Sunday, March 3Not Your Ordinary English-Tagalog Dictionary

What is Carpenter’s Square in Tagalog? History, Types, and Uses

Also known as steel square or framing square, a carpenter’s square in Tagalog is called “eskwala.” This L-shaped carpentry tool is used to measure and mark the accuracy of right angles for framing floors, walls, roofs, etc. There are several types of squares used in woodworking and metalworking, depending on where you will use them.

carpenters square in Tagalog
Carpenter’s square in the Philippines

The origin of the right angle frame tool is not clear. Nonetheless, wooden try squares have been discovered and were believed to be from Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome. The term “square” was derived from Old French “esquire” or “esquarre.” As early as 1250, it was also used to describe a measuring tool that can measure right angles. 

There were also writings claiming that ancient Greek architect Theodorus of Samos invented the square tool. However, records show that squares have been found in the ruins of prehistoric nations, which existed long before Theodorus was born. The early framing squares had no lines and numbers or measurement scale, except until the 1800s. 

However, Francis Eaton, a house carpenter from Gloucestershire, England who passed away in 1633, reportedly used hammers, saws, and a square. Unfortunately, there are no official documents to prove the claim. Governor Theophilus Eaton of New Haven, Connecticut, who died in 1657, was also said to have owned two iron squares. 

Meanwhile, Silas Hawes is considered the inventor of the steel carpenter’s square, and his invention was patented in 1819. Hawes is a blacksmith from South Shaftsbury, Vermont. However, most patent records at that time were destroyed by fires, and his design was never published. Yet, it led to the establishment of the Eagle Square Company in 1859. 

The longer side of the framing square is called “blade” and normally measures 2 x 24 inches. On the other hand, the shorter side is called “tongue” and measures 1.5 x 16 inches. Despite many designs of carpenter’s squares, the most commonly used by carpenters is the try square. The word “try” means it is used to try if a workpiece is a square. 

The combination square is a more sophisticated right angle frame tool and has an adjustable ruled blade. This multi-purpose tool also has a built-in level and a 45-degree angled surface that can mark 45-degree angles. The speed square has a right triangle shape and a flange on its base. It helps you mark cut lines at 45 and 90 degrees. 

In the Philippines, the eskwala is also a common tool in carpentry and woodworking shops. While using it, you will notice that local carpenters have a pencil behind their ears. But unlike the hammer and saw, the carpenter’s square is not commonly found in households. When needed, Filipinos can easily borrow it from their neighbor carpenter. 

Use eskwala in a sentence.


Kung gusto mong gumawa ng kahoy na lamesa o kama, dapat mayroon kang eskwala. 


If you want to make a wooden table or bed, you should have a framing square.

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