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We realize not many woodworkers work in metric — at least not in the US — but we like the features on this layout square-like Japanese import from Shinwa.  With its 2″ overhanging edge, the “3D” square lets you transfer lines from the face to the edge easily, plus it works with boards that have relieved or chamfered edges.  The overhanging edge is also cut at an angle so the tip of your pencil lead contacts the workpiece without having to angle the pencil.

Made from aluminum with a brushed finish, the square’s 45° wing measures about 6″ wide at its widest point and the overhanging edge is about 4″ wide. The “3D” square’s shape probably precludes you from carrying it in your pouch, but it could come in handy around the workshop.

You can purchase this square for about $20.

3D Miter Square [Shinwa (US Distributor)]
3D Miter Square [Manny’s Woodworkers Place]
Angle-Scribing Gauge [Japan Woodworker]


10 Responses to 3D Miter Square

  1. fred says:

    Shinwa also makes another miter square:


    And Lee Valley-Veritas used to make what they called “saddle squsres” that had no measuring capabilty

  2. Frank Townend says:

    I like working in metric. I have found it a easy process to measure and transfer measurements using cm and mm vs. inch and fraction.

    As for dividing a measurement in 2 or more equal parts, metric is a hand-down winner:

    What is 1/2 of 184 mm? (Easy 92mm)
    How about 1/2 of 7″ and ‘almost’ 1/4″? (Not so easy)

    What is 1/3 of 300mm? (100mm)
    How about 1/3 of 24 3/16″?

  3. aaron says:

    how square is square? how true are these things?

    Another nice one is http://www.japanwoodworker.com/product.asp?s=JapanWoodworker&pf_id=15.193.05&dept_id=12994

    but my only concern is my ignorance of how accurate Shinwa products are.

  4. Bill says:

    The most arrogant move the US has made was to ignore the metric system.

  5. @Frank Townend:

    What’s 1/3 of 233mm? (go get your calculator)
    What’s 1/3 of 2′? (easy 8″)

    I can cherry pick examples to make Imperial measurements easy too.

    I personally think there are many merits to both systems. The fact the metric system is base ten is a big plus. But fractions aren’t that bad if you know how to use them either.

    I think it’s arrogant for the rest of the world not to drop their individual languages and speak English 🙂

    First arrogant is not the right word to use. Arrogant is the Europeans looking down their nose at the country bumpkins across the pond for not adopting the “Correct” way to measure.

    Second we didn’t ignore the system. We tried half-assed to change to it, but it’s kind of ingrained in our culture.

    But back to the language thing, if we think it expands people’s minds to learn more than one language doesn’t the same hold true for learning more than one way to measure?

  6. Zathrus says:

    @Frank Townend:

    Uh, the answer to the second question is 8 1/16″ — next time don’t make it evenly divisible by 3 🙂

    @Benjamen Johnson:

    The rest of the world has largely moved to English. If you’re a businessman and don’t know English then you’re at a serious disadvantage. If you travel, it’s the best 2nd language to have. If you’re a pilot and fly to other countries… well, you either know English or you’re not flying.

    And the reality is that there are only 3 countries that haven’t adopted the metric (SI) system — the US, Liberia, and Myanmar (Burma). It’s hardly just a “European” thing.

    As for “ingrained in our culture” — uh, and the various other systems of measurement weren’t ingrained in other countries’ cultures too? You really think it’s more ingrained in our culture than it was in British culture, which had been using it for a thousand years or so longer (admittedly, if you go to the UK you’ll still find a weird mixture of Imperial and metric units, but the Imperial units are fading).

    Am I more familiar w/ the imperial units? Sure. But I really wish my kids could learn just SI instead of the nightmare that is the Imperial system.

  7. Blind says:

    Metric is great if you only ever divide by 2, 5 and 10. Once you start dividing by other numbers other units start to make more sense. Kitchen measurements (cup, teaspoon, pint, etc) are easily divisible by 2 and 3. Feet are easily divisible by 2, 3, 4, 6. The trick is in using the right units for the job. And when working, is it more likely you care about 1/10 of a measurement, or a quarter, third, or half of it? Right tool for the right job.

    Though why they didn’t just re-purpose sae units for the metric system better than this half assed attempt we have now is behind me. Kilaton, and Megaton are both cool, but why can’t we have centi-yards and gigagallons?

  8. @Blind

    Well said, I was trying to think of a way to make that point, but words we’re failing me last night.


    I did not imply that it was only a European thing, I used the Europeans as an example of how in my opinion arrogant was the wrong word to use.

    To be honest I’m not sure why the metric system didn’t go mainstream in the US. Was it a healthy distrust of government? Was it because in the 70’s we still had a little red scare — the godless commies are using it so we have to use something else? Was it a failing of our education system? It’s slightly before my time I guess.

    (admittedly, if you go to the UK you’ll still find a weird mixture of Imperial and metric units, but the Imperial units are fading).

    Same thing here, only we’re bigger and have much less contact with neighboring countries. Who doesn’t have a set of metric sockets? most science and engineering uses Metric.

  9. Zathrus says:


    Really? A pint, cup, or quart is easily divisible by 3? Exactly what is a third of a pint? Or a quart? Or even a cup? And no saying “1/3 cup” since the same answer applies to a liter. And no looking up how many Tsp or Tbs go into a cup.

    The reality is that IU is infinitely more flexible than SAE because it’s base 10 and uses simple math for conversions rather than remembering if it’s 8 oz in a lb or 16 oz in a cup or vica versa. Or converting from feet to fractional inches. You don’t have to deal with base conversions all the time, or strange fractions in order to get sensible measurements. Oh, and BTW, 1 foot is roughly 30 cm. That’s not exactly hard to divide by 3 or 6.

    As for why it’s not “centi-yards” or such… frankly, it’s because a Frenchman invented the original three metric units, and he wasn’t about to use English units.

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