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Thread: Japanese Squares HowTo

  1. #1
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    Default Japanese Squares HowTo

    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    i cringed at the drawing of the arc

    other than that it was nostalgia for how my dad taught me geometry with a rule and triangles and dividers at first but later a framing square

    lovely video
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    i cringed at the drawing of the arc
    HA! No way I could even think about doing that with Grampa's old framing square... full 1/8" thick 19th century steel, it took me a few minutes back 50+ years ago to get it 'square' again after my brother dropped it down the basement stairs.

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    i cringed at the drawing of the arc
    Me too - I've seen nasty damage to Starrett rulers then, I saw another video on the making of those japanese squares - and they appear to be made of carefully hardened and tempered spring steel.

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    How do you re-square a square? I’ve got a couple that are off.

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    "George Washington as a boy
    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

    -- Mark Twain

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Quote Originally Posted by bluedog225 View Post
    How do you re-square a square? I’ve got a couple that are off.
    Carefully...

    Bent legs take some time. Fortunately I've never been confronted with that serious a defect. Dings along the edges are easier, they get filed off.

    As for re-squaring, that metal stretches is your friend here.

    With center punch & decent hammer you peen the corner to effect movement between the legs until those edges are 90° to one another once again.

    First step is to find / make a straight-edged board you can use as your template. With the square and a sharp pencil (knife-point's better, the line it scribes is finer) scribe a line perpendicular to the straight edge using both sides of the inside or outside angle of your square.

    Try hard to start both lines at the same point along the board's straight edge. The wider the board the better 'cause you're looking to determine how far apart those two lines are at the other side of the board.

    If you used the inside edges for both lines, and those lines grow apart as they cross your plank, your legs are less than 90°. Using your center punch & hammer make a series of small strikes along a line between the inside and outside corners of your square.

    The idea is to stretch the metal there, forcing the legs to move in relation to one another. You want to try to do the same to both sides of the square too so you don't force those legs out of plane anymore than they already might be.

    Squared_up!.jpg

    If those first two scribed lines converge, you need to do the strikes to the outside of the corner so the legs get pushed inward.

    Go slow, re-test your progress often to stay on the right side of the intended movement so you don't have to back-track making more strikes than necessary to bring things back to where they'd been. You get to a point you can't see those two lines as two lines, you're done.

    I have no idea how old gramp's square was when he passed it on to me but with care and attention it'll still be fully capable of doing the job it was made for a lot longer than I'll be able to claim...

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Quote Originally Posted by UCanoe_2 View Post
    Beat me to it....

    That square wasn't when it left the factory last week.

    Mine probably wasn't either when it did 100+ years ago, but it is now.

    I learned something with the question you asked bluedog225; always wondered how I can 'correct' a tri-square. That Utoob UCanoe_2 posted led me to this'n:

    https://youtu.be/bCxIg1lQ8pw
    Last edited by sp_clark; 12-21-2020 at 09:51 AM. Reason: Yet More Info

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    Me too - I've seen nasty damage to Starrett rulers then, I saw another video on the making of those japanese squares - and they appear to be made of carefully hardened and tempered spring steel.
    they often are. They also aren’t flat like a roofing square they are sort of a reduced edge I-beam type shape where the edge doesn’t touch the surface. If they go out of square hit ‘em with a hammer in the right spot.

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    One of the traditional marking tools is a bamboo fine line dip pen - which explains the non-touching edge.


    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    One of the traditional marking tools is a bamboo fine line dip pen - which explains the non-touching edge.



    Haha. I was just going to mention him. That kid is pretty cool. He’s doing a neat demo and new construction currently. Some of the pictures he’s posted on his Instagram are amazing.

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Also, sorry, but it made me think of this...


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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    i cringed at the drawing of the arc

    other than that it was nostalgia for how my dad taught me geometry with a rule and triangles and dividers at first but later a framing square

    lovely video
    One thing you can't do with a western square. There's something to be said for thin well-tempered spring steel.

    I love the hikariduke, spiling that board to fit between the two out-of-whack posts. Nice!
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    I don't know whether the current generation of carpenters know all the ways of using a framing square.I never did know that many but knew a few old timers who could use them as a calculator for all sorts of complex stuff and then they could mark it accurately and cut to the line with a handsaw.The tables engraved on the faces covered lots if you knew where to look.These days there is probably an app for that.

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    These days there is probably an app for that.
    To say not a bit about the CNC’d parts that come bundled onna flatbed, hoisted by robot onto (maybe) site-built deck by robot then stapled together w/ battery- or air-powered guns by a crew who’ll be there (maybe) one day then on to the next’n tomorrow.

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Other than being able to bend the leg to scribe an arc, there is nothing extraordinary about that square and nothing he did couldnt be done with a western framing square.

    The rafter tables on a framing square give you everything you need to know to layout and cut rafters for just about any roof you could possibly imagine, including hip and valleys rafters, mansard and gambrel faming.

    The ink line is however far far superior to a chalk line if you need dead nuts accuracy.

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Quote Originally Posted by willin woodworks View Post
    Other than being able to bend the leg to scribe an arc, there is nothing extraordinary about that square and nothing he did couldnt be done with a western framing square.

    The rafter tables on a framing square give you everything you need to know to layout and cut rafters for just about any roof you could possibly imagine, including hip and valleys rafters, mansard and gambrel faming.
    The back of Japanese squares are often marked in units squareroot2 times the front face which allows carpenters to easily layout the curved rafters associated with Japanese architecture
    Last edited by Hugh Conway; 12-22-2020 at 11:20 AM.

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Quote Originally Posted by willin woodworks View Post
    The ink line is however far far superior to a chalk line if you need dead nuts accuracy.
    I used to use ink lines fairly often, mostly when working with round material like logs. Eventually I got tired of dealing with the mess they can be; ink on hands, tools, clothes, errant drips and splatters, fixing a botched line… And they can be a hassle when working in freezing conditions.

    You can snap fine quality, accurate chalk lines with the right kind of line. Maybe not as crisp and sharp as a really good ink line can be, but good enough for most work needing a snapped line. Some braided fishing lines work well for chalk lines. I usually run them through a piece of pinched sandpaper to rough them up a little to better hold the chalk.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    My Japanese square has marks at 4.24” increments: the diagonals of 3, 6, 9, 12” side squares.

    Diagonal of 12:

    IMGP0156.jpg

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    16.97" is marked on some conventional framing squares for doing hips and valleys.

    I like the soul that goes into these Japanese squares. I have a Shinwa framing square, stainless, very nice, but strictly Western design.
    Last edited by SMARTINSEN; 12-22-2020 at 07:57 PM.
    Steve Martinsen

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Thanks gentlemen. I’ll give it a shot.

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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    The fitting of the sill between the two twisted posts was great....if only I can remember how when I need to.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Japanese Squares HowTo

    Quote Originally Posted by J P View Post
    I used to use ink lines fairly often, mostly when working with round material like logs. Eventually I got tired of dealing with the mess they can be; ink on hands, tools, clothes, errant drips and splatters, fixing a botched line… And they can be a hassle when working in freezing conditions.

    You can snap fine quality, accurate chalk lines with the right kind of line. Maybe not as crisp and sharp as a really good ink line can be, but good enough for most work needing a snapped line. Some braided fishing lines work well for chalk lines. I usually run them through a piece of pinched sandpaper to rough them up a little to better hold the chalk.
    There is a fine chalk line string called "Jetline" that we use for fine lines. The problem with chalk is that it s easily brushed and smudged away.

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