|Project by paratrooper34||posted 07-12-2010 03:40 PM||3755 views||16 times favorited||18 comments|
I just finished making a mortice marking gauge and thought I would post the project. I am doing this to not only show off the tool, but also to show some pretty cool resourcefulness. I see these gauges for sale here and there and they are pricey. For nice rosewood ones, the cost can be $50.00 and up. I figured there had to be a better way to have one that is just as nice, but without the cost. So here it the result of that logic.
I determined I could make a marking gauge from parts donated from a less showy one. So I found an old, nasty set of three marking gauges (two mortice type) on Ebay. They were serviceable, but looked as though their glory days had long passed. I got all three tools for just over two dollars. I am assuming their condition kept other bidders away and I was the only one who bid on these diamonds in the rough. The donor gauge is the one in the forefront of the picture with the two old ones. When I received them, I checked them out for the condition of the attached brass pieces. All were in an oxidized state, but complete and just needing a polish. So I took one apart and commenced to making new wood pieces. I chose a nice piece of Hawaiian Koa I had. I made the fence and beam from that Koa. After I was about complete, I determined that the Koa beam was just not stout enough. I didn’t realize just how soft Koa is and the beam got marked up pretty badly during the cutting and fitting operations. So I ditched the Koa beam and made one from Paduak; a much harder wood albeit harder to work. There are a couple of spots of tearout on the beam, but what the heck, it is a tool after all. The trickiest part of this was making the dovetail in the beam as the sliding brass pin is dovetailed. Slow, methodical work produced a perfect fit. I made the whole thing with hand tools except for the rabbets that hold the brass wear strips. I made the rabbet that started the dovetail on the beam with my Stanley 45, but I just don’t have enough skill with the 45 to trust it to use for the critical rabbets for the wear bars. Those needed to be exact sized with no slop, so the router table was dusted off for that. But everything else was by hand, to include the holes which I drilled with my vintage 1930s Millers Falls hand crank drill press!
Once I got the wood pieces formed and fitted, I polished all of the brass pieces. I first started with a brass wire wheel and then moved to a buffer. The two brass wear strips were fabricated from a piece of brass strip that I have. Those pieces were the only brass items that were not original to the donor gauge. Once they had a nice polish on them, I waxed the wood and buffed it as well. I then fit all the brass pieces on and gave it a test run. It works perfectly!
So now I have a very high quality marking gauge, one that rivals the high end ones you see from those types of tool makers and the total cost (I estimate) around two dollars!!!
I just need to find a home for it in the tool cabinet. Thanks for reading, I hope this inspires someone to do the same.