Speed Square Tips and Tricks (9 Helpful Tips)

Speed Square Tips and Tricks

Thanks to Alber K. Swanson, who invented the speed square in 1925 and, over the last 95 years, has become one of the best friends of carpenters and woodworkers. Also, this small tool is a great companion for DIY enthusiasts and others who love to build.

If you think that speed squares are used only to draw straight lines and find the right angle, then be sure that you are unaware of the speed square tips and tricks.

What is a Speed Square?

A speed square is a measuring tool known as a rafter square, triangle square, etc. It is made of either steel, wood, metal, plastic, and many more. It can also be used as a saw guide, a ripping guide to making 45° and 90° cutting using a hand saw or circular saw.

What does a Speed Square Do?

Speed Square Tips and Tricks

When you follow a few tips and tricks, a speed square will do countless tasks. You can use speed squares for the below applications.

  • Roof pitch
  • Angle marking
  • Squaring lines
  • Saw guide
  • Protracting

And many more. Let’s look at the hacks of speed squares from below.

Roof Pitch

Are you looking for an effortless method to find the roof pitch? Well, grab a speed square, and you will surely be able to find the roof pitch comfortably and efficiently.

For this, the speed squares pivot table needs to be placed opposite the shingles of the roof. Then on the larger side of the square, use a torpedo level. After adjusting the level, it can’t be read as the level until the torpedo is out. Finally, from the speed square’s side, you can read the roof pitch.

Angle Marking

As stated earlier, since many people are unaware of speed squares’ tips and tricks, they don’t know that using a speed square marking numerous angles is too convenient. Even marking odd angles like 33-1/2 is not an issue for a speed square.

For this, you will need to line up the speed square on the board edge. Then the rafter square will show you the angle you require. Isn’t it effortless?

Squaring Lines

You also can use a speed square for squaring lines. Along with the ruler side, you will find cutouts in many speed squares, making sure that the line is perfect.

Moreover, you can make a birdsmouth or a notch using this cutout, such as repairing or replacing the rafter.

Saw Guide

This is one of the common uses of speed square. Speed square can be used as a guide for accurate 45° or 90° angles when cross-cutting lumbar.

Firmly hold the square against the board edge. The other 45° angle or right angle can be used as a fence of your circular or hand saw.


Before using a speed square for protracting purposes, find the square’s 90° corner of the pivot point. You will find a pivot mark on the board’s factory edge; the tool’s bottom needs to be pivoted and then moved to the exact factory edge’s expected degree. Your square pivoting edge is now at a 45° angle to the factory edge. The angle needs to be marked out for cutting the wood piece.

Drawing Circle

Yes, you can draw a circle using a speed square quite conveniently. This is a unique trick and method that many people are unaware of.

To do this, on the board, place a screw on the 90° angle, then for the circle, select a notch; next, the speed square needs to be moved along with the pencil to create a circle.

Center of a Circle

If you face the problem of finding the centre of a circle, a speed square will be the best tool in this regard. To find out the centre of a circle comfortably, you will need a speed square and a carpenter square.

First, the carpenter’s square needs to be placed on the circle edge. Next, hold the speed squares angled side, then put them inside the carpenter square’s corner. To draw the line, take assistance from a pencil and follow the same procedure on the opposite side. Once you finish, you will find the centre of the circle.

Guiding a Saw

This is another everyday use of speed square. Every woodworker or carpenter uses a speed square to guide the saw to a straight line.

When working with a circular saw, line up the speed square perfectly to guide a 90° or 45° angle.

Measuring Saw Blade

Following a trick, a speed square will be able to measure the saw blade. Over time, after using the saw blade several times, it becomes prone to get out of line. Lay the lipped fence on the shoe to measure the saw blades quickly. Flatten it as much as possible and take notes with speed square if it doesn’t seem right.

Other Tips and Tricks

Rafter square, speed square or Swanson square has a built-in feature – diamond cut. Making a perfect 90° line from your scribed angled to the board’s edge becomes so comfortable with a diamond cut.

Moreover, if you don’t have a proper bubble level, a speed square will also help you make an appropriate level.

Final Words

Isn’t the tips and tricks of speed square amazing? A speed square is a versatile tool that allows its user to do several woodworking tasks quite perfectly without any trouble. Moreover, it focuses on creating a DIY project easier.

Hopefully, with the above speed square tips and tricks, your DIY projects or woodworking or carpenter projects will be a lot more convenient now than before. Make sure to buy a speed square according to your project requirements. If you don’t know which one to buy, discuss it with someone familiar working with speed square or read the available instruction manual.