I’ve been doing woodworking and trim for 21 years now. In that time I have accumulated most of the tools I’ll ever need in this field. When it comes to doing trim and finding the angles, for years I have been using an antique bevel and a 99 cent protector. But over a decade ago, I decided I wanted something a little bit more accurate. I decided to buy the Starrett Miter Saw Protractor (Model 505A-12) I remember it because it cost $45 back then and I was hoping it was going to be worth it.
It has been a very good and accurate tool over the years. But I have been living in a Timex world and wondered if i should enter into the digital age. So I recently decided to try the TREND 7” Angle Gauge and compare how I liked it against my old, tried and true, Starrett.
I made my online purchase from McFeelys.com and received it in less than 2 days. Once I removed it from the package, it was pretty much straight forward. Insert the battery and go.
To turn it on you just merely tap the on/off button. With the gauge closed hit the zero button and hold for a half a second. It calibrates itself to zero. When opened to its full length the LED screen will show 180 degrees. At any point the LED screen can be zeroed out by pressing the button and then take a measurement. Hold the on/off button for 3 seconds to turn the tool off. If I forget to turn the angle finder off, after 6 minutes of not using the tool it automatically turns off.
I’ve been using it now for about 2 weeks, and here is my pros and cons of the tool.
The Trend Angle Gauge has a nice big LED screen to clearly show the angle degree measurement making it very easy to read. There is also a ruler scale on the arms. The scale is in Imperial and Metric scale and has increments marks of 1/32”. The price is easy on the wallet too. Coming in at around $32 this makes it an easy decision to purchase.
However, with everything in life, there is room for improvement. In my opinion the steel arms feel a little thin. I would have liked the thickness of the gauge metal to be thicker. There is also a lock on it to hold the angle position, but it doesn’t hold it secure enough making it easy for me to bump it and lose my measurement. When doing miter cuts, I have to remember to divide the angle in half. It doesn’t have a function to give the mitered cut angle.
The ruler scale is a nice little feature added to the angle finder, however the LED screen covers up the first 1 ½” of the ruler. It’s not a big deal considering that I typically will use my tape measure to get an accurate length.
If it sounds as if I am being hard on Trend, I’ll compare it to the Starrett angle finder.
The Starrett is 12” in length and is a solid, beefy piece of aluminum. The scale is accurate to read. It has both single readings and miter cut reading on the scale making it fast and easy. The scale has a singlecut measurement that goes in increments of 2 degrees while the miter cuts scale goes in increments of 1 degree.
Just like the Trend angle finder, some improvements could be made on the Starrett. My biggest concern is the actual scale is just a sticker. I created a box to keep it in because if the sticker ever gets scratched, the tool is worthless. Also because the scale for a single cut goes in increments of 2 degrees, this makes it hard to be ultra precise. The scale is small to read, making me have to put on glasses to see it clearly. There is no locking mechanism to hold the angle in place, making it easy to bump and lose the reading. The arms are just plain and have no ruler scale on them. And the cost on it ranges anywhere from $75 to $100 online.
Bottom line I think both have good features on them, but the price and “easy to read” numbers on the scale gives the Trend a slight advantage over the Starrett in my opinion. And McFeely’s for a limited time only and while supplies last will give the newsletter readers a 30% off if you use the coupon code and link. I might add, there is a shipping charge of $7.50. But if you purchase a little more, you can get shipping for free.
Coupon Code E9B1
Valid until 4/15/2019
Discount 30% off – MSRP $31.60
McFeely’s Trend Angle Finder link
This is a decent tool that will work fine for anybody’s work shop. After all, the purpose of this newsletter is to provide good woodworking knowledge, good woodworking tools, to give good woodworking results. Chad Stanton- Professional Furniture Maker
Summary of Starrett vs Trend Angle Finders
Single cut scale increments of 2 degrees
Miter cut scale increments of 1 degree
Scale reading is just a sticker
Doesn’t lock into position
No ruler scale on arms
Cost $75 on up
Easy to read
Ruler scale on arms mm and 1/32 increments
Arms, thin gauge
Doesn’t give miter cut angle
Ruler scale on arms mm and 1/32 increments but digital reader covers the first 1 ½”
Battery dies you are done