Once again bigger is better
Text & photos by Tom Hintz
Posted – 9-1-2012
Just when you thought combination squares had run their course in terms of design and features along comes the LaSquare by Lagesse Products. The LaSquare looks very familiar yet very different all at once. And yes, this is one of those things that make you wonder why nobody thought of it before.
The LaSquare actually is a very precise combination square with a stainless steel blade. The graduations are precision etched and black filled for easy reading. That is a good thing because of how accurate you can be with this square. The blade on the standard model reviewed here has 1/8”, 1/16”, 1/32” and 1/64” scales.
The head of the LaSquare is cast from aluminum with obviously tight tolerances. The head does include the traditional thumb wheel blade lock as well as the 90 and 45-degree surfaces. Locking the thumbscrew really does hold the blade rock steady where many wiggle considerably on the spring-loaded pin. On the LaSquare those surfaces have been precisely ground to insure accuracy. The head also has a spirit level on the 90-degree leg.
The biggest difference in the 5” by 4” LaSquare head is its 2” width. That width is consistent across both the 90 and 45-degree faces and gives the LaSquare exceptional stability on a range of project material types from flat to square and round. And this enhanced stability should not be overlooked. The combination square is a common tool for wood and metalworking layout and both benefit from the stable platform during those operations.
In the Shop
Evaluating the LaSquare didn’t take long because this really is a remarkably simple concept that is executed very well. The quality of the manufacture as well as the materials used are important and earn high marks. However, using the LaSquare really shows how the additional width makes common tasks easier and more accurate.
I expected the LaSquare to be very good on flat and square stock but was a bit surprised when using the 45-degree face. The weight of the blade always made my traditional combination squares unstable in this configuration but the LaSquare is nearly hand-free on the 45-degree face. It is also much harder to influence the blade with the pressure of a layout pencil because of the increased footprint and stability of the head.
On round stock the LaSquare is even more surprising. The wider overhang to either side of the blade makes it far easier to make true square and 45-degree marks on larger diameter stock. I can’t see any reason the same stability would not occur with multi-side stock such as hex or octagon material.
The LaSquare is a very nicely made tool that brings a substantial stability to layout and marking. The materials and craftsmanship are first rate throughout both of which promise a very long useful life.
The 12” LaSquare used in this review sells for $35.95 (9-1-2012), the 12” model with a precision machinist blade costs $59.95, the 18” precision machinist blade version sells for $76.95 and the 24” model, also with a precision machinist blade costs $92.95. None can be considered overly cheap but all are very good values because of what you get, the quality and the longevity reasonable care will insure.
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