August 9, 2011

Swanson Speed Bevel - Review

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Swanson's new Speed Bevel
combines the talent of their ubiquitous Speed Square and the bevel gauge. Since our experience is that those are the two most used measuring devices on a site, we were pretty interested in seeing their talents combined into a single unit. Swanson sent us a sample and like always, we dropped it in the tool bag and brought it to work. It's been well over a month and here's the verdict....

So how does it work? Well, it comes out of the box looking like a Speed Square; it's got all the regular measurements (hip, valley, common, side rulers, angle gauge) and in most ways it looks and acts just like your dad's Speed Square.

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Where it diverges from the traditional is with the thumb screw at one of the points. To add a little function to your tool, loosen the screw and pop the right angle apart. Once these two pieces are disengaged, it's easy to see that the other two points are hinged, giving you a bevel gauge at one end and a set 45 degree at the other (with a pivoting ruler).

The tool works well in both forms, but as a bevel gauge, it's a bit larger and clunkier than our standard. We missed having the thin little blade and the manueverability that it provides (kind of a small quibble). The Speed Bevel is made of a heavy duty composite and proved to be very durable, which is an area where it dominates the traditional bevel gauge and its flimsy blade.

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When the Speed Bevel shifts back into rafter square mode, it does so with a satisfying click, one that indicates a real sturdiness. After clicking it in and out again and again over the course of a month, we're convinced that it will take some serious damage for this thing to be knocked out of true.

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This is a handy tool and we're in favor of anything that allows us to remove a tool from the bag. It's also seven bucks at Amazon, so it's not like you can go wrong.

At Amazon

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at August 9, 2011 5:29 AM

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