Mike & Mads cutting gauge (blog) #1: Making the cutting gauge I (Tutorial)

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Blog entry by mafe posted 03-12-2011 03:50 PM 22452 reads 60 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Mike & Mads cutting gauge (blog) series Part 2: Making the cutting gauge II (Tutorial) »

Mike & Mads cutting gauge (blog)
A gift to a wonderful friend.

Before I start the blog I want to share with you why this blog ever came to life and the gauges were made.

The truth is I did not need another gauge, I have several, and I just recently finished a panel gauge also.

Here on LJ I have meet many wonderful persons, and some I consider personal friends even I never had the joy of meeting them life. Each person for his or her qualities, and for a consistent dialog.

One of these persons is our friend Mike Stefang, he was one of the first I asked to be a buddy, and our friendship have grown a lot since then, he was always there, always with a delicate word or a funny little line when he saw my post’s or blogs.

As some of you have seen Mike have made the Ancient bucket blog, and I have tried to follow, and make my own blog on this project. During this project our friendship grew for me to become even closer, so I felt I wanted to do something to show my appreciation for his dedication in the bucket project, but even more for his friendship and some wonderful mails he have send me.
So what should I give to Mike? This was not so easy to find out, but one day I came across this post from a fellow LJ that had made a cutting gauge, and here I saw Mike’s comment ‘Very nice. I wish I had one like it!!’, and that was it! I had to make him a cutting gauge. I had to make his wish come through!

First I made a sketch in my little sketchbook; a first set of thoughts to follow, and then decided to just build along as the ideas would arrive.

As you can see few things changed on the way, but the basic design is pretty close to the original idea.
I used my latest gauges (have not been posted yet) as a design match, in this way I will not have all tool chaos in the shop.

Brass bolts from Paris, my friend Sodabowsky helped with a nice price.

Some Stanley knife blades for cutters, in this way it’s easy to get new.
And this inspired me to make a new way of holding the blades.

Fist cut some pieces in the size desired.
The piece of dark wood that was a gift to me from my friend Napoleon he gave me at his last job.
I like to talk about rings, that when we do something nice to other people in our life’s it sets of rings, and as you can see we already have a chain reaction here, not bad at all, life is so beautiful for those who dare to be nice, and open hearted, even it also hurts sometimes.

Mark up the design, I used a soft metal ruler for the curve, and made a few before I was happy with the curves meeting. (I know this is a architect talking, but to me this is important – balance).

Finding and marking center line.

And the shoulders of the gauge head.

Cutting a spur for a brass inlay.

And the bar (arm, or whatever it is called).

Here we go!
Can you see it’s coming to life Mike!

Mark up the bar’s with and the desired deepness of the sliding cutout.

On the right you see a piece of square brass rod I cut of.

Time to mix epoxy.

And use epoxy, to glue the brass ‘inlay’ in place.
I choose this solution since I think it’s more elegant than screws and a flat bar.

Glue and clamp.
(Unless you want to fight with glue put paper between the glue and wise).

Here you see why.

Clean up the inlay, I use my disc sander since its fast, and relatively easy to control the right angel.

Now use the copy saw or -.

Band saw.
First I made identical shoulder cuts.

Then the curves, I was too lazy to change for a thinner blade since I knew I would make plenty of finish later.
As always I’m the impatient student as I told you Mike.

Since I cleaned up the front I had to mark again, so I have to say now:
‘measure twice, mark twice and cut once’.

Like this!

Set the table saw for the desired depth.
Make repetitive cuts really close between the marks, and the job is done.

Like so!

Make a test fit. Here with the bolt on top just for visualization.
The rabbets were quite fine a little to the loose size for my taste, but I will approve my work.
Hope you also Mike can.

Mike & Mads are born!
We should make a party!
I probably party by going back and work on the bucket a little, if Mike made a new post.

Marking up the bar ends.
One for a square piece of brass to hold the blade, and one for a round rod that will get a hole in the center, where you can stick a pencil or a awl.

Cutting a piece of brass (I use a special metal saw blade on my table saw).

This is what for!

And brass rod for the other end, I use threaded since it will give a stronger hold.
Also it will give me more work…
Yes Mike I think you can see I’m fighting, and my skills with making knifes really come in handy, in this kind of tiny work.

Marking again, this time with a awl to make sure the drill bits the right place.
In fact I do that always now, I made too many holes a little off center in my life.

Drilling the hole for the rod.
You better check if we are in center Mike.

Finding a drill for the brass piece to make a pre drilling for the scroll saw.

And once more at the drill press.

Finding a matching tap.
Read about this stuff here

And making the thread.
Ohhh yes and now time for tobacco finally.

Nice fit!

Cut off and sand flat.

Scroll saw.
If you don’t have one, just build one:

And this is why!
I cut close to the fit, but stop before.

Cut with a razor sharp chisel, and make a fit as fine as possible.
(I perhaps should have just used the scroll saw since I made few little mistakes here, Mike can say what he think… he is a scroll saw bandit I have seen).

Now a little brake from the gauges, and time to make some cutters.
First I flatten the side.

Then braking of a bunch.

And now grinding them to shape.

Rounded, V-shaped and all normal, in this way it can be used in many situations and for several purposes.
As you can see a quite tight fit between the brass and the blade (I did my best).

So time to split up the blog for those with slow connections out there in the big world.

Next part:

Hope this blog can be to some inspiration, for me it is was so much a pleasure to make these Mike & Mads cutting gauges,

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

16 comments so far

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 4552 days

#1 posted 03-12-2011 04:11 PM

Another great project from you. Great tutorial. I’m putting this one in my favorites, and maybe sometime I’ll give making one of these a try. This is going to be a fine tool. Thanks for the post.

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3501 days

#2 posted 03-12-2011 04:27 PM

I will be making one of my own!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View wilterbeast's profile


44 posts in 3456 days

#3 posted 03-12-2011 04:33 PM

Wow mike’s a lucky guy! This blog came at a perfect time for me as I’m getting ready to build a marking gauge myself, thanks for the tutorial!

View saddletramp's profile


1180 posts in 3446 days

#4 posted 03-12-2011 04:37 PM

I’m new here so I’ve only seen a little of your work but it has all been just superior. Great tutorial, a real keeper. Thank you.

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View fjdavid's profile


28 posts in 3489 days

#5 posted 03-12-2011 04:37 PM

very nice project and great tutorial. I think I learn more from the pictures than the instructions. but that is just the way I am. Keep up the great job and keep the posts coming.

thank you

-- Frank, or

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3805 days

#6 posted 03-12-2011 04:42 PM

The only thing I would suggest if you don’t have a scrollsaw is to use a birdsmouth and a frame saw. (Jeweler’s saw) Once you learn to use a soft touch, They are quite capable and surprisingly quick work.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View rayn's profile


193 posts in 4026 days

#7 posted 03-12-2011 04:54 PM

Great project! I am headed out to the shop to make one of my own…...with your permission of course

-- Ray,Iowa

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4142 days

#8 posted 03-12-2011 05:23 PM

You can’t imagine my surprise and delight at receiving such a wonderful tool from a very generous person hereafter referred to as Mads (Mafe). I plan to do a little blog on it very soon, so I will direct my comments to the build for now.

I loved the idea of using a brass threaded rod screwed into the threaded wood and then drilled through to create a sleeve. In fact I loved all of the many clever features built into this gauge. And yes, I would approve of you using the scroll saw only on that square hole Mads without chisel work. In fact if I were you I would also have used it to cut the brass with a metal scroll saw blade. But it is not my job to tell a master tool maker what tools to use.

The thing is, that because of this blog I will soon know how to build this gauge myself, but I already have one, (gloat, gloat). So if you want one you will have to make it yourself, because you can’t buy one like this. I can assure you that it will be well worth your time and effort and you will never need or want another. First just a hint. This gauge can be easily scaled up in size to please our more macho LJ members.

A simple thank you doesn’t cover how I feel about this gift. I will try to express my gratitude in a different way. Soon.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 3688 days

#9 posted 03-12-2011 05:47 PM

I am always amazed at the creative genius of Mafe. Everything he makes is a masterpiece! It reminds me of how things used to be made by hand before people became impatient…

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View againstthegrain's profile


117 posts in 4560 days

#10 posted 03-12-2011 05:57 PM

As always, GREAT detail. Thanks for the post buddy!!

-- Anchul - Warrensburg, MO: As a Pastor, I am just trying to get closer to Jesus. He was a woodworker too.

View jackass's profile


350 posts in 4520 days

#11 posted 03-12-2011 06:05 PM

Does anyone know why I can’t add this to “My Favourites”? Great post, wonderful detail and super pictures.

-- Jack Keefe Shediac NB Canada

View HallTree's profile


5665 posts in 4575 days

#12 posted 03-12-2011 07:21 PM

I enjoyed looking over your shoulder to watch while you were working on this project. I hope I did not get in the way, not much room in your shop. Nice job.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View Schwieb's profile


1902 posts in 4269 days

#13 posted 03-13-2011 04:50 PM

Mads, You’ve done it again. Very nice project and excellent blog. If I can find some brass fixtures, I know how to make one now.

I’m betting Mike is real proud to receive this from you.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3795 days

#14 posted 03-14-2011 01:52 AM

Thanks for taking me along with this blog.
A fine tool and tutorial.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View PaBull's profile


967 posts in 4473 days

#15 posted 03-15-2011 06:53 AM

Mads, you really have a way with your camera AND also the way you pose your objects. It is joy to read your tutorials. I love your sketches (on some of your other tutorials).

I am challenging you to write a book, a woodworkers tutorial. You could just about do it with the projects you have posted so far. I am really serious Mads!! I could see a coffee table hard cover book. “MADS COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO MOST ANY WOODWORKING SHOP GAGETS”. I can’t wait for it.


-- rhykenologist and plant grower

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