Surprise Swap Squares

Originally written Mar 22, 2021

straightedge in the box, squares on the insert, out of the box

squares in the open box

closed box

handwritten notes that were included in the box

For the surprise swap in 2021, I made a set of squares for BigShooter. A try square, a miter square, a straightedge, and a box to hold them.

The try square was first. Brass bar (inch wide stock, draw filed to clean it up) and African mahogany (aka khaya). Glued together with fish glue and screwed together with brass screws, and with brass trim which is glued on and held with a couple brass brads. Same setup for the miter square. Both required a little fine-tuning with a plane after the holes were drilled and I checked to see how close I had gotten. The straightedge was a simple piece of mahogany with a brass strip glued along one edge, and with inch marks in the wood. They're all finished with tung oil and paste wax.

The brass trim was all ⅜×3/16” square tubing, with one of the wider sides filed away using a bastard file to make a U-shaped piece. The screws are put about halfway in, then sawed off and filed flush. I also used a 7 or 9 sweep gouge to carve flutes in the sides of the mahogany so it felt nice in the hand.

I built a box to hold the tools using some butternut and Baltic birch ply, with a poplar-edged insert. The box was built to fit into a medium USPS flat rate box. I used some ipe trim inside the top lid to dress it up a little and cover up the gap where the box went a little out of square when I glued it up. Oops! The box also got some walnut feet (which made it slightly too big for the box until I planed them smaller) and brass hardware, and was finished with tung oil and shellac.

I included some piñon coffee and chocolate with New Mexico chile as an added treat. Here are some additional photos from the build.

drilling holes in the miter square

verifying the angle of the miter square

planing the edge of the miter square to get the angle exactly 45°

#woodworking #project #swap

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