Tool: Swanson Speed Square
In the photo below are three of my 7″ Speed Squares; A Swanson, a Johnson and an Empire. Hopefully thinking the Swanson Speed Square is the original is not just another reflection of learning carpentry in California.
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I think the Speed Square presents a ‘Chicken or The Egg’ question. Which came first; The Speed Square or the Possibilities. Either way a Speed Square is one of the top 5 essential tools in a carpenters belt so I rated it a five. I’ve used it every day since day one. The first one I owned was the Swanson Speed Square and I still hold this favorable to the sharper edges on the knock-offs.
After you repeatedly use your speed square to dust off foundations before dropping on the sillplate you can fix any indiscretions with a file. It’s amazing how many uses other than marking and layout you find for these: holding up a door whle you mark for hinges, or wedged under a door to hold it open or to keep it closed. How about when you can’t find or reach your hammer, even though you know you shouldn’t, use it to start a nail or tap a piece into place? I’ve dropped, thrown, frozen, left out in all weather, used the same one for ten years, dropped one forever into a wall system and still I probably don’t even know how to use this tool to it’s extent. I’ve built some pretty impressive things over time and it doesn’t take too much more than a square that deals with angles to get tricky things done. I think the Speed Square should probably be sold with a Bevel Gauge. Together they make Architecture happen.
The Swanson Tool SO101 7-inch Speed Square at Amazon.com