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Tools & Hardware

What In The World Is a Rafter Square?

We see them in the hardware stores and on job sites, but what exactly is a rafter or speed square?

Rafter squares were originally created for measuring and cutting rafters for roof construction, but there are many other uses. 

The notches are for using a carpenters pencil, allowing you to mark straight lines with ease. The square hole in the center is for holding pipes, this lets you use the rafter square to support a pipe for cutting. The pivot at the top corner allows you to pivot the tool to any of the marked angles and draw your line. The top edge has an L shape which allows it to be a tool guide as well as a straight edge.

The markings along the top are 1,2,3 or 4 inches from the edge, allowing you to mark your line and then slide the square over and draw it using the square, no straight edge needed. The small diamonds along the notched slot indicate stud height 1 1/2 inches, width 3 1/2 inches and 5 1/2 inches the width of a 2 x 6 for framing layout. The dashed line on the face allows for checking for a square joint when you cannot get the tool into the corner such as working with pipe.

Rafter Squares make marking and cutting any wood much easier. With a rafter square you can mark lines for straight cuts and cuts at multiple angles, mark wood longitudinally (length wise), mark the location of studs along the top or bottom plate of a wall, it even works as a saw guide. It is a tool every DIYer should have.


Mike, The Home Depot Answer Man

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Posted 2020-06-26T00:18:15+0000  by Mike_HD_OC Mike_HD_OC