I am now taking orders for try squares and straightedges as shown in the photo above. I make and true these tools completely by hand from carefully selected and seasoned stock. The fir I use  is clear, vertical grain old growth fir sourced here on the Olympic Penninsula. The cherry for the handles (or optionally for the straightedge) is sourced from Edensaw Lumber’s selected stock of sustainable forestry suppliers. I’ve seasoned the dimensioned stock for several years in my heated shop, and I am very picky about the grain and orientation of the wood I use for these tools. My goal is to ensure they will stay as true as possible over time in a typical woodworking shop environment. I do include instructions about how to keep them true to within less than .001 tolerance using a hand plane–a process that takes less than a minute to accomplish. Once you use these lightweight tools (nice in your hands and nice to the wood they might be accidentally dropped on) your metal versions will likely gather dust.


I make two versions of the straightedge–one three to four hand-spans long for testing typical furniture components and another two handspans for use with small components and at the drawing board.


The try square’s handle is a hand-span long while the blade is a third again that length. I use this square for testing and laying out right-angle cuts on furniture components such as rail and stiles and drawer parts.


To lock the blade permanently to the handle I use a bridled, through mortise and tenon and triangulate ebony pins. There is a bit of hide glue in there as well, but that really serves mostly as a lubricant to slide the parts together and to create a humidity barrier. As with any hide glue joint (which is not a joint by the way), I can’t guarantee the chemistry lasting for more than a couple of centuries.  The physics of the pinned bridle and tenon joint should last as long as the wood itself (which, in the case of the Douglas fir, is already well over 500 years old).

I sign and date each of these one-off layout tools. Several of each are currently in stock (as of December 15).  I’m asking $85 for the small straightedge, $185 for the larger one, and $250 for the try square. These prices include shipping within the continental US. Please contact me directly at jimtolpin@gmail.com for payment details.