June 15, 2011

Bora Multi-Angle - Review

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Bora Tools, a subset of Affinity has recently released something called the Multi-Angle. It's a measuring and marking device that accurately gives you a number of different angles. About a month ago, they sent us one to check out and it's been in the tool bag ever since. Here's what we thought...

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Including the closed position, there are 8 positive stops (22.5, 45, 67.5, 90, 112.5, 135, 157.5). The tool is designed to stop only on these angles. It's not like a bevel gauge where you can capture an unknown angle. In a way, it's the opposite...it gives you the angle going into the situation. That said, it's a particularly good item for new construction.

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The Bora website tells us that the tool remains at a .05 degree of accuracy after 50,000 folding cycles. After using the tool, we can get behind this boast. When the tool locks into an angle position, it really clicks in and there's no joke about it. In fact, we found it difficult to easily pop from one angle to the next because the force that it takes to disengage the angle usually sent us a hopping a couple angles down the line. It's not a problem though, if it means retaining accuracy over the life of the tool.

At a glance we thought that the Bora would have that same fragility that a bevel gauge has with the blade half folded into the handle and half sticking out. But this tool proved itself to be far more durable and and the ruler didn't even bend when we accidentally stepped on it.

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For the most part, we used it for marking miters so the 45 and 90 degree got the most use. There is definitely a feeling of quality about this tool, it just has the vibe of a well made tool (the blade is stainless and the handle is aluminum). We felt very secure in the accuracy of our marks, and once they were cut, the results were always spot on.

But there were a few things that bothered us about the Multi-Angle. The first is that, on the ruler, the 1/8" marks aren't called out. The 1/2" lines are larger than the 1/4" lines, which are larger than the 1/8" lines, but the 1/8 and 1/16" are the same size. We obviously know which is which, but we're also in the habit of relying on the standard line markers.

Secondly, we wished that the Multi-Angle had the ability to open up 180 and make a straight edge (perhaps 16" long...another useful length on a jobsite...). It seems to us that this wouldn't have been too difficult to do and it would have added even more functionality to the tool.

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Lastly, the stainless ruler is made in such a way that when it is opened to the 45 degree mark, only the inside of the ruler is useful for marking. The outside edge has a notch in it which means that a pencil line cannot be drawn all the way to the edge.

But these quibbles aside, we found the Bora to be a solidly constructed, very reliable angle tool to have in the repertoire. We ended up using it quite a bit in place of a rafter square and our combo square. Because of the sheer versatility of those two traditional tools, the Multi-Angle won't be replacing them, but it does serve as a fine compliment.

This particular model, stainless with the 12" ruler, is about $45. Another 8" version is available for $40, and an 8" poly version is about $15 (the poly version only has four preset angles).

At Amazon, other models here.

Read More in: All Reviews | Measuring & Marking

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at June 15, 2011 5:43 AM

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Recent Comments

I picked up a rebadged (Swanson) vesion at Rockler. Brought it back. The markings did not align across the two faces of the ruler! So any measurement was off by 1/16", which was unacceptable at any price. Of course, this wasn't visible until I got it home and peeled off the label, which covered the outer edge. And that was after I went through more than a dozen samples to find one that didn't have an obviously spread-too-far pivot end.

Nice idea, poorly executed.


Posted by: JML at June 15, 2011 10:13 AM
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