An odd job is an informal method of irregular employment, usually manual or menial unskilled work. Odd jobs are often temporary and short term, picked up to supplement income. An odd job differs from temporary employment in that there is usually no contract between parties, and pay is given under the table. Sometimes pay is skipped entirely in favor of a barter. Odd jobs are classified as part of the informal economy.

A simple example of an odd job is paying your neighbor to mow your lawn for $20. This can be extended into mowing the lawn every two weeks, or maybe giving him beer in instead of money. Or perhaps the neighbor's kid is mowing the lawn instead, thus gently circumventing child labor laws in order for the kid to gain some extra money. A classic cliche odd job is washing dishes at a restaurant when you can't pay for your meal.

Odd jobs take place at all levels of an economic structure, but employment is always voluntary between the two parties. Odd jobs also take place in both rural and urban settings, with jobs ranging from manual labor to data entry. Some people will string together a bunch of odd jobs, or perhaps be available to several parties at once in order to produce a regular stream of income.

An odd-job (usually, but not always, hyphenated) is what a combination square wishes it could be. Appearing about the same time as the combination square (invented in the late 1870s, patented in 1879), the odd-job (invented circa 1888) is an adjustable try square / T square, and inside miter square, a scribing tool, a depth gauge, a plumb level, and a ruler. It may also include a depth marking scribe and a spirit level.

In structure it is a simple blade and head, like a combination square; it just has a much cooler head. The blade is a steel ruler, which is clamped in a brass (traditional) or steel (modern) head. The head is shaped like a chunky arrow, with the blade able to slide out over the point of the arrow. When the blade is pulled back out of the way, the arrow's point forms a right angle for squaring the inside of miter joints or functioning as a miter square (both right and left handed). The back side of the head is a 'T', which when the blade slides through the grove in the center of the 'T' functions as a try square and a T square, as well as a depth gauge (measuring from the base of the head down to the end of the blade). The scribing tool is affixed to a long arm, allowing it to act as a beam compass for marking out arcs and circles. Modern versions will come with a spirit level, and most versions will have an attachment point for a string so that the heavy head can be used as a plumb bob when removed from the blade.

Given that the basic difference between this and a combination square is that the head is chunky enough to be used as a try square, it's odd that we don't see more squares like this; the double square is almost the same thing, except the head makes an 'L' with the blade instead of straddling it. Of course, the proper odd-job head also forms a miter angle and comes with a proper scibing tool, making it much better than any double square.

Stanley produced these from the late 1880s to the early 1930s, when they suddenly disappeared. You can find some tool companies making modern versions, but they are still hard to find, and thus a bit expensive.

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