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16R or 4R graduations for a combination square set?

Alan H

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#1
Studying new combination square sets.

What graduation type would you buy, 16R or 4R?

I am leaning toward the 16R for the tenths but would like your opinions. These sets aren't cheap are they?
 

benmychree

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#2
I guess it would depend if you want to work to tenths or fractions; most everything I do is to fractions, and accordingly, I would pick the 4R graduation; I have one 6" scale with tenths, but hardly ever use it.
It is true that good quality tools are not cheap, but I have seen some combination sets from Brown & Sharpe on E Bay lately for about $140 that are new old stock, and think that is not too much to pay; I'd pay that if I needed one, but already have two that I picked up at an estate sale years ago, new in box. The man was a shop teacher at a local college and had access to surplus from the government ---
 

Silverbullet

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#3
I'd choose the 16 r , prints are usually not in fractions even if they are they're easily found converting . I have both , but for doing layout work prefer the 16 r . It's as close to metric I get. If I were to buy another square blade now I'd get a metric . But having up to 36" blades now I don't see any in my future unless there dirt cheap..
 

Alan H

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#4
I'd choose the 16 r , prints are usually not in fractions even if they are they're easily found converting . I have both , but for doing layout work prefer the 16 r . It's as close to metric I get. If I were to buy another square blade now I'd get a metric . But having up to 36" blades now I don't see any in my future unless there dirt cheap..
Thanks SB -
Yeap, you can always buy another blade and swap them around. But they are not dirt cheap, least not what I have found!
 

darkzero

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#5
I went with 4R cause it was cheaper. 4R is more common & easier to find, my set was too great of a deal to pass up. And if you consider resale value, 4R is better cause it won't be just machinist who would be interested. Not having tenths for my square set doesn't bother me at all.

But if I'm buying scales I go for 16R. My most used scale is a 6" 16R hook scale.
 

benmychree

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#6
I'd choose the 16 r , prints are usually not in fractions even if they are they're easily found converting . I have both , but for doing layout work prefer the 16 r . It's as close to metric I get. If I were to buy another square blade now I'd get a metric . But having up to 36" blades now I don't see any in my future unless there dirt cheap..
I think it just depends on what you were brought up with; if from the aircraft industry it would ne decimals, if it were heavy industry (my upbringing) it is fractions.
 

mikey

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#7
Alan, if you buy one of these from Starrett, look for the 434 series. These have forged and hardened heads and will stay accurate longer. You can tell them apart from the 435 series by the paint; the 434 series has a black glossy surface, while the 435 series has a satin finish.

I have several of these things and while they're cool and all, I really only use my little 4" Lufkin hardened combination square and centering head. I do own a hardened square from Bridge City Tools - accurate and a work of art. I bought the thing and rarely ever used it; I just look at it from time to time. How stupid is that?

Insofar as the graduations are concerned, I only use the 4R. I find the 16R too fine to see without magnification and if I want to go that accurate, I won't be using a combination square to do it. I think these tools are great for wood working but for metalworking, there are other tools that are more useful.
 

Alan H

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#8
I went with 4R cause it was cheaper. 4R is more common & easier to find, my set was too great of a deal to pass up. And if you consider resale value, 4R is better cause it won't be just machinist who would be interested. Not having tenths for my square set doesn't bother me at all.

But if I'm buying scales I go for 16R. My most used scale is a 6" 16R hook scale.
Thanks Will, yes 4R is substantially cheaper isn't it? Not sure why there is such a difference though.

What hook scale do you use?
 

Alan H

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#9
Alan, if you buy one of these from Starrett, look for the 434 series. These have forged and hardened heads and will stay accurate longer. You can tell them apart from the 435 series by the paint; the 434 series has a black glossy surface, while the 435 series has a satin finish.

I have several of these things and while they're cool and all, I really only use my little 4" Lufkin hardened combination square and centering head. I do own a hardened square from Bridge City Tools - accurate and a work of art. I bought the thing and rarely ever used it; I just look at it from time to time. How stupid is that?

Insofar as the graduations are concerned, I only use the 4R. I find the 16R too fine to see without magnification and if I want to go that accurate, I won't be using a combination square to do it. I think these tools are great for wood working but for metalworking, there are other tools that are more useful.
Mike, but I got a brand spanking new Opitivisor with Loop that you catalyzed me buying! Seeing is not problem!

Yes the Starrett C434-12-16R or 4R is are on my list.
 

Alan H

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#10
I think it just depends on what you were brought up with; if from the aircraft industry it would ne decimals, if it were heavy industry (my upbringing) it is fractions.
I am a woodworker - so I have done a lot of fractions. I am now messing with machining and doing decimals and fractions. So I am conflicted!
 

darkzero

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#11
Thanks Will, yes 4R is substantially cheaper isn't it? Not sure why there is such a difference though.

What hook scale do you use?
Np. Yeah it seems like anything other than 4R is more expensive, not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with manufacturings costs?

The hook rules I have are made by PEC. Starrett makes 'em too but for some reason I've always like using the PEC ones. I have 'em in both 4R & 16R. To be honest 16R in general is not all that useful to me. I mean I do use it often for quick measurments but normally not anything smaller than a tenth of an inch. Anything smaller than 10thou is too hard to see & I won't rely on it for accuracy. For that type of accuracy & for layout I'll use a height gage.

That reminds me I've been meaning to get me a 12" hook scale. I think I'll do that now.
 

darkzero

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#13
Check this baby out: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CS-12-Combi...517506?hash=item3d46f5c742:g:wuEAAOSw791Zq0dt

Fair warning: if you buy and own this tool, you will fondle it and speak lovingly to it. Best not to do this in front of others ... they just won't understand.
Anything made by Bridge City Tools is top quality! I'm lucky to own just one of their tools, one of their discontinued protractors. I personally wouldn't even buy something like that, cause I'd be too afraid to use it!
 

darkzero

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#14
I am a woodworker - so I have done a lot of fractions. I am now messing with machining and doing decimals and fractions. So I am conflicted!
As long as you memorize the decimal value for the major fractions (if you haven't already) you'll be fine. Works for me anyway to live with out 16R.

Dammit, spent more money again. All your fault Alan! Just purchased the 12" 16R hook scale. Well it's been on my list but hey I have to blame somebody! :)
 

Alan H

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#16
Anything made by Bridge City Tools is top quality! I'm lucky to own just one of their tools, one of their discontinued protractors. I personally wouldn't even buy something like that, cause I'd be too afraid to use it!
Yeap, like a little mahogany boat I once owned, I was afraid I'd scratch it!
 

darkzero

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#17
Okay, what did you buy and where?
Another PEC hook scale but in 12". Purchased from Taylor Tool Works but through ebay. http://www.ebay.com/itm/131389381269

I forget but I believe I bought my other two 6" PEC hook scales from them too. They now sell igaging & their own branded hook scales as well.

PEC tools is one of those companies that are often overlooked. Not as good as Starrett but they make good products with great prices. Most of their stuff is made in USA but not all. I use their edge finders also

Have to be careful when buying anything PEC that is rule/scale related. There are sellers who sell them that are factory seconds like HJE, I think Taylor Tools does too. The factory seconds will have the PEC name scratched off the product. They still work fine & doesn't bother some people, it bothers me though.

PEC also makes affordable decent quality square sets if you want to save money. I wanted a Starret set when I was looking to buy. Too expensive for me at the time. I managed to score a 12" Mitutoyo set with the square, proctractor, & center heads brand new for like $40- $50. I was disappointed that the damn thing was made in Mexico. Had no idea Mexico even made measuring or machining related tools let alone being Mitu. It's pretty damn accurate though & for the price I can't complain. Now I don't really care cause like Mike, I found that I really don't use it very often. Personally a PEC set or good used set would be good enough for me.
 

Alan H

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#18
Thanks Will, I have had a hankering for some hook scales too. Your savvy here is very helpful.

I have seen some PEC stuff at HJE and they mentioned it was blemished. I even pondered calling them to discuss it but dropped it in favor something a bit more certain. I am a bit picky.
 

darkzero

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#19
Thanks Will, I have had a hankering for some hook scales too. Your savvy here is very helpful.

I have seen some PEC stuff at HJE and they mentioned it was blemished. I even pondered calling them to discuss it but dropped it in favor something a bit more certain. I am a bit picky.
Always happy to help people spend their money! :)

Same here, I'm picky. Yeah the blems are the same thing as the factory seconds. Not sure if HJE advertises that the PEC name is scratched off though. I'm aware of the type of inventory they get & they are great people but it seems like most of their stuff is factory seconds. I bought a center punch & a ratchet rebuild kit from them once. Nothing wrong with the rebuild kit but the center punch looked like it was dropped. I rather not take the risk from them anymore.
 

Bob Korves

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#20
Thanks Will, I have had a hankering for some hook scales too. Your savvy here is very helpful.

I have seen some PEC stuff at HJE and they mentioned it was blemished. I even pondered calling them to discuss it but dropped it in favor something a bit more certain. I am a bit picky.
I have several PEC tools, including a 12" blem combination square blade only from HJE, and a 4" double square also from HJE, and they are excellent quality, at much better prices than Starrett. A lot of stuff from B & S and other good old companies (including Starrett) are now imports, mere shadows of their former products. All the PEC stuff I have is US made.
 

Alan H

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#21
Bob, Do you remember if the stuff you bought from HJE was advertised as blemished?

Looking at the prices, yes PEC is more attractive from a cost perspective.

Do you think the Starrett squares are no longer made in the US?
 

f350ca

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#22
I bought a 12 inch steel ruler with 1/10ths graduations, thinking this would be the best thing since sliced bread. Used it once or twice, now grab the Mititoyo fraction ruler all the time.

Greg
 

Bob Korves

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#23
Yes, I bought blemished tools. On the double square, no issues are noticed by me. On the 12" blade, the brand name has been removed half halfheartedly, still easy to read. Cannot find any flaws I care about. Easy to read, satin chrome as good as the Starrett blades. WAY cheaper than a new Starrett, and IMO just as good.
 

Bob Korves

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#24
I bought a 12 inch steel ruler with 1/10ths graduations, thinking this would be the best thing since sliced bread. Used it once or twice, now grab the Mititoyo fraction ruler all the time.

Greg
I use the tenths inch scale fairly often, when working with decimal inch call outs. The 50th inch scale is used rarely, but is useful, and the 100th inch scale is too stupidly small to be useful at all with my poor old eyes.