is there such a thing as a bad bevel gauge? ...or a "good one" for that matter?

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Forum topic by Millo posted 02-23-2011 05:59 PM 1383 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Millo's profile


543 posts in 2467 days

02-23-2011 05:59 PM

Hello all,

Excuse my silly noob question. Just wondering… Is there a bevel gauge from the big-box stores I need to stay away from? Is there such a thing as a good bevel square?

I imagine that in such a simple tool the important things are that the knob can tighten w/o getting loose at the wrong time, that the blade and handle are of stable materials that don’t bend, and the the face of the handle is certifiable flat, and that the blade is flat on its edges and faces.

Anyone have a recommendation? Will any bevel gauge do? I think I don not have the need for rosewood handles and the likes.


8 replies so far

View poopiekat's profile


4188 posts in 3152 days

#1 posted 02-23-2011 06:06 PM

I never understood why bevel gauges NEVER come with a degree indicating scale on them somewhere. If you want to know the degrees of whatever angle you are copying, you gotta go get your protractor or other measuring device. Though, I suppose, they’d be inherently inaccurate anyhow.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2102 days

#2 posted 02-23-2011 06:09 PM

I have one from HD with a plastic (nylon I think) handle. The steel blade retracts into the handle. The knob is big enough to being able to tighten it securely. It has been more than good enough for me.

Now if you have the scratch, check out the Bosch electronic one (I got one for father’s day a few years ago). I am the envy of my cheapskate friends.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2102 days

#3 posted 02-23-2011 06:21 PM

poopie they do make them with scales and stuff but I threw mine away because it made my head hurt trying to figure out which scale I was using depending on which legs I was using and whether it was right-side up (and I think whether Mars was in alignment with Venus). You get the picture.

Key is to get one that locks securely long enough to get it to the saw so you can replicate the angle. And you are correct…they are inherently inaccurate but so is the tilt guage on most table saws. but it generally gets “close enough” to start, then a little fiddling is needed once assembly starts.

View FaTToaD's profile


393 posts in 2559 days

#4 posted 02-23-2011 06:43 PM

I have the same one teejk has and it works fine, I was just using it last night. I’m sure having ones with a scale, but I mainly use mine to take readings so have the scale isn’t that useful for me.

-- David

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2268 days

#5 posted 02-23-2011 06:48 PM

Mine is a Bridge City Toolworks one that I got as a second because there were a few tiny flaws you’d need a magnifying glass to see. It is a great quality tool and I’ve never regretted buying it. It’s the larger size.

But we’re just talking about replicating an angle here. So glamor shouldn’t be a part of the equation.

But the aura of a used tool could be. You’ll find bevel gauges at garage sales and flea markets and thrift stores, and they’re most always the older ones, and they have such a great feel, and such a story to tell, that you may not be able to resist the clarion call. A little steel wool, a little degreaser, you’ll have a tool with a story of which you’re a continuing chapter, instead of a receipt that you think you might need if the brand new one breaks.

Buy old tools. Every day they’ll be in better company.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Loren's profile


8157 posts in 3065 days

#6 posted 02-23-2011 06:58 PM

The bevel gauge is really a layout transfering tool from the days
before power saws. That’s why it’s not common to see them
with angle markings. They’ve been around for 1000s of years
I reckon.

Anyway, the thing to look for is a good clamp-down device that
locks down tight, stays out of the way, and doesn’t require
a he-man grip to loosen it.

I have an old Stanley all-metal one with the nut on the end. It’s
a bit small and a little unbalanced compared to a wood-handled
bevel gauge, but the clamp is the best I’ve used.

Looks like this one:

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 2467 days

#7 posted 02-24-2011 08:00 AM

so, what size sliding bevel the most useful, anywhere around 4-9”?

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3406 days

#8 posted 02-24-2011 08:04 AM

4-7” should handle most everything.

Whatever size they sell. As long as it locks good, it’s doing it’s job.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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