Gaugeswap 2013

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Project by Hammerthumb posted 07-01-2013 05:04 PM 2186 views 19 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is the marking gauge I made for Jeff. Below is the letter I included in the package. I wanted to try to make something a little different than the rest of the participants. Little did I know, everone made something a little different for this swap. What a great bunch of tools has come out of this event! I hope the letter explains the gauge well enough. Enjoy!


Here is the marking gauge that I made for you. I hope you enjoy it. The gauge is made of Ipe (very dense wood) with a couple of maple racing stripes on the beam. It has an Ipe turned knob to tighten the beam. It also has an 01 steel cutter. I struggled with the design as I wanted to make a gauge that was slightly unusual but very effective. My first design was with a mortise for the beam but found that the material I chose is not very conducive to mortises. I spent more time sharpening chisels than actually chopping. The Ipe would fold over the edge of the chisel after a couple of blows. I figured that the material was just too hard, so instead of changing the material I changed the design. I actually like this design better.
If you remove the adjustment knob and beam, you will see a brass bar embedded into the gauge body. It is ½” x 1/2” x 3-1/4” long. If you look carefully when assembled, the beam does not sit on the gauge body, but rests upon the brass bar. The brass bar rides inside the channel cut into the beam. This should eliminate any wear to the gauge body when used. The other advantage this has is the fit of the brass inside the channel virtually eliminates any side to side movement of the beam. I used the gauge on a few test pieces and found that when adjusting and tightening, the knob will not change the position of where you set the gauge. The movement of the beam is slick and easy to adjust. I also embedded a piece of brass on the face as a wear plate although I think the toughness of the Ipe will not show wear for many years. But it looks cool also! I really like this design and have started another to keep in my shop.
The business end of the beam features a relief in the end that fits a 3/8” x 1/16” blade. The blade is held in place with an 8-32 brass screw that treads into a piece of 3/8” round brass stock that was drilled, tapped, and glued into the end of the beam. The gauge has been finished since mid May but I was not satisfied with the blade. I finally found some 01 steel and shaped the new blade and heat treated it. It works much better than the first blade I made and am glad I did not ship it prior to making this change.
Finally, I finished the gauge with a bath of Danish oil and then 2 coats of wax. This is the way I like to finish hand tools as the finish is easy to repair and maintain.

I hope you don’t mind that I stamped the bottom of the gauge with HT for HammerThumb. At least you will always be able to remember where it came from.

Good luck and happy wood working.


-- Paul, Las Vegas

17 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

17869 posts in 1984 days

#1 posted 07-01-2013 05:49 PM

an excellent gauge Paul. I really like the design.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View JayT's profile


4669 posts in 1628 days

#2 posted 07-01-2013 05:52 PM

Beautiful job, Hammerthumb. I can’t believe you had the patience to do all that fine work with ipe.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View ShaneA's profile


6413 posts in 2015 days

#3 posted 07-01-2013 05:52 PM

Clean looking gauge. Very well done sir.

View JSilverman's profile


89 posts in 2030 days

#4 posted 07-01-2013 06:44 PM

nice gauge. I really like the brass for the beam idea.

View Mauricio's profile


7115 posts in 2568 days

#5 posted 07-01-2013 06:52 PM

Excellent gauge HT!

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

View Sanding2day's profile


1001 posts in 1263 days

#6 posted 07-01-2013 07:29 PM

Great looking gauge!! Love the wood selection and brass rails etc. Thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View Hammerthumb's profile


2511 posts in 1392 days

#7 posted 07-01-2013 07:45 PM

What? Nobody commented on the maple racing stripes? Thanks guys for the kind words. I really liked this project and all of the fine work it turned out.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1768 days

#8 posted 07-01-2013 09:00 PM

This a really nice gauge, very clean lines wonderful design. Love it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View CL810's profile (online now)


3404 posts in 2405 days

#9 posted 07-01-2013 09:00 PM

Most excellent work HT. And I do like the maple trim,er, racing strips!

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View GenerationWW's profile


521 posts in 1666 days

#10 posted 07-01-2013 10:31 PM

Fancy! it looks great.

-- list your handcrafted treasures @ for free!

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 1709 days

#11 posted 07-01-2013 11:18 PM

Very classy design in an understated way! Excellent use of brass in a minimal manner, but just the right amount to provide needed wear protection in all the right places. Overall, an impressive build, especially the use of Ipe.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Woodbridge's profile


3451 posts in 1835 days

#12 posted 07-02-2013 01:22 AM

nice looking gauge.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Jeff82780's profile


204 posts in 2411 days

#13 posted 07-02-2013 02:01 PM

I am one lucky person!

View Hammerthumb's profile


2511 posts in 1392 days

#14 posted 07-03-2013 12:30 AM

Thanks guys. And thanks Clayton for the comment on the racing stripes!

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View terryR's profile


6227 posts in 1725 days

#15 posted 07-03-2013 11:55 PM

Nice design and awesome workmanship, Paul.

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

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