3 in 1 Dovetail Marking Gage

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Project by RustyL posted 01-26-2011 09:07 AM 8172 views 14 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After taking the 30 day dovetail challenge and pulling out my bevel gage, try square, and rule each day, I knew I needed a preset angle and easier layout tools. These gages were made from a half-inch strip of 1/8” hobby plywood and a 3/8” x 3/4” strip of hardwood. The plywood is inset leaving a distance of 1/4” and set along the hardwood at an inch and a half. One side gives me a square and the other an angle for the dovetail.

The gage on the left allows me to mark 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 3/4, 1, 1-1/4, 1-1/2, 90 deg, and 1:6 angle. I brought the dimensions into spec on my sander then put CA (super-glue) on the edges to strengthen the gage for wear.

The first one had a little slop in the dado so I used a screw to hold it square while the glue set. My woodburner did a better job of marking the sizes on the second one.

-- Don't apprentice under anyone with less than ten fingers.

6 comments so far

View lew's profile


12840 posts in 4235 days

#1 posted 01-26-2011 05:20 PM

Cool idea!!

Bet they really do save time during the layout phase.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View mpounders's profile


933 posts in 3375 days

#2 posted 01-27-2011 12:44 AM

I have always wanted to try handcut dovetails and wanted to make a gauge. I believe I understand your pictures enough to do that. But here’s my stupid question: I am guessing 1:6 and 1:8 refer to the angle, but I really have no clue what that means or how to accurately create that angle. Give me a hint on how to lay it out on a piece of paper so I can make a template. I see it is 1/2” wide at the base of both angles… do you just measure out a certain distance on each side to the point of the gauge or what?

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

View RustyL's profile


47 posts in 3171 days

#3 posted 01-27-2011 04:35 AM

Your correct, the 1:6 and 1:8 refer to the slope of the angles. An easy way to set them without a protractor is by marking out 1” in the x dimension and 8” in the y, or by setting your bevel gage up on a framing square. You can cut the dimensions in half if that is easier to 1/2” and 4” or (1/4” and 2” which is what my gage measures on the tapered side). Trig will calculate the angles to the following:
1:5 = 11.5 deg.
1:6 = 9.5 deg.
1:7 = 8 deg.
1:8 = 7 deg.
1:9 = 6.5 deg.

Hope this helps.

-- Don't apprentice under anyone with less than ten fingers.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18657 posts in 4155 days

#4 posted 01-27-2011 08:41 AM

Nice job. On my to do list, someday :-)) Great idea putting all those other measurements on them.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View vanzemaljac's profile


334 posts in 3981 days

#5 posted 01-27-2011 09:57 PM

Serbian to English translation
excellent and practical conceptual design sablona

-- Lathe and my imagination will do everything to realize my dreams...Vanzemaljac

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3654 days

#6 posted 01-27-2011 10:45 PM

Oh, that is SO cool !!!

[translated to Serbian: Ох, то је тако кул!]

-- -- Neil

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