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Baker&Hamilton/Stiletto Tool Company Try Square

The woodcraft way is the simple way. Few tools, and simple tools, supplemented by a helpful gadget or two fashioned in the woods, plus a little ingenuity.

Bernard S. Mason, Woodcraft, 1973

I found this square in a dumpster while working at a national park that hosted a CCC (Civil Conservation Corps) camp during the Great Depression. I was shocked that someone threw it away, but happy that I came along to rescue it. I don't use it much, I keep it more out of nostalgia. I knew men who had served in the 3C's, as they called it, and all talked about how it changed their lives for the better.

It's a Stiletto square, and Stiletto Tool Company (originally called Baker&Hamilton) was highly regarded by all the old timers that I grew up with. Other than the high quality of tools that Baker&Hamilton produced, those old men like the company because the tools were made in San Francisco, not somewhere "back east". That was a term of derision used by those of us from the west slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains, hell, it was used throughout the entire West. This square bears the patent date of April 1909, three years after the Baker&Hamilton factory was destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. How it ended up in a 3C camp I'll never know.

The square is still accurate. I tried to do some research online to see if I could find a current value, no luck yet, though I'm not sure I really want to know.

As a side note, I visited Chris Schwarz's blog just to see what he was up to and his latest post mentions that he bought a used Bridge City Tool Works TS-2 square. After some surfing I found out that the original price for the square was $89. There is one on eBay and its current bid is $125, there are 8 days left in the bidding. I wonder what the final bid will be. I think that Bridge City Tool Works should make those squares again, now that Chris Schwarz owns one, everyone will want one. The classical guitar world is the same way-Ana Vidovic plays on a Jim Redgate guitar, many amateur guitarists want a Redgate guitar so they can sound just like Ms. Vidovic...

But I digress.

Having that square in my shop is a wonderful connection to a time when a group of scrawny boys built some of the finest buildings and structures that stand in the United States today. Do visit the 3C's website that I highlighted above.

Here's short YouTube of Ana Vidovic


  1. Very interesting post Wilson - found and rescued objects acquire a special value of their own. I like that Stiletto trade mark - very artistic.

    Interesting link to the CCC, too.

    Now to play the music...


  2. Stiletto is still in business, I own and use a 12 ounce framing hammer that they make. They claim that it has the striking force as a 21 ounce hammer! Well, not quite, but using such a light hammer has allowed me to stay active as a carpenter.

    Speaking of the 3C's, I have a double bitted cruising axe, a Warren Axe Company one, that is also stamped with the 3C's. That was found near the base of Turner Mountain, California inside Lassen National Forest. Another found object.

  3. Is the cold war ending? A detante? or merely an uneasy truce?

    Giving you a hard time, great post as always.


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