Starrett Combination Square

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New User
I want to treat myself to a nice Starrett Combination Square, but am confused over which one to buy. They offer steel heads, forged and hardened steel heads, cast iron heas, etc.

Which one is the most durable, most stable, most accurate, etc. if, in fact, there is any difference?

Thanks for any feedback.


New User
Starrett makes very nice tools and I have used one of their combination squares for more than 25 years. However, I didn't know of all the choices you mentioned. The question that comes up is how are you going to use it? If you are measuring and laying out wood projects any one of them will do the job. +/- 0.005" is about all the accuracy wood will hold.

That said, my question is: what scale are you buying? Some scales come one side in tenths the other in sixteenths. I find these hard to use. I'm just not used to tenths---on a scale. OK with that on a micrometer. I like the 1/8 and 1/16th on one side and 1/32 and 1/64th on the other. Some of the scales come with inches on one side and mm on the other. This can lead to mistakes too.
One thing I will recommend, buy the chromed rule, not plain steel. Ten years from now the chrome will be easy to read and the plain steel tarnished/dark, somewhat rusty---you get the idea.

As for the hardened or plain steel square head, the situation is that you can drop the darn things sometimes. This bends something a bit. Hardened steel is stiffer, but a drop can affect the rule quicker due to it's length and thickness. Don't think hardness matters that much.

My best advice is to buy a machinest grade tool with a chrome plated rule.


New User
All the Starrett tools are just as accurate, stable and durable as each other - that is to say, they are all excellent. Most of the differences are more preference than anything else. I like the satin chrome finish on the rules since they are easier to read. I guess technically the forged head would be stronger but I can't imagine actually breaking the cast iron one. I do like the smoother paint on it; the cast iron has the wrinkle finish I think.

Mike Davis

Corporate Member
I have Starrett and Brown & Sharp heads and I have plain hardened steel as well as the satin chrome rules. The plain rules can be darkened with vinegar and then white paint rubbed into the markings. Then they are very easy to read and much more rust resistant.

Cast iron heads are fine, satin chrome rules the rules! Get a 24 inch rule if you can stand it. I picked up all of mine at flea markets and yard sales except for my 24 inch satin chrome rule, 20 years ago it cost $49.95. Tools are a great investment if you take care of them.

Travis Porter

Corporate Member
Hardened steel with a satin chrome rule is my number one choice. I have a small one that the rule is not satin chrome and do not like it as well due to glare/reflection making it hard to read the marks.
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