Oddball Marking Gauge for the Swap

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Project by RGtools posted 06-30-2013 02:07 PM 1745 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


113057 posts in 2392 days

#1 posted 06-30-2013 02:18 PM

Very nice work

-- Custom furniture

View DIYaholic's profile (online now)


15650 posts in 1490 days

#2 posted 06-30-2013 02:19 PM

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 procrastination a bad thing?

View Don W's profile

Don W

15909 posts in 1383 days

#3 posted 06-30-2013 02:20 PM

Excellent Ryan. Love the drawing!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


5588 posts in 1392 days

#4 posted 06-30-2013 02:22 PM

Mighty fine gauge RG!

View GMatheson's profile


461 posts in 1785 days

#5 posted 06-30-2013 02:26 PM

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


5446 posts in 1658 days

#6 posted 06-30-2013 02:49 PM

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 (online now)


2939 posts in 1167 days

#7 posted 06-30-2013 02:53 PM

Really nice gauge!

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ShaneA's profile


5545 posts in 1414 days

#8 posted 06-30-2013 02:54 PM

Well done Ryan.

View stan3443's profile


212 posts in 1091 days

#9 posted 06-30-2013 03:04 PM

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


5387 posts in 1256 days

#10 posted 06-30-2013 03:47 PM

Nicely done Ryan.

-- ~Tony

View 489tad's profile


2597 posts in 1827 days

#11 posted 06-30-2013 04:52 PM

Well done. Beautiful wood.

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

View JayT's profile (online now)


2888 posts in 1026 days

#12 posted 06-30-2013 05:35 PM

Very nice, Ryan.

-- "My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right." Abraham Lincoln

View Jeff82780's profile


187 posts in 1810 days

#13 posted 06-30-2013 06:30 PM


View terryR's profile


3930 posts in 1124 days

#14 posted 06-30-2013 08:41 PM

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


11210 posts in 1655 days

#15 posted 06-30-2013 09:53 PM

Purple heart is stunning.

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

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