I needed a new marking gauge

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Project by parkerdude posted 05-22-2013 02:31 PM 4409 views 15 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been learning/developing my technique of how to hand-cut dovetails.

As I refined my tools I decided I’d like “A” smaller marking gauge, some inspiration from David Barron on YouTube.

Using materials already in the shop, I used a piece of walnut about 6” X 6”that was squared and planed for thickness,(#5 Stanley), and did a layout on all 4 corners.

A 1/2” router bit was used to cut a dado 3/4” wide and about 3/8” deep in multiple “lifts”. I used a 1/4” thick piece of hardwood between the fence and work-piece to give me the full 3/4” width dado and accomplish a 1 fence set-up, (I spun the walnut 180° to dado the other side of the block).

I made the “beam” by ripping a piece of maple about 16” long and slightly over-sized of 3/4” X 3/4” and fit it to the dados. This beam was cut into 4 X 4” long pieces and routed a 1/4” stopped groove about half way through each one and rotated them to keep the same face against the router fence for a thru groove.

I tried a couple of different base profiles. I think the continuous curved one is the best looking, it’s not the easiest to hold. To my surprise it is the one that works best. It’s shape requires you to push the gauge into the work-piece, and results in consistent marks,

The blades were made from a used jig-saw blade, and ground to a fingernail profile.

2, #8 “Kreg Jig” square drive screws were placed close enough to clamp the blade firmly into place.

I bought 100 “T-nuts” a couple of years ago, so that’s were the threads came from. A 1/4-20 bolt and nut, cut to an appropriate length, and I had MARKING GAUGES!

Unfortunately one of them had a knot that I thought I might be able to work around, but no, it popped out during the routing operations.

So, I wanted a new marking gauge, now I have 3 !!

I guess about 3 – 3.5 hours over 2 or 3 evenings.

They work very well!

Thanks for looking.


-- dust control

4 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118095 posts in 4383 days

#1 posted 05-22-2013 02:59 PM

Good job s very useful tool


View Sergio's profile


470 posts in 3498 days

#2 posted 05-22-2013 03:11 PM

Hm… good design, Thanks for posting

-- - Greetings from Brazil - --

View Underdog's profile


1514 posts in 2841 days

#3 posted 05-22-2013 05:19 PM

Bet it works a lot better than that cheesy Shop Fox gage I bought a few years back. You’d think, being machined, it would be halfway precise. They couldn’t even get the screw hole for the marking bit centered in the rod.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View sgmdwk's profile


308 posts in 2678 days

#4 posted 05-22-2013 06:16 PM

There is greater satisfaction in making a useful tool for yourself than in buying one. Good job on the marking gauges.

-- Dave K.

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