Oddball Marking Gauge for the Swap

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Project by RGtools posted 377 days ago 1330 views 4 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had a blast designing and executing this tool. These swaps are are good way to make you gear up to do good work. For this swap I thought the durability of purpleheart would be a boon…it was, once the infernal thing was done.

I have issues making a perfect “showpiece” tool…I can never bring myself to do it. It’s a solid working tool though. A few features I put into it:

The threads of both screws are tapped directly into the purpleheart which is dense tough stuff, and should be able to take the abuse.

The stem gets tighter in its mortise when the blade is closer to the body, this is intended to prevent the stem slipping quickly and knocking the blade into the body.

The blade comes from Lie Nielsen Tool-Works; it’s a panel gauge blade. I had to file the eye for the screw to fit through it though, and auger bit file and a chainsaw file do a fine job here. Keep it sharp and you will be able to make either very light marks that can be cleared away with a smoothing plane, or deep marks with will be visible for years to come.

I nixed the idea of a brass wear strip, purpleheart is probably harder anyway.

The angled mortise should help the tool age gracefully, as pressure from the screw should force alignment.

The tool is, as you can see, very asymmetrical. This is for a few reasons.
o I have a hard time making a showpiece tool (the wires in my brain must be crossed).
o It’s favored for a right hander.
o The stem was made by hand and is a little “off” as far as the angled bottom, having an asymmetrical head should help remind you of the orientation of the stem.

I tried to give the tool a bit more length than the average gauge without upsetting the balance of the tool. This is a real asset on drawer and small box work, where many gauges fall just a touch short.

I just hope it’s enjoyed.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

21 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


111999 posts in 2162 days

#1 posted 377 days ago

Very nice work

-- Custom furniture

View DIYaholic's profile


12613 posts in 1260 days

#2 posted 377 days ago

A fine example of the “K.I.S.S.” build method! Sometimes less is more. Function trumps form ALWAYS!!!
Looks like a keeper to me!!!
Great job.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

View Don W's profile

Don W

14497 posts in 1153 days

#3 posted 377 days ago

Excellent Ryan. Love the drawing!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


4696 posts in 1162 days

#4 posted 377 days ago

Mighty fine gauge RG!

View GMatheson's profile


411 posts in 1554 days

#5 posted 377 days ago

Great gauge Ryan. I like the purpleheart. It’s my go to wood for re-soling my wood body planes. This should take the use and abuse for at least a few generations

-- Greg in Ontario, Canada

View Brit's profile


5103 posts in 1428 days

#6 posted 377 days ago

How could it not be enjoyed Ryan. Nice work.

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

View bondogaposis's profile


2416 posts in 936 days

#7 posted 377 days ago

Really nice gauge!

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ShaneA's profile (online now)


5208 posts in 1184 days

#8 posted 377 days ago

Well done Ryan.

View stan3443's profile


192 posts in 861 days

#9 posted 377 days ago

good looking gauge ,but i’m partial to purple

-- If your not supposed to have hair on your face......why does it grow their

View AnthonyReed's profile


4267 posts in 1025 days

#10 posted 377 days ago

Nicely done Ryan.

-- ~Tony

View 489tad's profile


2179 posts in 1597 days

#11 posted 377 days ago

Well done. Beautiful wood.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View JayT's profile


2051 posts in 796 days

#12 posted 377 days ago

Very nice, Ryan.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

View Jeff82780's profile


172 posts in 1580 days

#13 posted 377 days ago


View terryR's profile


2911 posts in 894 days

#14 posted 376 days ago

That is very nice, Ryan. I love the shape of the bottom of the beam.
The included sketch, in color, is priceless!

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Dave's profile


11134 posts in 1425 days

#15 posted 376 days ago

Purple heart is stunning.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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