Marking gauge from scrap oak.

One can never have too many tools.  Well…maybe.  But when you are still basically starting out, like I am, you still find a need for random things that would make life easier in the shop every now and then (more often than I’d like, actually).

A marking gauge is just one of those things.  Working on the big (for me) dovetails on the secret project that will be revealed in a few weeks, got me thinking how much easier it would be to just use a marking gauge and scribe equal lines.  No more guesswork and fidgeting with pencils and balancing wood on end.  Not to mention I could have used one on a number of different projects so far.

After a hand plane accident (no, I wasn’t hurt but the plane will never recover…it has gone to the workshop in the sky…but that’s another post) I found myself at a standstill on the project until I could get a replacement.  Not being able to just snap my fingers like Q and  have one appear in front of me in a flash, I have to do some research and clear finances.  This time, I will NOT go for the low end, made in India model.

That’s when I happened across the Logan Cabinet Shoppe website.   Bob Rozaieski made a wonderful video on how to make a marking gauge.  I chose option 2, which uses a dowel to secure the marking arm.  Otherwise I tried to stick to his instructions with the exception of  my available wood.  I used 3/4″ oak glued together to make the fence, then ripped a 3/4″ square strip for the arm.  The dowel is 3/8″ oak.

I won’t bore you with the details (just watch Bob’s video and you’ll see pretty much what I did…not as nicely though).

IMAG2864Since I’m left handed (I know, call out the writing police) I made it opposite the way he did…IMAG2865But I tested it out and it works like a charm!  I’m quite pleased with myself, actually.  The fit of the square arm isn’t perfect but it’s the best mortise I’ve ever made.  The pin is just a finishing nail, ground to a flat sided point on the belt sander and tapped through the arm.  Nothing fancy but it works!

Thanks for a great much-needed project, Bob!



About Marcus Richardson

Marcus attended the University of Delaware and later graduated from law school at the age of 26. Since then, he has at times been employed (or not) as: a stock boy, a cashier, a department manager at a home furnishing store, an assistant manager at and arts and crafts store, an unemployed handyman, husband, cook, groundskeeper, spider killer extraordinaire, stay at home dad, and a writer.
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