What is a try square used for?

Updated November 21, 2016

A try square, sometimes spelt tri square, is a carpenter's tool made of steel fashioned to created a right angle. It is made up of a wooden or plastic stock and a tempered steel blade. This handy tool helps determine 90- or 45-degree angles and facilitates accurate saw cuts.

About Try Squares

A try square is a woodworking used to measure and mark pieces of wood, or metal when used in metal working. It is so named because to "try" a surface means to check its straightness or correspondence to an adjoining surface and "square" refers to the accurate right angle measuring capability.


The try square serves as a marking and measuring devices when pushed against a piece of wood. Pre-marked increments on the try square blade simplify making precision measurements.

Testing Angles

Try squares are also used to test right angles. To do this, the stock butts against either the face side or joint edge of the work surface. If light is visible between the try square and the wood, the surface is not level and square.

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About the Author

Karin Barga contributes to various online publications, specializing in topics related to canines, equines and business. She earned career diplomas in bridal consulting, business management and accounting essentials. Barga is a certified veterinary assistant, holds certification in natural health care for pets, and is a licensed realtor and property manager.