Vintage Marking Gauge

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Forum topic by ruddhess posted 03-16-2015 01:57 AM 2279 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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117 posts in 2704 days

03-16-2015 01:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: brass hardwood marking gauge vintage antique flea market

I found this marking gauge at a local flea market/antique store. I think the only reason it was still there was the price. I paid the $37.50 for it even though that seemed like a lot. I haven’t researched the price of a good marking gauge, so maybe someone out there has an idea if I got a decent deal or no. It looks like good quality brass and wood. I’m not sure what kind of wood this is either. It seems like a very hard wood.

I just snapped a few quick photos, some are a bit fuzzy.

Here is a picture of the face with those brass insets.

They don’t go all the way through, here is the back side.

-- Rodney, Arkansas

6 replies so far

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 2831 days

#1 posted 03-16-2015 03:47 AM

Marking gauges can sell for 10 bucks to over 100 bucks. That’s a nice design. I wonder if it was made by the craftsman. If the cutter is a pin I’d suggest filing it into a knife point. Much easier to do across brain marking with a knife point. Also it won’t wander as much marking with the grain.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View ruddhess's profile


117 posts in 2704 days

#2 posted 03-16-2015 04:49 AM


I haven’t examined it closely yet for any brand or trademark stamps yet, but as I recall it did not seem to have any prominent markings. I do wish I had gotten a picture of the 6 or 7 brass rivets (not sure what to call them) on the face of the oval part (the side that slides against the wood). I know they are there to keep the wood from being ‘rubbed’ away over the years. I’ve never seen anything like that on a marking gauge before. I’ll take a look and see if it has any identifying marks or anything. The cutter does seem to be a pin. It was of such good quality that I didn’t mind too much spending the money on it. It seems to be in a lot better shape than many I’ve seen for sale at antique and flea markets. Perhaps because so many people collect or buy for use themselves. This one is very smooth and has a patina on the wood, so I think it is old and has been in use for a while.

-- Rodney, Arkansas

View Tugboater78's profile


2798 posts in 3686 days

#3 posted 03-16-2015 10:22 AM

Probably made of beech, the look of the brass where the cutter is looks like same style my stanley mortice gauge has.

-- "....put that handsaw to work and make it earn its keep. - summerfi" <==< JuStiN >==>=->

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 3456 days

#4 posted 03-16-2015 02:46 PM

You paid more than I’ve seen most marking gauges go for, but “It was of such good quality that I didn’t mind too much spending the money on it.” is all that really matters. The only ones I see go for a lot are the ones made of rosewood or some special wood. It does seem like beech, but I’m not very good at identifying. A knife point is good for cross grain marking but a point like that seems like it marks better along the grain and doesn’t deviate by trying to follow the grain the way a knife edge would. You can find or make a cutting gauge with a blade if you want.

View ruddhess's profile


117 posts in 2704 days

#5 posted 03-16-2015 03:10 PM

Hey all,

I did a bit of research on oval head marking gauges and even though I haven’t had the chance to take a nice picture of the circular brass “studs” on the face of the head (not ‘mustache’ shape like some of the Stanley’s), nor re-examined the rule for trademark or maker’s name, I did find a couple of references to marking gauges that this one seems to fit:

If it is a Chapin-Stevens, then I don’t think I paid too much. I really liked it and ‘this time’ I actually went for it and bought it! I have passed up many other tools that when I went back to buy them, they were gone. I guess in a way I got lucky this time that this marking gauge was still there.

-- Rodney, Arkansas

View ruddhess's profile


117 posts in 2704 days

#6 posted 03-16-2015 03:21 PM


Like you and Tom mentioned, I have noticed that the pin type marking gauges do such a great job marking with the grain on the sides of the wood, but not as good on the end grain. I like your idea of making a special marking gauge with a knife just for end grain marking. I do a bit of leather work and I have noticed how similar woodworking marking gauges and my wooden strap cutter are. I’m not sure but what those same blades for the strap cutter wouldn’t work in a blade style marking gauge. I’ll have to experiment. I only have a couple of pieces of hard wood laying around and I don’t even know what kind it is. I don’t know where it came from even, and I don’t think it’s really that hard of wood – might be elm or something. I’ll have to check around to find a good place to get some smaller pieces of hard wood for tools and such. We have a couple places locally (Flynt & Son Hardwood and White River Hardwoods in Fayetteville, AR).

-- Rodney, Arkansas

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