Marking Gauge

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Project by Brett posted 02-08-2012 04:06 AM 9940 views 19 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here’s a little marking gauge I made. The design is a composite of one from the Popular Woodworking website and another in an old Fine Woodworking book called Bench Tools.

The fence is made of mahogany (I think) picked up at an estate sale, the dowels are birch and cherry purchased at Woodcraft, and the wedge is walnut given to me by a friend who works at a cabinet shop. The cutting iron is from an old hacksaw blade and the finish is Danish Wood Oil, which I had on hand from a previous project. Total price, probably just a few dollars.

Except for the holes, which were made with a drill press, everything was shaped with hand planes, hand saws, and chisels. I made three identical fences from one piece of wood (which was easier to cut and plane, due to its size), so I plan to make another marking gauge and a scratch gauge. Hopefully the mahogany will not wear too quickly.

The diameter of the upper part of the fence is almost identical to the diameter of a baseball—it feels very comfortable in the hand.

My next project is a couple of saw benches—which is why I need the marking gauge!

-- More tools, fewer machines.

15 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


115348 posts in 3083 days

#1 posted 02-08-2012 04:12 AM

That’s a very cool marking gauge,this should serve you well for years to come.

-- Custom furniture

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 2489 days

#2 posted 02-08-2012 05:42 AM

nice tool, i guess i’ll have to try and make one.

View schuft's profile


123 posts in 2113 days

#3 posted 02-08-2012 06:05 AM

Clever design!

View Ken90712's profile


17112 posts in 2694 days

#4 posted 02-08-2012 08:57 AM

Well done!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View dubsaloon's profile


621 posts in 2299 days

#5 posted 02-08-2012 10:44 AM

It looks Awesome. Simple and effective. now all I need is some rosewood or wenge.

-- The works of evil people are not the problem. It is the "Good" people standing by and watching not speaking up. Dubsaloon

View Don W's profile

Don W

18049 posts in 2073 days

#6 posted 02-08-2012 05:14 PM

thats a different design than I’ve seen. Its pretty cool. How did you cut the flat sided hole?

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Mauricio's profile


7115 posts in 2657 days

#7 posted 02-08-2012 06:14 PM

How cool is that!

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

View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2189 days

#8 posted 02-08-2012 10:05 PM

Don W, do you mean the hole for the wedge? If so, I used a small chisel and lots of trial and error.

To cut the hole, I first planed the underside of the beam (the beech dowel), which made it flat so the beam wouldn’t roll around. I clamped the beam onto the workbench and stabbed at it with the chisel to make the hole.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18049 posts in 2073 days

#9 posted 02-08-2012 11:50 PM

I actually meant the hole for the dowel, but thanks for the explanation.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2189 days

#10 posted 02-09-2012 12:09 AM

Don W, both holes were just made on the drill press. They overlap slightly, but there were no difficulties.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18049 posts in 2073 days

#11 posted 02-09-2012 12:16 AM

Ok. I see now. I thought it was flat on the bottom. bad eye sight.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Dusty56's profile


11807 posts in 3194 days

#12 posted 02-09-2012 02:38 AM

It looks more like a Rosewood than any Mahogany I’ve ever seen to date.
Beautiful piece of wood and a nice looking , useful tool : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Damien Pollet's profile

Damien Pollet

73 posts in 2115 days

#13 posted 04-29-2013 02:36 PM

Nice simplification from the similar design that uses square mortises!
How well does the wedge work? I imagine friction would tend to rotate the bar, preventing the wedge from being pushed strong enough, or getting it loose with small movements… it probably depends on how much play & wear there is… did you experience any problem?

View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2189 days

#14 posted 05-03-2013 06:23 PM

Damian, the wedge works well. I just tape one end of the wedge on the bench to lock the beam and the other end to loosen it, all with one hand.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View waynesdomain's profile


4 posts in 609 days

#15 posted 05-15-2016 09:35 AM

Nice Job.

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