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Cheap Woodcraft Wheel Marking Gauge--It works!

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Review by CharlesA posted 04-08-2015 05:02 PM 5908 views 1 time favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Cheap Woodcraft Wheel Marking Gauge--It works! No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Since I have been on my quest to learn to hand cut dovetails, I have been giving my marking gauge a workout. I have been using a Crown Rosewood cutting gauge, and I have been frustrated by my inability to make an absolutely straight clean line every time. I sharpened the knife on it and still would end with a wobble here and there. I thought that the combination of the cutting knife and the very short fence was the culprit:

I checked reviews and was about to pull the trigger on a Hamilton marking gauge due to the much longer fence. It would be $60-80, but if it would work, I was willing to do it. I thought I would prefer it to the scratch gauges or wheel style.

However, I needed some Baltic Birch for a project I’m working on, and the easiest place to pick up some in locally is Woodcraft. As I was checking out, I mentioned my quest for a better marking gauge, and I was pointed to this Woodcraft wheel marking gauge. I was going to skip, because I knew the WoodRiver wheel gauge was $40, but when I realized that this Woodcraft (not Woodriver) gauge was on sale for $10, I figured it was worth the risk.

For me, this Woodcraft wheel gauge works quite well. Unlike the Crown, I need to go over the line several times before it is marked well enough to create a chisel guide, but I can use it consistently enough that I can go over the line more than once without creating multiple lines.

I ding it a star for not being sharper, but give it a solid four stars for price and consistently. I am pleasantly surprised. I like it so much I got a second one so I I can keep one for the pins and one for the tails.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson




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CharlesA

3339 posts in 1913 days



18 comments so far

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pintodeluxe

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#1 posted 04-08-2015 05:29 PM

Looks like a handy tool, I think I will try one too.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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TheFridge

10090 posts in 1601 days


#2 posted 04-08-2015 05:44 PM

It works ok. Just got a veritas dual marking gauge and it’s a champ also.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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CharlesA

3339 posts in 1913 days


#3 posted 04-08-2015 06:19 PM

I haven’t tried a Veritas or similar wheel gauge. But this one works for me for now.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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TheFridge

10090 posts in 1601 days


#4 posted 04-08-2015 06:32 PM

It’s a good gauge. I just had to swap the wheel around to finish marking out mortises so the bevel of the wheel was facing the side to be cut.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2805 days


#5 posted 04-09-2015 12:03 AM

Looks like yours came with one side of the “Fence Wheel” flattened. I had to grind a flat on mine after it rolled off the bench every time I laid it down! I use mine a lot. The scribed line is a little hard to see but a mechanical pencil will darken that line without having to scribe over and over.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View CharlesA's profile

CharlesA

3339 posts in 1913 days


#6 posted 04-09-2015 01:20 AM

In using it tonight, I got it down so I only have to scribe it twice. I do it twice not to be able to see it, but so that my chisel has enough of a groove to register well.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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BinghamtonEd

2298 posts in 2485 days


#7 posted 04-09-2015 02:13 PM

I have that same marking gauge, and I like it as well. I like that I can hold the gauge and adjust it and tighten it with one hand. I took the wheel off and sharpened it on sandpaper, it seemed to help.

Mine had the problem cutting wheel was loose and would spin. The screw that holds it on was bottoming out in the post, so I couldn’t tighten it down enough. Filed maybe 1/16” off the screw and it fixed it. The wheel no longer rotates when I use it.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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CharlesA

3339 posts in 1913 days


#8 posted 04-09-2015 02:18 PM

That’s funny, Ed. I read a couple of places where folks were upset the cutting wheel didn’t turn, and they tried to fix it so it would. Both of mine (I just got the second one yesterday) are fixed pretty tightly. I do plan on sharpening them at some point, but at this point they’re sharp enough.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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Mainiac Matt

8338 posts in 2444 days


#9 posted 04-09-2015 03:21 PM

I purchased a similar marking gage from Grizzly. the wheel doesn’t roll, nor do I think it is supposed to.

Unfortunately the cutter wheel was roughly finished and not very sharp. I called Grizzly CS and they sent me a new one (and told me to keep the old one). It was exactly the same.

Having two of these is very handy, as you can set a common reference dim and keep it set perfectly, while you use the other to mark out other varying dims.

I’m keeping my eyes open for a tool steel or carbide wheel I can swap out.

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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BinghamtonEd

2298 posts in 2485 days


#10 posted 04-09-2015 03:37 PM

Charles, I actually have that crown gauge as well. It seems to work well for me, and doesn’t wander, so long as I make light passes. However, when mine arrived, the knife was installed backwards. No joke. One way will pull the fence of the gauge to the workpiece and track well, and the opposite way will cause it to be difficult to track straight.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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b2rtch

4863 posts in 3163 days


#11 posted 04-09-2015 06:27 PM

I cut a flat on mine so that it does not roll off the bench.

-- Bert

View Grumpymike's profile

Grumpymike

2289 posts in 2430 days


#12 posted 04-09-2015 10:04 PM

gfadvm and b2rtch need to level their benches.

I have also gotten the cheapo wheel marking gauge, used it for years … and then one day at a tool demo I tried another brand … Wholla what a difference! Well, I bought the more expensive one on the spot, but it wasn’t $40 it was like $22.50 or something. (I’m to cheap to pay $40 bucks for a marking gauge)

Well now I own four of the gauges and I use them for different projects.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Brad's profile

Brad

1139 posts in 2855 days


#13 posted 04-10-2015 08:31 PM

I’ve had good luck with this marking gauge. Sharpen it by removing the wheel cutting edge and polishing the back side. It cuts very well. My only beef is that a micro-adjustment feature would make it superb. It can take me a while to dial in that last little bit…like when I need dovetails to protrude a bit so I can plane them smooth.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View cutmantom's profile

cutmantom

407 posts in 3150 days


#14 posted 04-11-2015 12:07 PM

You can stand it up in a dog hole to keep it from rolling of the bench

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2899 posts in 2363 days


#15 posted 04-13-2015 06:04 PM

I’ve had this for about a year. It’s ok for occasional use. If you are a hand tool woodworker you are going to hate it.

The brass body is way too loose. There is no friction at all. It makes small adjustments really difficult
The cutter is abysmal quality steel. I did shapen mine on my shaptons but it’s still terrible.
I had the same problem as BinghamtonEd and employed the same solution
The rod is a little on the thin side. If you are using it to mark beyond 2” or so, there is a significant amount of deflection.
It will roll off a perfectly level bench because the adjusting nut adds some weight to give it just enough momentum to start rolling.
After about 3 months, I could push it past the lock if I wanted to no matter how tightly I turned it. Again, laying out for long-ish rips will move the adjustment along with the deflection in the rod.

Now I understand we all can’t afford a Tite-Mark, or even a Veritas, but the WoodRiver wheel marking gauge is actually pretty good

-- https://pinepointwoodworks.wordpress.com/

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