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How does a marking out gauge work?

How does a marking out gauge work?

Shop for Marking Out Gauges

marking out gauge, marking gauge, cutting gauge, panel gauge, wheel gauge and mortise gauge. Marking out gauges all work in a relatively similar way, using a sharp pin or knife to mark lines on a wooden work surface. However, slight differences in the tools mean that they can also be used in different woodworking applications.

Marking gauges

parts of a marking gauge; pin, stem and fence, pin used to mark the wood A marking gauge has three basic parts which allow it to hold a measurement and mark a surface.

The pin or scribe is attached to the end of the tool and has a pointed tip to mark the surface. The tool also has a block piece, known as a fence, which sits up against the edge of the material and holds the measurement. The main body of the tool is called the stem which connects all the parts and can come in varying lengths to reach over different sized workpieces.

Using a marking gauge, the pin is dragged across the wood to mark it Once the tool is set to the desired measurement, it is dragged across the workpiece with the pin marking the wood without any extra pressure being exerted.

As the fence is pressed up against the edge of the workpiece, the user can be sure that the line marked is parallel to the straight edge.

Line made by a marking gauge against the grain of the wood As a marking gauge only uses a small pin to mark wood, it cannot mark wood against the grain without causing the line to be frayed. The grain of the wood can also slightly pull the pin so the line may not be completely straight.

These factors mean that when working against the grain, a marking gauge cannot give a really accurate line which is the most important reason for using a marking out gauge. Instead, for this application, a gauge with a blade should be used, such as a cutting gauge.

Panel gauges

Panel gauge A panel gauge works in much the same way as a marking gauge, but has a longer stem which allows it to reach over larger wooden boards.

Cutting gauges

Labelled knife/ blade on a cutting gauge, used instead of a marking gauge when marking against the wood grain When marking against the grain a cutting gauge is used. The cutting gauge uses a small blade instead of a pin and this blade can cut slightly further into the wood meaning it can cut through the grain, creating an even and accurate line.

Wheel gauges

Wheel gauge A wheel gauge has a blade, the same as a cutting gauge, allowing it to mark both with and against the grain. However, its round shape can allow it to move more easily over the surface with the blade rotating. The fence sits up against the edge of the work surface with the blade rolling along it.

Mortise gauges

A mortise gauge marking two lines on a piece of wood so a mortise can be cut out A mortise gauge is specifically used to cut out mortises (sections cut out of wood). For this, the mortise gauge has two pins, one of which can be adjusted into position. The two pins are set to the size of mortise you wish to cut out then they can mark in unison.

It is sometimes known as a combination gauge as it also has a single pin on the opposite side for marking a single line parallel to the edge of a workpiece.

Steps in making a home made marking gauge There are many online guides on how to make your own marking out tools, however, unless you are an experienced craftsman, this is not recommended as it is very easy to make the tool uneven or off-balance. This can cause the gauge to produce inaccurate lines and therefore defeats the point of using a marking out tool.
   Wonkee Donkee says; As some marking out tools are now available quite cheap, making your own tool does not always work out the cheapest option. However, it can be a great little project for a wood working hobbyist.

Wonkee Donkee Tools