Board center gauge - brass version blog

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Blog entry by mafe posted 205 days ago 2044 reads 29 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Board center gauge
brass version

This is a gauge I have seen boat builders use to mark center on both sides of boards when splitting them in half.
The grooves will serve as a guide or the saw cut.
After making one in wood, I wanted one to match my hardwood and brass gauges.
(This was made February 2011, just never posted).

As always we start with the materials.
Ohhh yes and some good tobacco.

Cut up some wood, I made some extra in pine for gifts.

Also extra wood dowels.

Now finding the right size drill bit.

So here you see my original wood version and the brass rods cut to size.

Rounding them.

I had to reshape the drill bit, so it would cut less deep in the center.

See the difference.

Mark up really carefully.
Center and each side.
Then pre drill holes.

Holes for the rods.

Made a little mess here…

Cut up some threaded rod and put in the dowel.


Glue in place.

Here you can see the markings.

Time to drill the center hole.

I put in a threaded insert.

Like this I can use a kurled brass bolt.

Cut it to size and drill a hole in the center.

I use a piece of a drill bit.

Cut it off.

Epoxy it in place.

Shape it pointed by running it in a cordless drill against a dish sander.

Like this.

Shaping the gauge.

Oil, wax and al that jazz.

We got a gauge!

This is how you use it.

Flip and check you did right.
(If you id it will still be in center).

Now the pin can be lowered if wanted.

Back to work MaFe.

Perhaps it can inspire to split some boards.

Best thoughts,


-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

16 comments so far

View lew's profile


9937 posts in 2350 days

#1 posted 205 days ago

Wow! Mads!!

Thank You! This is going to be my next shop project!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View patron's profile


12952 posts in 1936 days

#2 posted 205 days ago

so simple mads

even a moron like me
can do this

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Brit's profile


5107 posts in 1437 days

#3 posted 205 days ago

Nicely executed Mads.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View madts's profile


1229 posts in 934 days

#4 posted 205 days ago

Looking good Mads.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View stefang's profile (online now)


12506 posts in 1929 days

#5 posted 205 days ago

I have seen lots of these before Mads, but nothing as nice as yours. Super nice in fact. I also liked the way you sharpened the point on the cutoff drill bit. All great stuff and a tool that will last forever.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Philip's profile


1073 posts in 1134 days

#6 posted 205 days ago

You are a wizard with Brass Mads. Great build.

-- If you can dream it, I can do it!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11031 posts in 1700 days

#7 posted 205 days ago

Very nice process shots, Mads. Did you cut the brass rod on the table saw? I have never thought of doing that!!
I think you should have a metal lathe for all the nice metal work you do!!

Thanks for showing all of this…............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View grenger's profile


184 posts in 1961 days

#8 posted 205 days ago

I like that.

-- Gerry (the beginner), Gatineau, QC, Canada

View shipwright's profile


4827 posts in 1393 days

#9 posted 205 days ago

The real value of these is in marking a center line (or layout lines for an octagon) on a tapered piece like a mast.
That is a thing of beauty Mads, a labor of love …. obviously.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees.

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1460 posts in 2160 days

#10 posted 205 days ago

Thanks for posting this Mads, I was wondering how to adjust the center point . Very clever!

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View lanwater's profile


3072 posts in 1529 days

#11 posted 205 days ago

wonderful blog Mads!

I like how you modified the drill bit.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View prospector45's profile


116 posts in 325 days

#12 posted 204 days ago

An excellent item for all shops.. Your great method is one we all should build.Thanks for sharing.

-- Skilled craftsman are not cheap, cheap craftsman are not skilled. Bert, Wooster

View Mauricio's profile


6747 posts in 1746 days

#13 posted 204 days ago

Even the simple tools require so much attention to detail. It came out great!

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View FreddyS's profile


194 posts in 1369 days

#14 posted 204 days ago

Hi Mads, every time you get even the simplest tools to look wonderful, it always feels like a little sunshine for the soul to watch your work ;)
Thanks for sharing, and now I have to finally make my own center gauge haha!

-- Learning one thing at a time

View mafe's profile


9429 posts in 1684 days

#15 posted 203 days ago

Hi hi ho, naaa Christmas is over,
Lew, there are also a wood version now. ;-)
David, I think there are not a lot you can’t do! Just saw that you even came up with new ideas.
Andy, thanks. ;-)
Madts, you too.
Mike Stefang, yes I think it should last my life time and also it’s a fine match to the marking gauge.
Philip, that was a new one ‘wizard with brass’ smiles, thank you.
Jim, yes I cut it on the table saw, with a blade for aluminium, just went slow and patient. I do have a small metal lathe (emco unimat 3) but yes it would be fantastic with a metal lathe and mill (once I get there I need advice).
Grenger, ;-)
Paul, thanks big smile here. You should make a small blog about the mast use, this will be wonderful.
Tim, so good I made the blog. ;-)
Ian, thanks.
prospector, there are also a more easy wood version now.
Mauricio, the tools we put love into are also a joy to use and I feel the love comes back many times like that.
Freddy, big warm smile here, thank you for those fine words. Look forward to see it posted when you are done.
Happy new year all,

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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