Swanson took the age old framing square and made it into a folding, 5-in-1 layout tool they are calling the T001WZ Framing Wizard. This new tool makes space and functionality top priorities! Forget about trying to figure out where to keep your old square; now that you have this one available, you can fold it in half and throw it in your tool bag. With its versatile use, you can just whip it out and use it as a framing square, tri-square, miter square, angle finder or as a saw guide.
Our test tool arrived in a blister carded package that let you touch the tool but kept all the small parts safe from loss. The Swanson T001WZ Framing Wizard is made of high grade aluminum that is hard coat anodized in a bright blue color. All the markings on the tool are deeply laser etched into the aluminum which makes it very easy to read due to the high contrast. The hinged mechanism has an easily adjustable set screw and there is an Allen wrench included that allows you to bring the square back to a perfect 90 degree if squareness is ever lost. To add further functionality, there is a removable layout tab that has a thumb set screw so you can attach it to the Framing Wizard and help aid in 12″ and 16″ stud spacing layout. The last thing included in the packaging is a handy instructional and reference book that covers almost all aspects of common framing, including roof and stair layout with tips that are specific to the use of the Framing Wizard.
In our testing of this tool, we noticed a few interesting things. The first was that you can’t quite throw away your old framing square, or at least you need to keep some kind of square around that you can use as a test tool to make sure the Framing Wizard is true and square. Adjustments are easily made by the small Allen screw that is at the base of the hinge. We only had to set our square initially when we received it and it didn’t change through the course of our time using it. We do suspect that since aluminum is a soft metal, it will eventually wear and therefore will need to be adjusted again. Also, we suggest that you don’t “whip” the square open as this will cause excess wear at the hinge and the set screw point causing the square to open further than 90 degrees. We would advise that you check the squareness of the Framing Wizard every now and then. In the field, an easy way to check the accuracy of the square is by fully opening the swing arm to full open, placing it on a board with the raised edge tight against the board and drawing a straight line. Then you flip it over and draw a straight line again. If the lines are right over each other, then the square is accurate.
Some of the other very handy uses we tried with our Framing Wizard were to figure out the pitch of an existing roof, find the angles when framing a new roof, and also lay out some stairs. Of course some of these would not be as easy to do with a regular square, but was easily accomplished with the Framing Wizard because of its pivoting ability. We do wish that the Framing Wizard had a way to positively lock in an angle though.
We think the Swanson T001WZ Framing Wizard is a well made tool that definitely serves many purposes. We like to see tools that are multipurpose, yet are still easy to use. The Framing Wizard combines many features into a compact and durable package. For our performance rating we gave this tool a 7/10 because of its usefulness and though we would have scored it higher if it had a way to positively “lock” in an angle. For our value rating we gave the Framing Wizard an 8/10 because, for the money, it represents good quality combined with real world functionality.