- Free Plans and Projects
- Furniture Projects
- Jigs And Fixtures Projects
- Shop Projects
- SketchUp Models
- Shop Storage
- Free Woodworking Downloads From Lee Valley
- Premium Streaming Video Site
- Experts Guide to Gluing & Clamping Wood
- Mastering Built-In Furniture
- Simple Live-Edge Slab Table
- CNC – Designed for Woodworkers
- Milling Your Own Lumber
- Advanced Bandsaw Techniques
- I Can Do That! – Simple Woodworking Projects
- Woodwright’s Shop with Roy Underhill
- Tricks of the Trade
My AccountWe independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products-learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
- Popular Woodworking Magazine
- Digital Editions
- Give A Gift
- Woodworking Magazine Reprints
- Premium Streaming Video
Get Right Angles Right With the Best Framing Squares
Whether you’re a professional woodworker or just a humble hobbyist, laying out precise and accurate wooden dimensions for a project is undeniably essential – that’s where framing squares come to the rescue! These are the basic tools for layout and sizing, used by woodworkers and DIY-ers constantly. These L-shaped rulers are the ultimate solutions for crafters, drawing and cutting perpendicular lines, squares, and more at 90 and 45-degree angles with finesse. And, framing squares come in handy during intricate processes like rafting, roofing, stair cuts, and more. There will never be a day at work for builders and woodworkers where they don’t need framing square rulers. Right now is a great time for upgrading your toolbox with the top framing squares in 2023.Show contentsThe Highest-Rated Framing Square You Can Buy in 2023
Finding Your Next Framing Square: A Buyer’s Guide
- Mr. Pen-Carpenter L Square Ruler - Best Overall
- VINCA Carpenter L Square - Multipurpose Design
- Milescraft 8409 MC-Square 150 - Durable Construction
- IRWIN Tools Carpenter Square - Great Value
- Johnson Level and Tool Professional CS - Most Versatile
Finding Your Next Framing Square: A Buyer’s Guide
A framing square can make your life easier than you can imagine. Be it with a carpentry project, a stair stringer, or roofing, precision remains questionable without a professional framing square. If framing square isn’t a familiar term, a carpenter’s square or an L-square should ring a bell. Scroll down to look at some must-have features in quality and professional-grade framing squares.
What Is a Framing Square?
A typical framing square comes with a thicker and longer blade and a comparatively short and thin tongue. These are the ideal square rulers for sizing up squares and working on rafters and stair stringers.
Are There Square Rulers Other Than Framing Squares?
There is an excellent variety of square rulers on the market. Although all square rulers are L-shaped, they are not all framing squares. Below are the most standard square rulers and their fundamental purposes.
Drywall squares come with a 4-foot-long blade that works excellently as a fence. These squares are used for sizing up and cutting board materials like plywood, drywall, sandal, and more.
Try squares are also L-shaped and used widely by carpenters for perfecting cabinet squares, corners, and edges. Since these rulers have limited use, woodworkers prefer settling for more versatile options like combination squares.
Speed squares are multipurpose tools used ubiquitously in carpentry. These rulers set at 90 degrees are brilliant help with mitering, rafting, and cross-cutting. An added benefit is they can be used as fences when cutting out board material at various angles.
Combination squares are tools required during planning a project. They often turn out to be the only scales you need for measuring up long planks, marking up angels, and making drafts for mitering and rabbiting.
Framing Square Uses
Framing squares are multipurpose tools you won’t often find sitting idle in a corner.
Cutting and layout
These products can work as layouts when you’re busy cutting squares, and also as fences when sizing up planks. The square’s body and tongue are set at a perfect 90 degrees, making sizing up rabbeted wood pieces, square cuts, and rafting less time-consuming.
Beyond just cutting and roofing, L-shaped rulers, coupled with a removable fence, can be used as a reference scale for shaping sharp corners and helping determine degrees of flatness.
Essential Factors for Selecting Framing Squares
Although framing squares are versatile and handy tools, you shouldn’t invest in the first one you see. The must-have features of an excellent L-square are extensive and should be reviewed before making a purchase.
The material determines the life of a tool
The ideal material in the vast array of available L-squares is, without a doubt, metal. It’s not a great idea to invest in wooden L-square rulers, using these while working near miter saws and cutters can put scales at risk of cuts and losing shape. Even with metal, there are various options to debate. However, the highest recommendations are given to steel and aluminum for durability and shape retention.
Graduations reflect on your measurements
Graduations are the spaces between each reading of a square’s scale. Graduations vary from scale to scale, and each graduation determines the precision of your work. The most common graduation preferred by carpenters is ⅛ inches. However, there are options offering greater precision as well — for instance, 1/10 inch, 1/12 inch, and more.
Tables and conversions ease up calculations
Calculations causing delay and aggravation in the middle of a project are absolutely infuriating. When dealing with complex calculations, conversions, and tables over a scale surface, keep work rolling by shortening solution times. The Essex board and rafter tables are critical engravings with any framing square.
Body and tongue’s scale outlook
The length of an L-square’s body and tongue has everything to do with the nature of your particular work. However, for a beginner, it’s essential to understand the impact of arm physiques on a square ruler’s performance. Thinner scale blades, although possessing great accuracy, are easily displaced under pressure. On the other hand, thicker blades stay in place while also maintaining respectable accuracy.
The Right Way To Read Framing Square Scales
An L-square is a multifaceted tool. Understanding its two basic facets, the face and the back is the first step toward learning a square ruler’s application.
Keep the face of the framing square upfront when placing the tongue, directed at the right side. On the face of the L-square, the tongue will have eight square scales inscribed, and the blade will have engraved rafter tables. Now, flipping it over, you’ll find brace readings lined up on the tongue, and Essex board readings engraved on the blade.
To remove any confusion regarding a framing square’s structure, learn to identify the blade, the tongue, and the heel. The heel of an L-square is the point where the two arms meet, forming a vertex. Furthermore, the smaller and thinner arm is called the tongue, while the longer and thicker arm is called the blade.
The Highest-Rated Framing Square You Can Buy in 20231– Best Overall
Mr. Pen’s L framing square is the go-to option for budget seekers. This product offers such immense value, in fact, that it’s snagged our coveted “best overall”, owing to its extreme utility at a low price point. And, this carbon-steel ruler frame has anti-rust and anti-corrosion properties. Also, the black-colored body offers good contrast with the white scale markings. Not only does it make taking readings a breeze, but it also makes minor subdivisions equally prominent.
Because this L-shaped ruler comes with metric and inch graduations on both arms, a massive conversion hassle is eliminated in seconds. Whether you need a frame ruler for carpentry, ratcheting, or roofing, Mr. Pen’s durable and precise framing square will have your back.2– Multipurpose Design
The VINCA square frame is another excellent tool for roofing and carpentry offering an anti-rust body. Since this L square ruler is resistant to damage caused by water, it is safe to be used in any condition. With a weight of up to 1.7 pounds, this product is reasonably firm, lightweight, and sturdy. Also, the strategically placed hole makes it hook-friendly.
Like with other square scales, the markings on this option are deep and permanent. VINICA offers a versatile L-shaped ruler that is accurate, reading both exteriors and interiors conveniently.3– Durable Construction
Milescraft framing squares are a great investment for those seeking longer-lasting, sturdy, and accurate carpentry tools. This durable aluminum-made square has an added angle measuring scale frequently used by carpenters. Apart from the protector extension, quick angle finders on the L frame save time and effort.
The contrasted inside and outside scales, alongside the prominently demarcated divisions, increases the readability of this square ruler immensely. And, to every woodworker’s delight, these affordable frame squares come with a removable fence, helping guide various measurements made on flat surfaces.4– Great Value
The ideal square frames for carpentry chores are IRWIN’s, offering a simple, light-weighted body and rust, mist, and heat-resistant properties. And, add-ons for this tool come at a reasonable price, with no compromises made on the quality and functionality of the square ruler. Moving on, the engraved markings nullify any worries of readings fading away.
This steel-made, thin scale offers a build allowing for a good grip and easy reading through the inside and outside scales. Plus, a hole for hanging and a design perfect for maneuvering in cramped places make this square scale a great purchase for braces, octagon scales, and any flat surfaces you come across.5– Most Versatile
Johnson’s professional carpentry tool is the best framing square for wood-based projects. The high-quality steel incorporated in the L-square ruler, coupled with anti-rust powder, adds to the tool’s lifespan and workability in different environments. This scale comes in handy, marking the inside and the outside of the square in ideal ⅛ inch graduations.
Also, the scale’s dimensions and thickness are set ideally, so this scale won’t easily slip from your hands – it can even be hung on your tool belt when commuting. The versatility of this framing square lies in its multipurpose application in woodworking, general rafting, and flat surface measurements.
Framing Squares FAQQ: Are there features in framing squares for ensuring a user's comfort?
A: Yes! The best framing squares for woodworking are ergonomically designed. For instance, there are rubber-made handles, for improving grip, and holes for latching squares to a tool belt.Q: What are tapered framing squares like?
A: Tapered framing squares are vintage squares. In the past, framing squares used to be thicker throughout, with mills on edges and even with detachable fences. With this design, square rulers wouldn't slip away quickly, and they remain multipurpose and accurate today.Q: Are framing squares trustworthy for squaring?
A: Yes! Framing squares have arms set at 90 degrees, ensuring perfect squaring. However, when working on larger boards or walls, a square ruler can only ensure a subject's square dimensions as much as its arms allow. Beyond the length of its arms, it will be ineffective.Q: Should I use a framing square to build a cabinet?
A: It is almost impossible to build up a cabinet without using a framing square. Cabinets require precise squaring and accurate measurement of routed planks. It’s wise and necessary to shape your cabinet corners effortlessly with these squares.Related Content