Ironbark Try Squares
Review and photos: Damion Fauser
It’s always good to see a new name emerge in toolmaking, particularly domestically. I’ve recently spent some time using a set of 3", 5" and 7" adjustable try squares from Ironbark Tools, located in Brisbane.
These are serious tools, made very well from quality materials. The bodies are made from 360 brass with yarran infills. The beam is 304 stainless steel and the body/stock is formed from a single machined billet of brass with a range of species options for the decorative keyhole-shaped timber infill. The quality of these tools is immediately evident upon opening the package, and they look mighty smart as well, with the visual contrasts between the materials used and the elegant laser-etched company logo on the beam.
These squares feature a very clever adjustment mechanism, involving a set of small counter-acting grub screws set inside and on opposite sides of the stock just near where the bottom edge of the beam sits. By alternately loosening and tightening the opposing screws, the angle of the beam in relation to the stock can be adjusted. All squares are individually tested prior to shipping and I found the three tools I was sent to be perfect, but it’s good to know the ability to adjust is there if required. A clear set of written and visual instructions for this adjustment is provided in the box.
The squares have good heft and a substantial feel without being clumsy or clunky, so I’m confident they will suit users with different hand sizes. The stocks are a whisker under 15mm thick so they stand very stable in the vertical plane when checking fences and jigs for squareness.
Above: Showing the adjustment mechanism which is operated by grub screws on either side of the stock.
The beam is nice and solid at just under 3mm thick. The beams vary in width between the differing tool sizes and are sufficiently wide enough to sit well on the surface being marked. Perhaps an improvement could be to make the width of the beams a commonly used workshop dimension, such as 3/4" for example. This could enhance the versatility of the tools by being able to use the width of the beam as a layout gauge for a common dimension.
A further enhancement I would like to see is the addition of a notch/cut-out where the inside edge of the beam meets the stock, allowing joinery users to mark with their knife all the way through to the far edge of the material, making it easier to subsequently wrap those markings around the edge.
I’ve very much enjoyed having the opportunity to explore the possibilities of these new tools. They are available at prices starting from $130. I consider this to be exceptional value for such a quality product – perhaps the best endorsement I can offer is that I have placed an order for 14 tools in various sizes for myself and my students to use.
Damion Fauser is a Brisbane-based furniture designer maker and also teaches woodwork classes.