A Unique Benchtop Marking Gauge That Has Two Uses

For a shop made marking gauge I wanted to try something different this time. I have made them before but modeled mine after the run-of-the mill gauges you all have seen. Crown gauges come to mind. They are nice gauges and at one time I had two of them (different sizes). Last week I caught the bug to attempt to make one for myself as I didn’t have one at all. Brainstorming I came up with this one that is not only a marking gauge but a compass also. I paint watercolors and sometimes mat and frame them myself and use a marking gauge to lay out the mat  Nice way to do it as there is really no measuring involved, just make the mat wide enough to frame the painting. I set up this gauge so that it will accept a blade or a lead for marking depending if I want a cut line or a pencil line.

During cutting and planing the pieces I realized it’s shape becoming completely different from the other gauges you see. I continued to carve the shape of the sliding block to exactly fit my right hand while using it. Now that it’s finished I find it a pleasure to use.

Shop Made Marking Gauge Plus Compass

Here is the marking gauge apart, showing the basic shapes of the pieces. Main wood is maple and the darker wood I am not sure what it is but worked out nice as it compliments the maple and is a hard dense wood with tight grain. The pointed “needle” was shaped using a drill press and a rotary tool fitted with a diamond grinding disk. The face of the gauge has a solid brass plate mortised to accept the gauge “bar”. You can see the some of the carved areas I did to accept my hand grip. The blade is hardened and tempered 01 tool steel 1/32″ thick cut in a “v” shape.

Shop Made Marking Gauge With Compass

Here is a pic of the gauge assembled. The knurled brass knob has 1/4″ 20 threads and tapped through to meet with the gauge’s bar. I cut two small circular pieces of leather and placed them in the hole for a locking mechanism. A gentle twist of the knob locks the gauge in place nicely.

Backside of the shop made ergonomic marking gauge with compass

Here you can see the underside of the gauge with the sharpened pin in the rear hole for use as a compass. Two holes are used, one will allow circles drawn down to about 1″ in diameter and the other for larger circles, up to about 19″ in diameter. If you look closely at the underside of the wedge you can see a shallow “v” cut into it. That is used to wedge a mechanical lead for drawing a line.

Shop made marking gauge with compass

Drawing an arc using the the gauge in compass mode.

A series of shots showing how it was carved to fit my hand. By the way, the maple I used has some flaws in the wood. You can see white “dots” and what I figure are worm holes but strangely they are filled with a white powder like substance. Anyone know what these things might be? I am curious about them and would like to know.

Finally you can see how the gauge fits nicely with my hand. I am going to enjoy using this gauge. If you have any questions about the gauge please leave a comment. Thanks.

2 thoughts on “A Unique Benchtop Marking Gauge That Has Two Uses

  1. bpk

    Those holes may be the work of Powderpost beetles.


    • Robert Tutsky

      Yes that is correct.

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