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Taytools Brass Wheel Marking Gauge w/ Microadjust

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Review by jayseedub posted 08-05-2020 11:08 PM 752 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Taytools Brass Wheel Marking Gauge w/ Microadjust No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have a non-micro-adjusting Veritas wheel marking gauge, and I wanted a micro-adjusting feature, so I bought the Taytools one for just a little more than the price as it would have been to upgrade my current Veritas gauge with their micro-adjust rod retro-fit option (https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop/tools/hand-tools/marking-and-measuring/marking-accessories/103120-micro-adjust-rod-for-veritas-wheel-marking-gauge?item=05N3631).

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I bought this wheel marking gauge at the same time that I bought my (disappointing) iGauging combination squares (reviewed here: https://www.lumberjocks.com/reviews/12128), and again my efforts to save money have just saddened me.

Let’s get the “good” out of the way. They marking gauge is made of good quality materials, it’s well machined (sort of—more on that later), and it comes with two additional replacement wheels—for $33. Anyone who has dropped their marking gauge on the floor knows that a dinged or dented marking wheel is basically worthless, so having two replacements on hand is great insurance against that inevitability (and re-inevitability!). The heft is good, balance feels a little off, but I don’t buy a marking gauge for its balance, right? It’s a nice, heavy piece of machinery, and smooth everywhere it’s supposed to be.

The knobs and adjustment mechanism are knurled nicely, the face is smoothly machined, and it’s functional. The cutter… cuts. It cut me really, really well a few weeks ago on my fingertip so I can vouch for its sharpness! The cutter retracts far into the head for protection. That’s good.

So what’s not to like?

1) At first, I felt like the head slides far too effortlessly up and down the beam of the gauge. I liked the slight resistance that the Veritas gauge offers, so that you can sort of “sneak up” on your measurement. The far-too-loose sliding makes it difficult—but then the micro-adjust feature should help with that, so maybe it’s not a big deal. Then I discovered that there is a small nylon set-screw underneath the head that can be adjusted to provide some resistance, and that helped to minimize that first (now erroneous) concern.

I still don’t feel like the resistance is quite right though—a little tightening makes it too tight, and just a little less makes it too loose. It’s “fine,” but not really very good, overall, still. It’s better than bad, anyway….

2) Once fully tightened, the head actually still wobbles. That’s right—the head wobbles, even once it’s fully tightened. Why? Because the beam is a full .25 mm smaller than the hole in the head. Now, honestly, I don’t know if that’s causing any problems with my marking (and maybe it truly doesn’t)—but it shouldn’t wobble. With the amount of wobble I can see that it could affect my marking by a few thousands of an inch, which might be a problem for you and might not. But that’s something you shouldn’t have to worry about.

3) How about the micro-adjust feature? Do I like that? Not really. First, the micro-adjust wheel suffers from the same lack of resistance that the rest of the gauge exhibits. You’d think it’d be good to have a free-spinning adjustment wheel—but that also means that it’s super easy to just knock it the slightest bit and lose whatever adjustment you just set in before fully tightening up the measurement. It’s far, far to loose and spins far too easily! And there seems to be a small amount of backlash in the screw mechanism, so that it’s not immediately responsive to micro-adjustment like it ought to be. “Micro” should mean micro_—instead it comes to mean “maybe.”

The threading pitch on the micro-adjustment knob is well machined and smooth, but lower (spaced wider) than I’d like. A micro-adjust knob should be extremely refined, very finely pitched, and should only advance or retract in super small amounts. This might be nitpicky, but I think it should be more finely pitched, for truly MICRO adjustment. Since the adjustment knob is threaded on two sides (forward on the head, and backward on the back-knob), any adjustment movement moves in double-time or double-distance—something that could be halved by just making the knob thread onto one or the other. Twelve or thirteen quarter-turn finger twists advances/retracts the cutter a full 5/8 of an inch. Nothing “micro” about that.

4) The locking bolts lock into a groove on the beam—and the groove is too wide. That makes the head flop back and forth just the smallest amount—but again the looseness doesn’t allow the user to really be precise. Machining that groove better would snug things up.

It is usable? Yeah. But I was certainly spoiled by the Veritas gauge, and the problems with the Taytools gauge would be relatively easy (for them) to fix. Fit the beam better to the bore. Thread the knob on only one of the adjustment pieces. Add a rubber gasket or washer for some resistance (or something!). Machine the beam’s groove to tighter tolerances.

So…. it’s hard to set the gauge to your near-measurement because of a lack of resistance, and then it’s harder even to micro-adjust to your exact measurement because of (sing it with me now) a lack of resistance. Save your pennies and buy the Veritas until those problems are fixed.




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jayseedub

169 posts in 2813 days



9 comments so far

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LittleBlackDuck

5424 posts in 1668 days


#1 posted 08-06-2020 12:00 AM

Another great thorough review jay’...

I still think you are a tad too generous with your scores. However, it depends on your scoring method…

Just going by your summary, I would have, maybe unjustifiably, dropped it to 1 star, if I outright recommended another product.

Nevertheless, if fully read and ignoring the score, the review is thorough enough to help people make up their own minds regarding purchase.

PS. Personally I may criticise blatantly over priced items, however, I refuse to compromise quality/functionality with cost.

PPS. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! I am guilty of what a ”accused” Bucky of with his lack of review in your previous post. Though you did poo-poo an iGAGING product (though I was not to know), I got this iGAGING gauge as a present,

and never did a review, thereby causing you this expense.
In my defence though, I have never really used it as I use my Woodpecker gauges,

which gives rise to MEA CULPA² as I never did a review on this one either… my 2nd. line of defence is that too many LJ members shitcan Woodpecker stuff due to cost, so I baulked… which loops back to my first PS.

PPS. The iGAGING has no slop… tight aza…!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View jayseedub's profile

jayseedub

169 posts in 2813 days


#2 posted 08-06-2020 12:39 AM



Another great thorough review jay ...

I still think you are a tad too generous with your scores. However, it depends on your scoring method…

Just going by your summary, I would have, maybe unjustifiably, dropped it to 1 star, if I outright recommended another product.

Nevertheless, if fully read and ignoring the score, the review is thorough enough to help people make up their own minds regarding purchase.

PPS. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! I am guilty of what a ”accused” Bucky of with his lack of review in your previous post. Though you did poo-poo an iGAGING product (though I was not to know), I got this iGAGING gauge as a present,PPS. The iGAGING has no slop… tight aza…*!

- LittleBlackDuck

I’ve had some iGaging stuff and otherwise have been satisfied with it—I guess it’s their digital stuff that they do well enough! I wouldn’t besmirch an entire brand, for sure!

Regarding star ratings, I’m quite stingy with a five-star rating, but also hesitant to really totally trash a product with a one or two star rating. My perspective has been spoiled a bit with some of the higher-end equipment—-and value and function are two things that just about automatically earn three stars for me. Both the squares I reviewed and this marking gauge are functional—just not up to very high standards. An entry-level woodworker would probably be quite satisfied with both products: They’re accurate enough, they do what they purport to do, they’re just not well-refined for higher standards (and higher costs).

As you also suggest, value does have something to do with not giving them a two- or one-star rating.

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LittleBlackDuck

5424 posts in 1668 days


#3 posted 08-06-2020 12:48 AM


... An entry-level woodworker would probably be quite satisfied with both products: They re accurate enough, they do what they purport to do, they re just not well-refined for higher standards (and higher costs).
- jayseedub

I think we might disagree there j... I feel it’s often an entry-level woodie that could benefit most from higher end equipment. Veterans have workarounds… newbies don’t have that luxury and better equipment will percolate them up the experience tree just that tad faster.

My claim to fame is not my ability but my better equipment, that permit me to aspire just that little higher…. time to get kicked off my soap-box!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

4869 posts in 2836 days


#4 posted 08-06-2020 05:35 PM

You have had bad luck buying tools.

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3443 posts in 2645 days


#5 posted 08-06-2020 06:08 PM

I’m always up for a bargain, but I decided to support Glen-Drake tools, the folks the small business owner who invented the microadjust wheel marking gauge, and bought one of these:

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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jayseedub

169 posts in 2813 days


#6 posted 08-06-2020 08:20 PM

That Glen-Drake marking gauge could NOT look more exactly like the Taytools one I have—just three times as expensive. Thanks for sharing it (though, to be fair, everything on their website looks like it’s about three times as expensive as they maybe should be! A plane-setting hammer for $249? That seems like it’s a little steep!)

View metolius's profile

metolius

210 posts in 1578 days


#7 posted 08-06-2020 09:25 PM

Its true, the Taytools is a Glen-Drake/Lie-Nelson/Tite-Mark reproduction.

A few months ago I was shopping for a good gauge. Tired of tools I consider disposable, I decided to pass the inexpensive and get a Tite-mark.

I’ve been extremely happy with the Tite-mark and have wondered if I’d be as well with the repro.
Thanks for filling in that blank spot in my head.

-- derek / oregon

View RCCinNC's profile

RCCinNC

268 posts in 1174 days


#8 posted 08-07-2020 01:51 AM

Excellent review. I’m not in the market for a marking gauge, but if I were, I’d be more than appreciative of your detail and description.
Once again…we more often than not get what we pay for. If it’s something simple, I’ve found deals out there, but quality machining and finish in a tool that requires consistency and accuracy seems to rarely come cheap.

Nice try though! Been there, done that…and I’m sure I’ll continue doing so. ; )

-- Live to putter...putter to live!

View RCCinNC's profile

RCCinNC

268 posts in 1174 days


#9 posted 08-07-2020 01:56 AM


... An entry-level woodworker would probably be quite satisfied with both products: They re accurate enough, they do what they purport to do, they re just not well-refined for higher standards (and higher costs).
- jayseedub

I think we might disagree there j... I feel it s often an entry-level woodie that could benefit most from higher end equipment. Veterans have workarounds… newbies don t have that luxury and better equipment will percolate them up the experience tree just that tad faster.

My claim to fame is not my ability but my better equipment, that permit me to aspire just that little higher…. time to get kicked off my soap-box!

- LittleBlackDuck


Amen. I’m with you a thousand percent LBD. But if we can’t blame our failures on our tools, then it’s got to be…gasp!...our fault.
Hence, the silver lining for crappy tool ownership… ; )

-- Live to putter...putter to live!

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