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I should have thought of this long ago….
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 10-6-2010
Over the last 30-some years I have made a bunch of jigs intended to help make my circular and jig saws cut straighter. They all worked to some degree but always lacked the ease of use and versatility that I wanted. Now that I have used the Kreg Square-Cut I know exactly what I was looking for. Only Kreg did it better and made it easier to set up perfectly than I probably would have.
The Kreg Square-Cut is a precisely molded tool made from thicker plastic than I would have thought. The long straight edge is 14”-long with 12” ahead of the guide arm. And the Kreg Square-Cut is 8”-wide at the widest point, not counting the guide arm this time. That width along with a raised finger grip molded into the body help keep your hand out of harms way during use.
The sizing makes the Kreg Square-Cut capable of making very precise cuts in boards up to 12”-long. I suspect you could cut slightly wider boards but for most of us, 12” more than handles our needs. The width of the Kreg Square-Cut at its base makes it just as accurate on smaller boards like 2X4’s.
To prevent the Kreg Square-Cut from slipping along the wood as all of my homemade jigs did Kreg includes 12 rubber “buttons” that are installed by the user into circular depressions on the rear surface. Here again, Kreg came up with a simple fix for a serious shortcoming of the homemade versions.
The guide arm has two slots for the locking bolt that give it two distinct length ranges. The first slot lets you adjust the exposed length of the guide arm between 1” and 1-7/8”. This range accommodates most jig saws on the market as well as the short side of the shoe on many handheld circular saws, especially left-bladed models. Move the locking screw to the inner (and longer) slot and the guide arm range jumps to a 3” minimum and just under 5-1/4”. Naturally, this longer setting is for the most commonly used side of handheld circular saw baseplates.
Kreg always manages to find at least one additional use for their tools and the Kreg Square-Cut is no different. A scale along the straight edge lets you measure or lay out common roof pitches. Using the left end of the guide arm as a pivot you simply line up the appropriate pitch number.
In the Shop
Setting the Kreg Square-Cut up for your saw is very easy and explained well on the rear of the card it comes on. With the guide arm retracted you place the Kreg Square-Cut on a board at a point that insures that the blade will make a full-width cut. Hold the Kreg Square-Cut in place against the side of the shoe and make a cut, keeping the Kreg Square-Cut in place after the cut.
Loosen the guide arm locking screw and slide the arm out so its end aligns with the edge of the cut and lock it in place. That is really all there is to it. If you change saws the same quick process will get the Kreg Square-Cut set up for that tool.
To confirm the setting draw a new cut line, align the end of the guide arm with that line and make a cut. If you did everything right during the setup the layout line is now gone and you have a nice square end.
The fact that the Kreg Square-Cut is precisely made in the US makes its accuracy no big surprise. Kreg has long had a firm grip on molding high-strength plastic pieces correctly. The rubber pads on the back of the Kreg Square-Cut are to me one of the real secrets that make this tool so accurate and easy to use. I quickly realized that while I wanted to hold the Kreg Square-Cut firmly in place, a death grip was not needed because thanks to those rubber feet it did not want to slide down the board in response to the saw wanting to wander a little bit. Once set up the Kreg Square-Cut just kept repeating perfectly accurate cuts over and over again.
I am not a roofer and have no business trying to be one so I did not try the roof pitch feature. I have a real roofer who is a regular visitor to my site so I sent him a close up photo of this feature and his only response was, “Where can I get this thing?”. We’ll count that as a thumbs up on the pitch feature. Add my thumbs up for its accuracy and ease of setup and we have another winner from Kreg!
The Square-Cut is another well thought-out, well-made tool from Kreg. It is very useful in any size shop and will help in breaking down longer stock for our projects. The fact that it is so precise and accurate should eliminate some miss-cuts and actually save some lumber money in the long run.
With a street price of just $15.99 (10-6-2010) you can add a new level of accuracy and utility to your existing circular or jig saw for very short tool money. We just do not get very many useful bargains like the Kreg Square-Cut in woodworking these days.
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