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The T-12 T-Squares are not only beautiful, they are very, very accurate!
Click image to enlarge

Woodpeckers, Inc. T-12 Precision Aluminum T-Squares

Extending the reach of accuracy

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   T-Squares are very handy in the woodworking shop, especially when they are actually square. Once again, Woodpeckers, Inc. steps up with their new T-12 Precision Aluminum T-Squares. Layout has never been easier, or more accurate.

Initial Impressions

   If you appreciate fine machining, Woodpeckers T-12 Precision Aluminum T-Squares will knock your socks off! The design and superb CNC (computer numerically controlled) machining give T-12 a definite futuristic appearance. Look closer and most of the trick looking curves and cuts are very functional. The T-12's may have the look of high-tech art but they are hard-core woodworking tools meant to be used.

Futuristic Shape

   The Woodpeckers T-12 have a 8 ½"-wide by 1 ¾" tall head and a 14"-long (overall) blade with 12 ½" below the head. The blade itself is 2"-wide.
   While these dimensions may seem common, they are exceptionally rare in a tool with this level of accuracy. Woodpeckers guarantees the blade to be within 0.001” of square to the head over its full length. With the understandable exception of damage caused by misuse, this is a lifetime guarantee!

Adding another layer of aluminium to the rear of the head forms a ledge that "hangs" the T-12 solidly on the wood.
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   The length of the T-12 blade puts more layout jobs within its confines, which not only speeds many of those tasks but brings a new level of accuracy to them as well.

Head Design

   The head of the T-12 is actually made up of two pieces of aluminum joined with hardened steel pins. The back piece forms a full-length, ¼"-deep ledge for hooking over the edge of the wood and makes the T-12 very stable in use. It also slides easily along the stock when scribing lines.
   The head has machined recesses to either side of the blade that make the zero mark accessible with a pencil. The lower graduations are also much easier to read. Both openings are 1"-wide and make aligning the T-12 with an existing mark or drawing another one close to it easy.

Very Trick Blade

The intricate-looking shape of the blade make using the clearly engraved numerals along the edges much more accurate.
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   The T-12 blade is also very trick looking but is really totally functional. The sides are sloped down towards the surface of the wood, positioning the laser-engraved scales (1/32" resolution) closer to the work. Reducing their height above the work drastically reduces the chances of parallax-induced errors when making marks. The numerals and hash marks are very clearly produced and large enough to be read easily.
   Along the centerline of the blade is a dual row of 1mm holes that are precisely drilled and labeled in 1/16" increments. The holes are designed to fit the lead of a sharp #2 pencil, mechanical pencils and even some fine-point markers. Capturing the writing point means when you draw a line parallel to the edge of the wood, it is going to be absolutely parallel and unaffected by grain, dents or scratches in the wood that often deflect a free-running pencil. The holes also guarantee accuracy over the entire length of a line providing the pencil is in the right hole. The only way to make a mistake with the T-12 is to not pay attention.

Plaque/Case

The included plaque/case not only protects the T-12, it has screw holes for hanging it on the wall to enhance your shops decor.
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   Each T-12 comes in an impressive CNC-machined, form-fitting MDF plaque. Within the machined recess for the T-12 are pre-drilled and countersunk holes for mounting the plaque on a wall. A pair of sliding plastic clips keeps the T-12 from falling out in this position. A nice touch is including a pair of #2, extra hard Dixon pencils, set into specially routed channels on the plaque.
   The plaque may seem like a bit of machining-related showing off but in reality, is a good idea. I suspect few owners would be comfortable with tossing the T-12 into a drawer. The plaque provides safe storage as well as a nice display to punch up the décor in the shop at the same time.

In the Shop

The holes along that run the full length of the blade, graduated by 1/16ths, hold a pencil lead steady to make ultra-precise lines parallel to the edge of the wood.
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   Using the Woodpeckers T-12 is deceptively easy. The guiding head slides along even relatively rough edges with surprising ease and without bouncing or catching. The result is very straight, clean layout lines.
   The pencil holes along the center of the blade make drawing parallel lines very simple, fast and extremely accurate for all but the most inattentive users. I found that drawing even complex layouts is considerably faster with the T-12 as opposed to more traditional tools. The lines are consistent, smooth and provide a good target for cutting tools. All of these features add up to increased accuracy and faster layouts.
   While the T-12 is made from very high-quality aluminum, it is surprisingly light and easy to handle. The aluminum is given a high-end anodized finish that makes them look great but also prevents bare aluminum from leaving those dark, hard to remove marks on the wood.

Whether drawing vertical or horizontal lines, the T-12 helps place them quickly and with extreme accuracy.
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   Part of the evaluation process for these reviews is to check the accuracy of the product, in this case the T-12. While several different methods ranging from matching comparative lines to a ride through a ridiculously expensive industrial quality control laser measuring table were employed, we simply could not find an error larger than ¼ of 1 thousandth in either T-12 we have. The total error in both T-12's added up to less than ½ of the 0.001" design specification!

Conclusions

   The Woodpeckers, Inc. T-12 Precision Aluminum T-Squares are as useful as they are gorgeous to look at. Few things have as great an impact on woodworking as straight, consistent layout lines. Add the extreme accuracy with which those lines can be placed and the T-12 becomes a very valuable tool for any woodworking shop that appreciates quality tools and accuracy.
   While the $89.95 price tag (5-2-2005) is not a give-away, it is more than reasonable for an extremely well made, super-accurate lifetime tool. I have already spent far more on traditional t-squares in my woodworking life. The Woodpeckers T-12 Precision Aluminum Squares are actually a sound, money-saving investment that will benefit your woodworking forever.

Note: The Woodpeckers T-12 squares have proven to be more popular than anticipated and are a little hard to get at the moment. The initial production run was exhausted soon after they were announced. Woodpeckers is already in the process of making more so you might want to visit the link below and get one reserved for you!

Click Here to see the T-12 Precision Aluminum T-Square at Woodpeckers.

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