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Squares and Bevels

Squares and bevels were tools used by artisans to lay out and check the accuracy of angles. Bevels were used to lay out angles other than 90 degrees. Wooden squares, gauges, and bevels typically were made by artisans for their own use. Common forms of squares and bevels included:

In addition, woodworkers made special-purpose squares and bevels, designed to work in awkward locations or to speed up often-repeated lay-out operations.

carpenter's square

Carpenter's squares made of iron were durable tools used to mark and test right angles. Their one- and two-foot arms typically were marked off in inches for measuring.

square with plumb bob

Try squares, made of wood or wood and metal, were used to draw lines at right angles to the edge of a workpiece. They also were used to "try" surfaces--to make sure that they were square.

miter square

Bevels were used to lay out angles other than 90 degrees. Some were fixed at commonly used angles like the 45 degree Miter Square.

angle bevel

Others, like the Angle Bevel, were adjustable and could be set to any desired angle. They were useful for transferring an already established angle to a workpiece that had to be cut to the same shape.