Woodpeckers or Bust?

Herdfan2005

Jason
Senior User
I need a square that I can trust and test everything else against it. I'm ok with Woodpeckers (1281) prices for such tool but wanted to hear any good alternatives at lower cost points. I don't need extreme tolerances, just enough for general woodworking.

Thoughts?
 

Skymaster

Jack
Senior User
Empire tools BLUE VIAL VERY IMPORTANT supposedly within .001 the length of the blade, various lengths. homeless or lows.
 

Rushton

Rush
Senior User
More versatile would be a Starrett combination square in the same cost range or less. Highly accurate, highly reliable, very long lasting. The models with satin chrome finish blades are easy to read, and the hardened steel stands up to knife scribing (unlike aluminum blades). The C11H-12-16R with cast iron head is a lifetime tool and the same or less cost than the Woodpecker.
Starrett 12" Combination Squares
 
Last edited:

Eric G

New User
Eric
Another vote for Starrett. If you need one price point down, look at PEC. They also sell their "2nds/blemished" tools for a discount. I avoid woodpecker...maybe it's because so many Youtubers shove them in your face, but it puts a bad taste in my mouth. I only buy Starrett.
 

Rushton

Rush
Senior User
Agree with PEC seconds as a less costly alternative for a decent tool. For a little bit more, I stretching to Starrett is my preference too.
 

decibel

Patrick
Corporate Member
I have a woodpecker one that is pampered but to use as a reference before I got a good combo square. If I had to choose I would go with a good combo square like the starrett or pec. I only used the woodpecker when I setup tools etc but I use the combo square for that now too so I rarely use the woodpecker stuff
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Another vote for Starrett, even used they are better than most others. I also look for Brown&Sharp, Mitutoyo, and a couple others.

762AB386-7D71-4993-B9CF-5C08C07B8712_1_201_a.jpeg
 

ShortRound84

ShortRound
User
I started with a 1281 but you might consider the steel bladed versions. I have the 6" that is my go to square for checking jointed edges, case corners etc. The thinner blade is much nicer than the thick aluminum when looking for light against a tool fence. Its also a lot nicer when using marking knives. I try to be selective as I think Woodpeckers has some great stuff but also a bunch of products I'm not willing to pay a premium for. Like, I don't need CNC accuracy for a stair tread gauge. That's a shop made jig all day. But 90 deg is pretty important for what I like to do.
 

Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
I use WT Tool for an everyday combo square. My shop standard is one of 2. I have a very old brass 30/60. It's solid and 1/8 in. thick. My other is a small Japanese 45/90 that Woodcraft sells. Very accurate.

Pop
 

zdorsch

Zach
Senior User
I think that I first saw this site here, but they have blemished tools for decent prices (including PEC):

 

Cuthriell

Cuthriell
User
Good plastic triangles are cheap and accurate. Try a search for checking combination square accuracy. They are easy to adjust if you drop one and it gets off a bit.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
My reference is an iGaging machinist square. 4 inch for about $15. Square is square. My cheap carpenters triangles are square. My drafting triangle is square. My Japanese combo square is square. ( and 45) Combination squares, if high quality and iron/steel heads can be square, but they wear over time. None of my zinc head combo squares was still square. Rather than screw with them, tossed them and bought new better quality Chinese ones. Mostly iG, but not all. Nothing against Starrett or other premium machinist tools, but not at all necessary. You can buy one Starrett, or a whole suite of other quality tools for the same price. Your money.

I kind of like the Japanese square as it is thinner. Mine has mm markings even though Amazon showed inches, but it is too handy to send back. About $20. Woodcraft has the inch ones on the shelf for $30.

I recently bought bundles of rulers with all combinations of markings off Amazon. All well made, SS, etched, accurate. Again, nothing against Woodpeckers, Incra, Starrett, but if a $5 ruler is the same quality as the $90 ruler, well you decide.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
User
Curious Mike, what was your issue? I have several and they are all just fine. Now all the cheap Chinese digital calipers and the like are well, pretty cheap junk. I usually buy my cheap junk from Amazon so if it is that bad, I send it back rather than throw it out. There is an art to being cheap :) I would like to get a decent 6 inch digital caliper. I have three. All crap. I don;t see where the $30 are any better than the $15 ones. For that matter, the $60 or $160 ones. All the same technology. Can't tell what you are actually buying.
 
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mkepke

Mark
Senior User
My daily driver combo square (a Starrett) must be pushing 100 years old.
Don’t forget the used tool market.
-Mark
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
The casting and screw were so rough it would not tighten and if you ever got it tight you had to use pliers to loosen it. I took it apart and filed the casting but the screw was rough too. Never got it to work right.

I looked at one of their digital calipers in a store one time. The battery cover would not stay in place. pick it up and the cover pops off, put it back and it pops right back off. Every time the cover popped off the batteries would fall out. piece of junk.

We have a Starrett digital 6 inch caliper at work. I think it cost $215. Thing of beauty! Works perfect every time. We have a calibration company come in 4 times a year to check all the certified tooling. They never have to adjust the Starrett.
 

Rushton

Rush
Senior User
For digital calipers, I've had a pair of iGaging 0-6" Absolute Origin calipers for going on 5 years now that have worked well and seem to have maintained calibration. Same for their bevel angle gauge. I know Mike has not had good success with the brand, but these work well here - smooth movement, solid locking. Not a Starrett or a Mitutoyo, but meet my woodworking needs.
 

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