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Swanson Speed Square Review

Swanson Speed Square

The Swanson speed square is an old favorite. It was invented in 1930 by Albert J. Johnson and has had a few additional features added over the years. The one I'm showing is from around 1988. They had just added that little diamond that you see which is at the 3 1/2 inch mark. The "diamond" is apparently their trademark.

The speed square combines a number of tools in one. It is a rafter square, miter square, try square, scribing guide, protractor and most notably a good saw guide. In profile it is shaped like a T, so if you want to make a quick square cut across some lumber with a circular saw you just slap this thing down, hold it with your left hand with the top of the T along the edge of the lumber and run your saw along the square edge of it. Being substantially thicker than a carpenters square, the saw won't easily ride up on the square.

I like this 6 inch version as it easily slips into a tool bag. They are pretty indestructable too. I think that all the models come with the "Little Blue Book" which explains the use of the rafter tables which are stamped into the tool. After about 20 years I'm not sure where that book is anymore, but it is pretty simple to figure out without it. This is the kind of tool you go out and buy again if you ever find you have lost it.
Update: Added an article on how to use swanson speed square here

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  • Using the Swanson Speed Square for Plumb and Seat Cuts
  • How to Use a Framing Square to Draw an Ellipse
  • How to Check and Adjust a Framing Square
  • Using the Rafter Table on a Framing Square
  • How to use the Swanson Speed Square as a Framing Square
  • Compasses, dividers and Scribes
  • Setting Things Straight - Stabila 187 Level Review
  • Squaring Walls and Foundations using diagonals and the 3 4 5 Right Triangle
  • Marking - Knife vs. Pen vs. Pencil vs. Brush vs. Crayon!

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    » How to use the Swanson Speed Square as a Framing Square from Stuff
    Since I published the first review of the Swanson Speed Square, many people have been wondering how to use it. There are actually a large number of things you can do with it, but the most common is probably to... [Read More]

    Comments (5)

    Roy Fisher:

    I was wondering if you have a book available that has all the techniques of using a speed square?

    robert mcgonigal:

    Can you mail me the book you provide with all squares? I did not get one with my most recent purchase.



    Robin wester:

    You guys needed to to get Lowes and everyone else,for that matter, to put out more small ajustables. I have trouble finding them, and when I get one, it gets stole when I lay it down! Chaps your #%&* when your trying to cut roof! HA HA.

    jay kincaid:

    the speed square works great. But, I'm a welder, and there is one improvement which could be made. The flange needs to be wider. It would work better on more rounded material.


    I,m sorry but the inventor is Albert J.Swanson and invented in 1935.

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