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Can you spot something missing on Kapro’s Combination Square? Actually two things are missing.  Notice there’s no channel running the length of the rule; it’s smooth and flat. You don’t need a channel because this square doesn’t have the usual thumb screw locking mechanism. Instead six rare-earth magnets hold the body where you position it.

Kapro etches the 12″ stainless steel rule with inch and metric scales in increments of 1/16″ and 1 mm, and because of the magnetic lock you don’t have slide the body off the end of the rule to switch scales. They make the body from heavy-duty cast zinc, mill it on five sides, and incorporate the standard spirit level. You don’t even have to search for a marking device since they include their Easy Grip stainless steel scribe which is always at the ready, stuck to the magnets in the body.

You can find the square for as little as $11 before shipping, plus Kapro throws in a belt holster for the price of purchase.

Combination Square [Kapro]
Combination Square [Rockler]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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20 Responses to Combo Square With A Magnetic Lock

  1. Old Coot says:

    Maybe hot. Concerned about crud building up in the slot and throwing things off-square, but then again I’ve had that problem with my old-style version. Sure does look nice, though.

  2. Jerry says:

    I really like the look and the concept. I did drift to their site to have a look. Pretty impressive features. As for the belt holster – not quite sure how this device fits into that holster. Certainly it would have some rather sharp edges/corners sticking out since it clearly does not cover the entire tool. They do not show the tool in the holster though so it’s really hard to tell. Yes, I’ll probably end up with one of these.

  3. David Bryan says:

    If you’re going to use it as a square, this arrangement ought to work just fine, but if you’re going to use it as a marking gauge, it seems to me it might be unreliable.

  4. Geoff K. says:

    If it had some sort of friction locking mechanism that pinched the rule securely, it could server as a marking gauge. Maybe a little cam lock that folds flat below the surface of the milled side…

  5. Geoff K. says:

    Also, too bad there isn’t a channel perpendicular to the existing channel along the long edge, the single level bulb could be used in both orientations. Or have another level bulb perpendicular to the existing one…

  6. Dean in Des Moines says:

    I use my combination square in the woodshop constantly. I also use quite a few neodymium magnets. Nevertheless, I’m not sure I’d trust this to be accurate, stay acurate, or stay positioned.

    Someone want to send me one? I promise I’ll write up a review in two weeks.

  7. Chris says:

    Wait a second. Isn’t most stainless non-magnetic? That’s a cheap field test for good quality stainless — if it’s not attracted to a magnet, it’s good.

    So how’s this work? One of the few magnetic stainless alloys, or is it really just not stainless?


  8. Chris Ball says:

    I’ve used one, different brand, same style, at a friend’s worksite and I have pretty mixed feelings about it. It’s quicker and handier to adjust but with just the magnets holding it, it can be knocked out of adjustment pretty easy. The other problem I kept running into is that when marking rough lumber with a carpenter’s pencil I would occasionally pivot the ruler out of the housing whilst drawing the line.

    I would say that if you are sitting at a bench doing fiddly stuff (but not Starrett fiddly), it is a win but if you are doing rough construction it is either a wash or a loss depending on your work style.

  9. Mike says:

    Keep it out of the metal shop! I’ll stick with my standard combo square, thank you.

  10. @Chris:

    I thought about stainless being non-magnetic also (other than the cheaper magnetic alloys).

    It’s really hard to tell from the posted picture, actually any picture I could find, but it almost looks like the shaft of the scribe and the “handle” are different materials. So maybe just the shaft is stainless?

  11. Bill says:

    Might pick up smarf in the slot too.

  12. David Bryan says:

    Chris and Benjamen, most hardenable stainless steel alloys that are used in tools are magnetic. Check your pocketknife.

  13. Phil says:

    This would be utter fail used in metalworking. Strong magnets make it nearly impossible to clean chips and swarf off surfaces. Might be fine in woodworking, plastics or nonferrous layouts though.

  14. Bill R says:

    the spec sheet says the ruler and scribe are stainless steel. I’m a woodworker and it looks slick to me. `got one ordered

  15. ShopMonger says:

    OK but as for the question of the week…..Do we really need that? or is it a case of solving a pointless issue.


  16. aaron says:

    i could see having some sort of switch the way magnetic bases turn “on” and “off”.

    the bigger question is: how square is it? the thing could be made out of diamonds, but if its not square it’s useless.

  17. MeasureOnceCutTwice says:

    Lots of good quality magnetic stainless, and lots of crap non-magnetic stainless. It all depends on the application and alloy needed.

    For this thing, I’d miss the groove – I routinely stick a pencil in the groove indent on the end and slide the square along an edge to mark a rip line. The indent is just right for the width of the pencil point so the mark comes out flush with the end of the rule. I’d also worry about just how firmly the blade is held – if it’s weak enough to adjust by hand, I think it would probably move under my routine handling in use.

  18. browndog77 says:

    I’m thinking the magnets actually work by attraction to each other, sandwiching the SS ruler and holding via friction. Not sure though!

  19. safetyfast says:

    I still use the one I inherited from my Grandfather. It’s probably over 70 years old. It even has a sharp pen in the handle for marking. I doubt I’ll ever need to replace it.

  20. John says:

    It has rare-earth magnets that hold the (stainless steel) ruler in place

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