What is a Sliding T Bevel Used For?

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Every woodworking shop will have a wide selection of carpentry tools, both power and hand.  One never knows what tool will become indispensable to a project, and the wider the selection of tools, the better.  One such tool is the Sliding T Bevel.

While you may not be familiar with this tool, there are times when it is essential to a project, especially when you need to transfer angles from one piece of wood to another.

Originally invented in 1870 by J. Robinson, his mechanism remains in use as the best to this day.  The Sliding T Bevel is also known as a bevel gauge or false square.  It’s an adjustable gauge used for setting angles and for transferring that exact angle to another or other pieces of wood. 

The sliding bevel can be used to duplicate an existing angle to an exact degree when that angle will be consistent throughout the piece you are making.  It is an essential tool for laying out that angle and checking an angle’s consistency.

Adjustable by a thumbscrew or wing nut style set screw, the metal sliding piece (sliding bevel) in angle with the handle or stock will accurately measure angles for cutting and can be used with a compass to ascertain the angle measurement.  The metal sliding bevel will give the tool a long life and maintain its accuracy.

What Angles Can a Sliding T Bevel Measure?

Measuring Angles

The smooth sliding blade of a Sliding T Bevel can measure and lay out angles accurately from between 0 degrees to 180 degrees, whether measuring new or duplicating existing angles to transfer to another piece.  This is especially helpful when 90-degree angles are not possible.

This ability can be essential in many construction jobs as well as in your shop.  Think of the angle of rafters in roof construction, for instance, laying out dovetails, picture frame corners, marking framing cuts, or legs for a table in your shop.

A Sliding T Bevel differs from a try square as having a movable blade.  Its angle is easily changed, as noted earlier, with a simple thumbscrew or wing nut loosened and tightened for the proper and accurate angle measurement.

It also differs from an angle finder so-called, in that you can duplicate and transfer an angle from one piece of “something” to another. In contrast, a digital angle finder will simply identify the angle from whatever you set as the baseline “zero.”  Woodworkers have been joining wood for a long time without digital assistance, at least since 1870, using a Sliding T Bevel.

By any name or definition, a Sliding T Bevel is a handy tool to have when you need to duplicate angles accurately among several or many pieces of wood.

How Much Is A Sliding T Bevel?

How Much Is A Sliding T Bevel

Well, it depends.  Among the price determiners for a Sliding T Bevel are:

  • Size of the handle
  • Size of the sliding blade
  • Construction material

But, it won’t come close to breaking the bank.  In our research, we found plastic-handled, stainless steel 8” blade models for a little as $4.99; metal stock and 6” blade models for $143; and even a set of two Stanley wood and brass vintage models for $200.

However, most fall into the very lower range of prices from $10 – $30, again depending on the materials used to manufacture them.

In case these descriptions don’t make it very clear, we found a very helpful video that will demonstrate how to use a Sliding T Bevel.

When you need one, you’ll be very glad you have one.  And, since they are inexpensive, it makes sense to add one to your tool inventory in the shop.  They have a good shelf life, are easy to use, and are handy when needed.

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