Oddball Marking Gauge for the Swap

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Project by RGtools posted 06-30-2013 02:07 PM 5052 views 5 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


115873 posts in 3273 days

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

Very nice work

-- Custom furniture

View DIYaholic's profile (online now)


19311 posts in 2371 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 (online now)

Don W

18376 posts in 2264 days

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

Excellent Ryan. Love the drawing!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View waho6o9's profile


7889 posts in 2273 days

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

Mighty fine gauge RG!

View GMatheson's profile


478 posts in 2665 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


7095 posts in 2539 days

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

How could it not be enjoyed Ryan. Nice work.

-- - "The hand speaks to the brain as surely as the brain speaks to the hand." Frank R. Wilson

View bondogaposis's profile


4311 posts in 2047 days

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

Really nice gauge!

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ShaneA's profile


6773 posts in 2295 days

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

Well done Ryan.

View stan3443's profile


295 posts in 1972 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


9169 posts in 2136 days

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

Nicely done Ryan.

-- ~Tony

View 489tad's profile


3193 posts in 2708 days

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

Well done. Beautiful wood.

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

View JayT's profile


5350 posts in 1907 days

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

Very nice, Ryan.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Jeff82780's profile


204 posts in 2691 days

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


View terryR's profile


6772 posts in 2005 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


11420 posts in 2536 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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