Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Stanley 501A Try Square, a vintage tool review + Before and After

These ugly try squares were a bargain price I couldn't refuse, less than $2 each. I didn't buy them as show pieces but to scatter around the shop so I would have a square handy where needed.
Before
 The order is reversed in the bottom pic. Middle is still middle but top and bottom squares are reversed. (Reminds me of this Johnny Cash song)
After

The Bad:

  • Numbers have no contrast and are tough to read.
  • Handles are plastic and balance is poor, they are blade heavy.
  • Blades are stamped steel.

The Good:

  • They are dead nuts square, at least to my ability to measure. I compared them against a machinist square and did the 'ol draw a line and flip test - square. 
  • They are fairly durable as you will read below. These took some abuse and stayed square.
  • Made in U.S.A.


A previous owner had spilled some kind of glue all over the blades and left it. Rust formed under the glue but luckily was only on the surface. A quick scraping, a vigorous brushing for good measure and they were clean and rust free although stained. They had been dropped numerous times and all the metal corners were bent but a file put it right in a jiffy. The previous owner also painted the handles green, probably to identify them at a glance. Through all that abuse the squares stayed true so I have to give my nod of approval.