# Are there any alternatives to folding squares?

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Folding squares are used for a number of different applications from carpentry, to stone masonry and building.

The professional measuring tools below are similar to folding squares as they check the accuracy of specific angles, allow the marking of angles, enable workpieces to be measured or marked for cutting and many more applications.

## Combination square sets

A combination square set is a tool used typically for measuring angles and lengths. It consists of a ruler that is able to fix one or more interchangeable heads to its body.

These interchangeable heads are commonly a ‘square head’, centre head’ and a ‘protractor head’.

The ruler on a combination square set is used to measure and mark a workpiece. It can also be used to measure depths.

The square head of a combination square set is used to determine whether an angle is at 90° or 45°. It can sometimes contain a spirit level to determine the flatness of a workpiece.

The centre head has two arms that form a 90° angle. Their main purpose is to find the centre of a round object.

The centre head can also be used to establish whether the corner of an object is square or, when attached to the rule, it can be used to draw a 45° angle.

The protractor head of a combination square set is used to measure specific angles.

The advantage of a combination square set is that it does everything the folding square can and more. The heads can be removed for storage and the price for a combination square set is similar to that of some folding squares.

A problem with the combination square set is the interchangeable heads can be left on the tool and as they protrude from the tool they could become easily damaged.

The folding square has everything you need already attached to the tool so you do not have to attach heads like the combination square set. As it conveniently folds there is less chance of damage to the folding square. The folding square is also larger than a combination square giving the choice to work on large scale projects.

Overall the combination square set would be a better option for your money as it is suitable for more applications. Even though the folding square is quick to set-up.

## Try squares

A try square is a tool used in wood or metal work for measuring and marking. A try square is an ‘L’ shaped tool consisting of a metal blade that is joined to a wooden handle.

Try squares are designed primarily for measuring right angles (90°) to make sure they are accurate.

They can be used to mark right angles (90°) and may also be used to mark an object so it can be cut.

Try squares are handy tools when wanting to quickly mark or check a workpiece. They are small so they can be easily stored and carried. However, the folding square can be used for more applications, with a larger frame, 45 degree angles and some available with rulers to allow the measuring of a workpiece.

They can also be folded for convenient storage and easy transport.

## Engineer’s squares

This is the exact same design as a try square but it is used by engineers in metalwork. The engineer’s square consists of metal blade pinned or welded to a thicker metal handle.

The purpose of an engineer’s square is to check if an object is square (90°) and to mark an object.

The engineer’s square can only be used in metalwork and is not as versatile as a folding square. However, a folding square can be used in carpentry, building, stone masonry and more. It does not just check 90 degree angles but also 45 degree angles, unlike the engineer’s square.

## Adjustable try squares

The adjustable try square again has a similar design to the try and engineer’s square, with the ability to adjust angles and fold. On the longer blade of the adjustable try square there is a ruler, usually with increments on both sides.

The adjustable try square can be set at 45°, 90° and 135°.

These angles can be marked onto an object.

The adjustable try square enables you to measure, mark and check the accuracy of right angles.

The adjustable try square and folding square are very similar in that they both fold for storage and transport, both come with rulers for measuring workpieces and allow the marking and checking of angles.

The adjustable try square offers three different angles, while the folding square only offers two.

The ruler of a folding square has a larger measuring range, so this would be suitable for larger projects and the try square suitable for smaller projects.

## Framing squares

A framing square is an L-shaped tool that contains two blades of different lengths. It is used to check the squareness of wider objects, commonly wood.

The framing square is ideal for laying out rafters (roofing beams) and stair stringers (structure either side of the stairs).

It can also be used to measure, mark and check if an object is square (90°).

A framing square can check and mark 90 degree angles just like a folding square, however, its main purpose is for helping to produce roofing beams and stair structures.

One advantage of the framing square is that it contains two rulers with different measuring ranges, whereas the folding square only contains one ruler.

Whilst the folding square is not suitable for the task of producing roofing beams or stair structures, it can be used for a number of other jobs.

## Adjustable quick squares

An adjustable quick square is triangular shaped, multi-purpose tool that is used for a number of different applications.

The quick square can be used as a protractor as the arm can be adjusted to measure specific angles.

It is suitable for marking a workpiece if it needs to be cut and checking that corners are perfectly square.

The quick square can also guide a saw when a workpiece needs to be cut.

The adjustable quick square and folding square both measure 45 and 90 degree angles, mark workpieces and can be used as a saw guide.

The adjustable quick square would be suitable if you are measuring specific angles or often working on smaller projects as it is a lot smaller than a folding square.