Bar Gauge - 2018 Layout and Marking Tool Swap

  • Advertise with us
Project by GrantA posted 11-10-2018 02:44 PM 1828 views 4 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For my swap item I made a bar gauge inspired by the WoodPeckers OneTimeTool bar gauge.

I used 303 stainless 3/8” solid round bar for the rods, there are 6 at 12”, 2 at 8” and 1 at. 6” plus the two fixed 6” bars. Each end of the bars was locked into a collet on my lathe, faced, chamfered, center drilled and tapped 1/4-20. A stud was installed in one end with blue loctite, in the event threads become damaged they can be replaced.

For the blocks I used 6061 aluminum, rough cut in my bench vise with a sawzall then secured in a 4-jaw chuck on the lathe and faced on 4 sides into 2 matching rectangular blocks. I then offset them in the chuck to bore the through holes, positioning them so I could bore one then carefully loosen the jaws & flip the block for the other. I got to finally use an adjustable hand reamer I picked up a while back to ream the holes a little bigger than 3/8 for the bars to slide.
All edges were eased on the belt sander and the blocks were sanded to a brushed finish for a working tool.

I then drilled the vertical holes (on the drill press) in the blocks for the thumbscrews- on one block there is a countersunk 10-32 machine screw on the bottom securing a fixed rod. That block also has a hole on top threaded 10-32 which can pinch the top sliding rod. The other block has the fixed rod on top with a hole allowing a 10-32 screw to pass into the lower rod’s passageway. The fixed rods themselves are drilled and tapped 10-32 across the 3/8 dimension- this was a little tricky, you can see it in one of the photos mounted in the lathe chuck sideways.

The thumbscrews are female threaded knobs with cut-to-length stainless bolts installed with red loctite- hopefully they stay put!

I machined 3 pairs of brass tips, without the tips the gauge can go as small as 6”, and it can go over 8ft

I sure hope Earl enjoys it!

Thanks for looking! Click the link below for a video

9 comments so far

View EarlS's profile


4754 posts in 3593 days

#1 posted 11-10-2018 02:51 PM

Oh yeah I’m going to enjoy using it, for sure. This is one solid, well made bar gauge. Excellent work Grant!!

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View mikeacg's profile


2038 posts in 2303 days

#2 posted 11-10-2018 04:23 PM

Thanks for the explanation Grant! Looks great and sounds like a lot of work but I’m sure Earl will put it to work!

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View duckmilk's profile


4843 posts in 2570 days

#3 posted 11-10-2018 08:15 PM

That is impressive Grant! Thanks for the video of your work in action.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1224 posts in 1634 days

#4 posted 11-11-2018 12:43 AM

Cool – Thanks for posting your “how to”. I thought about something like this but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Nice execution.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View jeffswildwood's profile


4946 posts in 3222 days

#5 posted 11-11-2018 12:43 AM

Awesome work and a great video. This one should last forever!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

8441 posts in 1827 days

#6 posted 11-11-2018 01:08 AM

Crazy, Grant! Wow!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View HokieKen's profile


19391 posts in 2384 days

#7 posted 11-11-2018 02:38 AM

Excellent work Grant. Definitely a great tool to have and definitely an excellent process for making it happen. I would have just done the cross-drilling and tapping on the drill press. Your way is a lot cooler though ;-). It’s also a knuckle-buster whenever I’m around. :-/

Awesome to see you take the idea and run with it!

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View GrantA's profile


3164 posts in 2653 days

#8 posted 11-11-2018 02:45 AM

Thanks guys! I did a fair amount of thinking about the block / rod interfaces to wrap my head around it! I enjoyed building it though!

Kenny if the bar was a half inch longer it would hit the ways and I’d have to use the drill press- I do currently have a round bar center finder in my shopping cart though! And I have a 2-flute spiral tap on the way to try (didn’t see a 2-flute with straight flutes, gonna try the spiral, should work great!)

View bobasaurus's profile


3735 posts in 4429 days

#9 posted 11-12-2018 05:09 PM

Lots of work machining that all yourself, wow. Looks professional. Is this used for transferring inside dimensions?

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics