Cocobolo Marking Gauge

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Project by JSheldon posted 07-13-2013 08:51 AM 1886 views 6 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this marking gauge for my brother-in-law. I’ve always liked the dragonfly form and I’ve been wanting to make a marking gauge, so thought why not make one in the form of a dragonfly.

I cut the cocobolo to size (as well as the dado for the blade arm) on my table saw. The slot in the blade arm was done with overlapping holes on my drill press then cleaned up with files. I cut the dragonfly shape using my brand new Knew Concepts coping saw (which I bought for this project, but hopefully will use for many more projects – I really like that saw!). It took me several hours to cut the shape out of the 7/8” thick cocobolo.

I used files to smooth out the marks left from the coping saw, then increasingly fine grits of sandpaper. Then used a Scotch-Brite pad which really put a nice sheen/polish on the cocobolo. I didn’t really put a finish on it; just a little paste-wax. This was the first time I’ve worked with cocobolo and was really pleased with how nicely it shaped with files and sandpaper.

I made the blade from a 9/16” spade drill bit. I cut the rough shape with a hack saw, used a file for final shaping, cut the hole with my drill press (actually four overlapping holes then cleaned up with a file), a diamond stone to shape the point and smooth all the edges, and water stones for final sharpening.

The knob was purchased from Bridge City Tools during their clearance sale.

I made a prototype out of plywood to make sure it felt ok in the hand. I’ve included pictures of the prototype, my rough sketches, and the final patterns (cut from manila folders).

-- "Inferior tools corrode the spirit." -- Lewis Allen

9 comments so far

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

413 posts in 2185 days

#1 posted 07-13-2013 11:35 AM

beautiful marking gauge. Love cocobolo for just about anything, so how could you go wrong with that. Like that you showed the prototype along with the finished project.


-- Scott, Irmo SC

View LRR's profile


25 posts in 576 days

#2 posted 07-13-2013 11:47 AM

Very nice ! Thank you for showing the process.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15581 posts in 1321 days

#3 posted 07-13-2013 11:49 AM

very nice unique design.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View dustyal's profile


1222 posts in 2229 days

#4 posted 07-13-2013 01:08 PM

Great design… well done… looks good and I trust works well.

-- Al H. - small shop, small projects...

View HillbillyShooter's profile


4905 posts in 1046 days

#5 posted 07-13-2013 01:33 PM

W ell thought out and attractive project. Enjoy and thanks for sharing.

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

View a1Jim's profile


112939 posts in 2331 days

#6 posted 07-13-2013 03:26 PM

Beautiful marking gauge a wonderful build.

-- Custom furniture

View DHS's profile


111 posts in 1978 days

#7 posted 07-13-2013 03:30 PM

Beautiful and creative gauge. Lovely, right down to the hand-tooled blade.

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

View Mip's profile


338 posts in 832 days

#8 posted 07-14-2013 12:10 AM

This is a very different design, and I like it. I think I have that very same knob from Bridge City during their clearance fire sale. I can’t wait to get my free tool because of the meltdown from that sale. Back to your marking gauge, I might have to copy your design.

View Marek's profile


33 posts in 1371 days

#9 posted 07-14-2013 07:35 PM

Beautiful and precise

-- I like the precise work...

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