Wise Buys: Right-angle Assembly Squares
Why buy? Machining stock precisely is only half the battle in creating projects with square corners. You also have to assemble and clamp the corners squarely. To do that you need assembly aids that hold those right angles until the glue dries or you can secure those corners with screws or nails. We recommend the models below. You also can save money by making your own braces using the free plan at woodmagazine.com/brace.
Rockler Clamp-it squares
4" brace (#27767); 8" brace (#29190); 4" clamp (#20201): 5" clamp (#61003); Deluxe kit (2 braces and 4 clamps in each size)(#69970)
Iniitially, I was skeptical that plastic squares would be durable and accurate. Not any more. These lightweight clamping aids proved tough, precise, and helpful as I put them to use in several projects. The squares have three features that make clamping easier. First, the beveled outside corner doesn't get into glue squeeze-out. Second, notches in the arms receive the proprietary clamps to hold them in place. And third, the 8" models have predrilled holes in the body, and I used them to screw the squares to a plywood base, creating a 90° fixed clamping station.
I'm not as crazy about the provided clamps, though. They're miniature bar clamps, but different in that the tailstock slides along the bar while the headstock remains fixed. These take some getting used to, and they definitely require two hands to clamp a brace to an assembly. (Rockler promotes this as a one-handed application.) I'd prefer F-style clamps with sliding headstocks. I also found that on the notches nearest the corner, the clamp bars hit each other.
--Tested by Marlen Kemmet, Managing Editor
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