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Pencil marking gauge, or...?

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Forum topic by Dan Wolfgang posted 09-07-2017 04:59 PM 451 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Dan Wolfgang

128 posts in 585 days


09-07-2017 04:59 PM

I only have one marking gauge (a wheeled gauge), and I’m sure a few more would prove wonderfully handy. In addition to scribing/slicing I often need to make a pencil line. In something like oak, especially from a distance, seeing the scribed line is very difficult. And depending on what I’m doing, I need the pencil line more than the scribed line. (For example, marking boards to be resawn—a fun job with the big resawing frame saw I just built. At 3-4’ away I need a pencil line to follow.)

So, the next sort of tool should be a pencil marking gauge except… these seem to be quite unpopular. Is there a reason? Am I missing something? Is there perhaps some other tool or technique that I should be following?

I’ve been using the marking gauge then tracing with a pencil, or using a square and holding the pencil against the beam to draw a line, but it seems to me that a dedicated pencil gauge would be far faster and easier to use. Your thoughts?


14 replies so far

View TaySC's profile

TaySC

255 posts in 111 days


#1 posted 09-07-2017 05:04 PM

Like you, I use a marking gauge and then follow up with a pencil. I recently even bought some white artist pencils for marking darker woods.

View Bluenote38's profile

Bluenote38

173 posts in 166 days


#2 posted 09-07-2017 05:05 PM

I’d use a scribe or cutting tip gauge. It’s more accurate, easier to use, stays sharper longer, cuts the wood fibers which reduces tear out and chipping and they are easy to make.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View LittleShaver's profile

LittleShaver

177 posts in 397 days


#3 posted 09-07-2017 05:38 PM

While I have 8 or 10 marking gauges (bought and made) I often find a compass handy for marking. I was re-sawing some oak boards over the weekend using my band saw. Didn’t much care what the final dimension was, just wanted to split the boards in half. Few little tweaks of the el-cheapo compass and I could draw a line down the center of the edge. For good measure (pun intended), I flipped the compass to the opposite side and ran the line again to confirm my centerline.
Marking gauges are great when dimensions are critical, but when re-sawing, the kerf is as large or larger than the pencil line. Stay on the line and you’ll be fine.

-- Sawdust Maker

View hotbyte's profile

hotbyte

987 posts in 2753 days


#4 posted 09-07-2017 05:43 PM

The FastCap Accuscribe is a neat little tool. Should work like LittleShaver described for resawing plus useful for scribing cabinet filler strips to walls, etc.

https://www.amazon.com/Fastcap-ACCUSCRIBE-FastCap-Accuscribe-Scribing/dp/B0001GUDT6

View Rich's profile

Rich

1669 posts in 367 days


#5 posted 09-07-2017 05:48 PM

I use a pencil marking gauge for resawing too. TaySC’s method is a good one and I’ve done it that way, but usually I just want to strike a quick line to follow with the saw.

The AccuScribe from FastCap that hotbyte mentions is a good product and it’s easy to follow the board edge with it, but it’s a pain to adjust, since there are only knobs to loosen and tighten the arms. The one I really like is the Veritas gauge since it has ruler markings on the arm. The problem with it is that it won’t go closer than 1/2” to the pencil point. I fixed that with a 1/2” plate that I can clip to it as in the photo below. I also find striking a line from each side of the board easier than trying to be precisely in the middle. It either gives me a heavy line or a narrow pair that I can split which is good enough for eyeballing a resaw. I think that’s what LittleShaver was describing above.

Finally, not a pencil marker, but if you’re in the market for a cool little gauge, the Veritas 3-in-1 Brass Marking Gauge is nice. It has interchangeable cutters. The wheel is a good quality one. There is a pin, but I don’t like pin markers since they tear rather than slice. But the most unique one is a holder for a single segment of a 9mm utility blade. It cuts cleanly and you’ll always have a sharp blade. It’s also handy for cutting things like felt and cork to an even distance on, say, the bottom of a box or tray.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4391 posts in 2129 days


#6 posted 09-07-2017 06:49 PM

I made this one specifically for making a visible line on the edge of a board for re-sawing. It only takes a few minutes to make with scraps and some thumbscrews.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View TaySC's profile

TaySC

255 posts in 111 days


#7 posted 09-07-2017 09:21 PM

Awesome concept.

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

1587 posts in 425 days


#8 posted 09-07-2017 11:49 PM


I’ d use a scribe or cutting tip gauge. It s more accurate, easier to use, stays sharper longer, cuts the wood fibers which reduces tear out and chipping and they are easy to make.

- Bluenote38

I’m with Bill … I also back up the scribed line with pencil from time to time. I do not like to mark with a pencil (except for very rough lay out) because as it wears down the line becomes too wide!

-- Ron in Lilburn, Georgia.  Knowing how to use a tool is more important than the tool in and of itself.

View Rich's profile

Rich

1669 posts in 367 days


#9 posted 09-08-2017 12:27 AM



I do not like to mark with a pencil (except for very rough lay out) because as it wears down the line becomes too wide!

- Ron Aylor

I have this cool gadget called a pencil sharpener :) Mine’s electric, but they make manual versions for you hand-toolers.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

349 posts in 366 days


#10 posted 09-08-2017 12:56 AM

Incra rulze! Esp with a .5 mm tech pencil.

M

View Dan Wolfgang's profile

Dan Wolfgang

128 posts in 585 days


#11 posted 09-08-2017 01:20 AM

Thanks for the feedback all. Bondo’s example is exactly what I was thinking of, but I was surprised to not see much in the way of commercially-available versions and was left wondering if there was some reason they aren’t out there. Apparently we’ve all found some way to do it. Bondo, I’ll be stealing your design!

View ksSlim's profile

ksSlim

1257 posts in 2668 days


#12 posted 09-08-2017 02:05 AM

Find an artist supply and buy a .3mm tech pencil, it will make a “scribed” line jump out so 75 year old eyes can see it.
Also, IF you can find a drafting supply, they should have a drafting compass with articulated legs.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View Mr_Pink's profile

Mr_Pink

14 posts in 149 days


#13 posted 09-08-2017 02:56 AM

A marking gauge with a pin instead of a cutter can also come in handy when you’re marking along the grain. The line left by a pin is wider and easier to see.

View JohnChung's profile

JohnChung

395 posts in 1852 days


#14 posted 09-08-2017 03:37 AM

I first started with a pin gauge. The lines were everywhere. Next was the Verita marking wheel. The lines were still too light when it was along the grain. Then I moved to this:

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=50263

The blade scores the wood deeply and there is no need to use a pencil afterwards. Each has it’s strengths. I will keep the wheel marking gauge as it is useful to mark the depth of the boards.

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