The measurements on a try square start at the far end of the blade. Why? Wouldn't it be better to have two measurements starting at the 90 degree angles like a framing square? Or was a try square never intended for measuring, just trying? The lip on the stock is so handy though.

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    I'm guessing that it's because the rule was intended to be used separately to the try-square function, so these were combo tools but for the functions not to used in combination if that makes sense. I don't know how far back these go though, if they do date to before the days of brass facings on the stock the convention could have been retained from a period where the stock could accrue wear (over a long service life) and therefore it wasn't a good idea for the zero point to be the inside edge of the stock because at some point it would render part of the function of the tool useless.
    – Graphus
    Sep 12, 2017 at 16:42
  • Thanks for the reply, I guess it's just an extra measuring guide independant of the try function.
    – Dave
    Sep 13, 2017 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


Rule markings on a try square are not a standard thing. Most of the try squares I've seen don't have any rule markings at all. For example, this try square has none:

Picture of a try square Image credit: Luigi Zanasi, via Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 ca.

Combination squares do have rule markings. And like try squares, they also have a lip on them. The rule of a combination square (the metal bar part with measurement markings on it) can be flipped around, so the rule markings can start at either end of the square. Here's an example of a combination square:

enter image description here Image credit: Satrughna02, via Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.


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