Reply by Xjumper65

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Posted on Panel Gauge-Some pre-build questions

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8 posts in 3776 days

#1 posted 07-05-2017 07:23 PM


It may be a bit late for an answer to this, but I did without a panel gauge for years by measuring from the edge and snapping a chalk line. I kept meaning to build one, but didn’t get around to it for a long time so if you are like me, you may not have made yours yet. LOL. Seriously though, I think 24” is long enough for most people and most applications. I know this is certainly true for what I do and how I do it. Really though, it all depends on 1) the scale and type of things you tend to make and 2) your methods of work.

1) TYPE/SCALE: I have a small hand tools shop so I rarely take on large scale furniture projects (except for the occasional bookcase). For most bookcase designs, 24” is plenty (especially if you use frame and panel construction). If however, you make dining room tables, I would go longer to do the table tops.
2) MEATHODS: Because I use hand tools almost exclusively I need a panel gauge for EVERYTHING I make with a panel. If I used a tablesaw for cutting panels, I might not need a gauge depending on whether I used plywood or real wood.

BOTTOM LINE: If just 5% of the panels you make are more than 24”, having a gauge that is sized to 36” is a pain in the neck 95% of the time. I do have a suggestion that you may not have considered-why not make a 24” beam and then make a second longer beam of 36’ or 48”? Beams are really pretty quick to make and can be hand planed to a perfect fit in a few minutes to sneak up on a perfect fit. You could even have one beam in each of the 3 lengths (24”, 36” and 48”) and simply use the smallest beam necessary for the task at hand without unwanted length getting in the way. I made mine to 24” and told myself if I ever found myself in need of a longer one, I would just take 20 minutes and make it. I even considered some a coupling set up to extend my beam, but decided in the end that a whole new beam was best for me.

Good luck with yours if you haven’t done it already.



-- -Repectfully, DJ

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