equivalent by Starrett. Both are virtually identical in the basic looks and price wise, the Moore and Wright set will cost approximately 200.00 pounds sterling and the  Starrett approximately $150.00 to $200.00.

Protractor head by Starrett.

Center finder by Starrett.

When choosing your combination set there may be a choice of hardened components or cast iron components. You will find that the hardened components will be more expensive compared to the cast iron components because of the durability. I have always had the hardened type therefore I would recommend that as the first choice. 

As you can see from the images, my Moore and Wright set is an older style without the satin finish compared to the Starrett set. What's nice about the satin chrome finish is that, it is always easy to read the graduations on the steel rule and the protractor head. Where as, my Moore and Wright set has blackened and a little rust has set into the blade and protractor head making it a little more difficult to read the graduations, even after steel wool and an oiling it is still difficult to read.

Whatever manufacturer you choose I'm sure that the combination square will provide a lifetime of service.

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