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Poor Man's Tools #3: Depth Gauge

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Blog entry by handsawgeek posted 02-26-2015 02:06 PM 1626 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Center Finder Part 3 of Poor Man's Tools series Part 4: Sanding Block »

Ah, the things that one can make with just a length of dowel, a scrap of wood, and some random bits of hardware!

Today’s handsawgeek Poor Man’s Tool offering combines just those very materials to fashion an accurate and functional depth gauge for use in bowl, box, and vase turning.

Simply put, a length of dowel is sharpened on one end, poked through a hole drilled in a straight piece of scrap wood, and secured at various positions by a set screw held by whatever appropriate hardware can be found around the shop.

The biggest concern here as far as accuracy goes is that the cross –beam should be as straight and square as possible, and the hole should be drilled so that the dowel is exactly perpendicular to that bearing surface.

Besides turning, I can imagine many other uses for this device: Checking depths of mortises, dados, and rabbets, and checking depths of stopped holes being drilled. By turning the dowel around and using the squared end, this device could be useful as sort of a variable-length story stick.

Dare I say, that it could even serve as a quick gauge for setting the height of a table saw blade…

-- Ed



5 comments so far

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

626 posts in 826 days


#1 posted 02-26-2015 02:55 PM

I haven’t a lathe and probably won’t for some time to come, but you know, by rabbeting along one edge on the bottom side, made to fit your power tool’s miter track, you can make an inexpensive and quite accurate blade or fence adjustment gauge. This is a keeper for my shop, Ed. Thanks.

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 862 days


#2 posted 02-26-2015 11:07 PM

Hey Paul,
Now, I’d never thought of that kind of use with a table saw!

That brings to mind a little contraption I tinkered-up and used while I still owned a table saw. It’s the little wooden gizmo in the following pic…

This is a small feather board that mounts in a table saw slot. It doesn’t show very well, but the wooden runner that rides in the slot has a kerf cut down the center. When you tighten the handle on top, it pulls a flat head screw against the kerf, which spreads the sides of the runner against the slot and makes the whole jig super tight and secure. I don’t have this little gadget any longer because it was part of the accessory package when I sold the saw.

-- Ed

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2801 days


#3 posted 02-26-2015 11:24 PM

Nicely done Ed. There another way to do make one of these. You can have dowel go through a hole in a large eraser. This requires a mortice to insert the eraser into. Probably not as long lasting as your design, but great for lazy guys like me.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

626 posts in 826 days


#4 posted 02-27-2015 12:16 AM


Hey Paul,
Now, I d never thought of that kind of use with a table saw!

That brings to mind a little contraption I tinkered-up and used while I still owned a table saw. It s the little wooden gizmo in the following pic…

This is a small feather board that mounts in a table saw slot. It doesn t show very well, but the wooden runner that rides in the slot has a kerf cut down the center. When you tighten the handle on top, it pulls a flat head screw against the kerf, which spreads the sides of the runner against the slot and makes the whole jig super tight and secure. I don t have this little gadget any longer because it was part of the accessory package when I sold the saw.

- handsawgeek

Even in your simplest of designs (sans the block of wood that became the plane iron holder) you seem to find a way and place to put a touch of class, refinements that take the tool a step above being purely functional. I appreciate that. This miter slot featherboard is one of those classy pieces. Nice, Ed. Well done. I’m glad you had a photo of it to show us.

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 862 days


#5 posted 02-27-2015 02:15 PM

Hi, All, Thanks for the kind comments.

I have a book “The Woodworker’s Shop”published years ago by TAB Books. It is largely about shop-built furniture, jigs, and fixtures. The author points out that, even though they are mostly functional shop items, try to take the time to put a finish on them, and make them look somewhat attractive. It not only increases the pleasure in using them, but it differentiates them as being tools as opposed to scrap stock lying around on the bench. I’ve always tried to follow this advice with shop-made stuff.

-- Ed

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