New Acquisition – Takedown Square

I am not particularly a “tool collector” but I am not adverse to acquiring items that will make me better at what I do, or to expand my capacity in the shop.

In the recent run-up to the French Oak Roubo Project I spent a fair bit of time tuning up and outfitting my carpenter/timber-framer’s tool tote that has served me well for over a quarter century for working on my home and barn.

Obviously, one tool integral to carpentry of almost any kind is a framing square, but a typical one is as ungainly in the tool box as it is useful on the job.  In recent years I learned of a type of square known as a “take-down,” which allows the two blades of the square to be separated into two slender pieces.  While this form is not especially rare, I was having trouble finding one I could afford so a couple months ago I asked Patrick Leach to be on the lookout for a nice “user” example to toss into my tote.

takedown square and scabbard

Last month Patrick wrote to say he had found one and shipped it down to me.  It arrived the day I left home for our family reunion preceding FORP, so the timing was perfect.  Patrick indicated the problems with the square – one side of one blade had a bit of surface rust – but indicated it would be the excellent “user tool” I had requested.  Given the price he quoted I did not hesitate to purchase it.  In fact it was much more than a “user quality” tool, it was a never used, still-in-the-original-scabbard square!

takedown square apart

Sure there was that bit of rust, but it cleaned easily with a light buffing.  I knew it had never been used because the dovetailed tongue that connects the two together had never been fitted to its mate, so the square could not even be assembled for use.  A couple minutes of light surfacing with a fine diamond stone was all it took for the square to fit perfectly.

verso of sliding dovetail

Into the tool tote it went, and it was used heavily in Barnesville by several of us there laying out the timber frame-style joints of the Roubo bench.  The only thing I will do from this point is to possibly re-blue the formerly rusted areas, and to sew a new canvas sleeve to replace the original surrey-cloth scabbard, which will go into the preservation storage it deserves.

takedown in use