Blog: Make Hand Tools… With Hand Tools By: John Heisz

It’s toolception!
Not really. I used a square that I made square to make a square. How about that for a square deal? Feel like doing a square dance?

Ok, I’ll stop.
I made a pair of small squares from a stainless steel kick plate and that’s what all this is about. It’s the same piece of steel I used to repair my broken block plane a few months ago. And I have this because I used to install commercial doors and hardware (mostly in schools) and occasionally one or two wouldn’t fit and wound up in my possession. Several, actually. But then I did do that work for a loooong time.

Anyway, onwards! I started by covering the plate with a single coat of blue spray paint:

Doesn’t have to be blue (my favourite colour…) but should be dark. The paint is there to scratch a very accurate line into for precision. Much more precise than even the finest Sharpie. And we need to be precise, here, lads!

Sorry, drifted over into sillyville again, but I’m back. I laid out two squares – one that is 6″ x 8″ with a 1″ blade, and the other that is 3″ x 4″ with a 3/4″ blade. Two perfect sizes, in my humble judgement.
I did the cutting with the lowly hacksaw with a regular blade:

The stainless is a fair soft grade, so no issues with the cut. Normally I use my trusty angle grinder with zipcut blade, but thought I’d make it a bit more interesting.
“Hand tools only!” was the cry from the pitchfork armed mob…

Trickiest part was making the cuts straight enough to fool people into thinking these are precision. But then there’s precise, and then there’s woodworking – these will be perfectly fine for woodworking.

“How long did it take, master?” you say. Well, only about an hour all in, but then I had to film it too.

Lovely, I think, and probably useful in the right hands. Only time will tell if those will be my hands. I will let you know.

Oh and no scale, no markings. That’s because that would be an order of magnitude more time and effort to scratch in. Could set up some kind of elaborate jig to do it accurately, but then I’d never use it. I never use the scale on my newly square combination square, for that matter.

You want to see how I did it? This video is exclusive to my Patreon members, but you upstanding website visitors can watch it no charge!
But remember: this short bus runs on premium gasoline and that costs money, so if you can help out, it would be immensely appreciated!