Download: Complete Plans for Roubo's Try Square
Andre Roubo's 18th-century plans for a try square – which he called a "triangle" – is one of the most beautiful pieces of workshop equipment we've ever seen.
Editor Christopher Schwarz built six of the squares and published a short article on them in the February 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking. And while many woodworkers will be able to build the square using the instructions in the magazine, we often receive requests for additional information.
So Schwarz put together a package of detailed information on the square, which is available here for instant download. The download includes:
1. The two-page Arts & Mysteries column from the February 2010 issue that explains the reasoning behind the square, its special features, the cutting list and construction drawing.
2. A six-page article that covers the construction process in complete detail, from selecting the stock, to truing the square and finishing it.
3. A page of full-size profiles of the square's cavetto, ogee and handle shapes to make it easy for you to stick the pattern to the wood and cut it out.
4. A SketchUp file of the original square that you can study or modify to suit your needs. Click here to install the free Google SketchUp software.
Why build this square? Though the blade is more than 13-1/2" long, the whole square weighs only 7 ounces. Its stock is narrower than that of a traditional rosewood and brass square, and it is surprisingly comfortable to hold, carry and use.
The cavetto in the stock and the ogee shape on the blade adds a little flair to a usually rectilinear (read: boring) tool. Plus, they are a blast to make. All of the elements of construction required great care, but because the tool is so simple, it never gets tedious.