Dovetail Swap Items - Marking Gauge, Marking Knife, and Saw guides.

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Project by ToddJB posted 03-03-2015 03:46 AM 4983 views 34 times favorited 52 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I participated in the Dovetail Layout Tool Swap and I made these items for LJ AgentTwitch.

The main item is a marking gauge. I’m pretty proud of it. This is what I would call my first real Fine Woodworking project, everything up until this point has been made out of reclaimed materials and intentionally put together to look old and ragged. But this – this I wanted to be a keeper.

All the wood on these items were made out of one chunk of Claro Walnut. The metals are 1/8th brass, and the blades 3/64th 01 tool steel. The finish on everything is multiple coats of Minwax Gloss Poly with the topcoat being Satin Arm-R-Seal, and buffed out with wax.

The marking gauge design was inspired loosely on DonW's gauge that he made for a previous swap. But since this was for dovetails I decided to go with a thumbnail type blade. I also couldn’t find any super cool knobs like Don used, so I made my own using thumbs screws, which I think I’ll blog about. EDIT: HERE'S THE BLOG

Here was the on paper plan:

Here’s what I came up with:

This presented a lot of firsts for me in woodworking but I’m super glad I did it.

A couple areas I’m pretty proud of are the handmade screws:

The inlay:

And the way the blade slot came out:

The area that caused the most grief for me was the blades. I couldn’t figure out a jig to do it, and I’m not a free hander. Think the end result was okay, but it took forever.

In addition to the marking gauge I ripped off the look of a Blue Spruce marking knife

And used David Barron's tutorial to make a set of three magnetic dovetail saw guides (1:4, 1:6, and 1:8) Thanks to LJ BigRedKnothead for sending me some of his slick tape to go over the magnets so I didn’t have to buy a roll.

And the family shot with a random saw in the background – cause I’m classy.

Thanks for looking!

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

52 comments so far

View summerfi's profile


3261 posts in 1107 days

#1 posted 03-03-2015 03:53 AM

Super job Todd. Those look very classy. I want to see your blog about making the thumb screws/knobs.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works

View Mosquito's profile


7924 posts in 1712 days

#2 posted 03-03-2015 03:58 AM

absolutely superb man!

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View Slyy's profile


2400 posts in 1075 days

#3 posted 03-03-2015 04:04 AM

Glad to finally see what all the struggle was about and find out it was worth all of it! Hawt Damn son, you did good!

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View Buckethead's profile


3140 posts in 1289 days

#4 posted 03-03-2015 04:11 AM

Dayummmm. That is a pimp status setup. I’ve not followed that thread so this is my first inkling. I’m glad I didn’t participate if I was going to need to match this bling.

I would have embarrassed myself. :-)

Incredible stuff!

Edit: how the frack did you make that brass inlay so tight? I mean toight!

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Tim's profile


3030 posts in 1381 days

#5 posted 03-03-2015 04:28 AM

Dang, inlay, custom hardware. That’s some sweet stuff.

View ToddJB's profile (online now)


6773 posts in 1550 days

#6 posted 03-03-2015 04:44 AM

Thanks guys.

Bucket – That process took awhile. Used a rotozip with Dremel cutting blades to rough it out, then used needle files to get the shape.

The traced it on the piece

Then used the rotozip with a drywall depth attachment and a mill bit to hog out most of it. And then moved to and Xacto knife until it fit.

A little gappy, but after a bit of CA glue and saw dust with some sanding it looked better

Then some finish

Bob, DonW, and Red all contributed to process I used.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View bobasaurus's profile


2587 posts in 2604 days

#7 posted 03-03-2015 05:00 AM

That brass inlay is ridiculously nice, as are the screws. Did you glue walnut to an existing brass fitting? Does the top screw mar up the brass beam in use? And did you use brass wood screws to attach the plates, then sand them smooth? If so, that’s an amazing countersink job cuz I can’t see them at all. Great job.

-- Allen, Colorado

View waho6o9's profile


7119 posts in 1997 days

#8 posted 03-03-2015 05:42 AM

I knew you were going to save your problem item Todd but

I didn’t know you were going to hit it out of the park.

Outstanding work Sir.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7699 posts in 1800 days

#9 posted 03-03-2015 06:05 AM

View woodcox's profile


1514 posts in 1432 days

#10 posted 03-03-2015 06:31 AM

Nice work man! Definitely blog about your hardware-n-such, gotsum swank toit! Twitch is gonna be stoked with that set up.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View rodk1's profile


11 posts in 2578 days

#11 posted 03-03-2015 06:58 AM

Beautiflul tools, and I too, would love to see how you made the hardware for these tools.

View ToddJB's profile (online now)


6773 posts in 1550 days

#12 posted 03-03-2015 07:03 AM

Thanks so much guys.

I’ll blog about the hardware tomorrow.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View ToddJB's profile (online now)


6773 posts in 1550 days

#13 posted 03-03-2015 07:16 AM

Did you glue walnut to an existing brass fitting? Does the top screw mar up the brass beam in use? And did you use brass wood screws to attach the plates, then sand them smooth?
- bobasaurus

Kinda, but not really. Yes, unfortunately is sort of does mar it – hindsight is a B. No screws, TerryR convinced me of the strength of epoxy. I gave Norm a lifetime guarantee if any of it breaks, but he better fill out that warranty correctly and submit it on time. I’m a stickler for paperwork.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View muesli's profile


227 posts in 929 days

#14 posted 03-03-2015 10:15 AM

The guides and the marking knife look really great, but the marking gauge is unbelievable and blew me away!

View Tugboater78's profile


2432 posts in 1612 days

#15 posted 03-03-2015 12:45 PM

Awesome job, the marking gauge is topnotch!

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

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