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Thread: Thinking of Making a Marking Gauge

  1. #1

    Post Thinking of Making a Marking Gauge

    Hey, I am thinking of making a couple of marking gauges. I will probably try to make an older style wedge gauge, but wanted to also make a nice hardwood-style with brass. Where do I get the brass and marking pins? Seems I can find brass inserts just fine, but I want squared or rectangular brass "rods" to use in the beam...maybe also in the fence. I want the set screw to tighten up against the brass rod, vs. the wood. Where do I find knurled brass "screws" or even thumb screws for such a project?

  2. #2
    Better hardware stores will have a display of K&S Engineering metals which usually includes brass --- hobby shops to (it may be worth looking for an older shop which still has stock at old prices --- I've gotten some bargains that way, brass has become expensive). Similarly they'll have some knurled nuts and so forth in the hardware racks --- sometimes you can find odd ones mixed in.

    Here's some hardware I picked up at a local hardware store on a pair of calipers I used it on:

    WIN_20150914_214307.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Adams View Post
    Hey, I am thinking of making a couple of marking gauges. I will probably try to make an older style wedge gauge, but wanted to also make a nice hardwood-style with brass. Where do I get the brass and marking pins? Seems I can find brass inserts just fine, but I want squared or rectangular brass "rods" to use in the beam...maybe also in the fence. I want the set screw to tighten up against the brass rod, vs. the wood. Where do I find knurled brass "screws" or even thumb screws for such a project?
    A lot of this depends on your location. In my area one of the hardware stores has a rack of various items including brass stock in different forms; flat bars, tubing and rod. There is also a Fastenal Franchise that can get various threaded hardware. There are also a few industrial machine supply houses that can order the odd part.

    My wooden gauges usually have a 'floating' piece of brass held captive in the head stock riding on the beam under the screw. This is usually curled at both ends to hold it in place while the beam is adjusted.

    Here is something of mine similar to a wedge style gauge:

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....uge&highlight=

    You may want to make yourself a story stick gauge. If you use the same size beams then one wedged head can be used on a lot of different 'beams'.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
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    might also try McMaster Carr

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    One comment on screw-tightened marking gauges: put a pad or foot between the screw and the beam. Even with brass rod, your screw can mark the rod. Stanley used really cool little cast pads, but you can take a piece of brass sheet stock and bend it up into a "U" shape (to retain it). The base of the "U" goes in the mortise through which the beam runs. Carve out a little extra space for it.

    Check lamp stores for knurled-head screws. The screws used in lamps are usually too small (diameter of screw) for this application, but you might get lucky.

  6. #6
    Thanks for the great info. Question though, what should I use for the marking "pin"?

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Scott

    Here is an extract from one of my articles on building gauges. It includes what to do for a pin.

    The Curly Myrtle gauge on the right has a Jarrah wear strip. The photo does not do the timber justice. It is difficult to see the curl here. The other gauge is Tasmanian Blackwood with an Ebony wear strip. Its chatoyance is simply amazing.



    Tasmanian Blackwood is by far my favourite wood.





    The beam is locked via a captive brass plate ...



    This is the mechanism I made ..



    It is simply a brass plate that I drilled for a screw. The hole on the plate is chamfered, and the screw head fits fairly flush. Excess is filed off. The screw is left as a stub.

    The stub fits into the hole for the adjusting screw (so it is now captive), and the adjusting screw presses down on the stub for pressure.

    The cutter is a knife shaped from a 3/16" diameter HSS rod ...




    When using a cutting gauge it is important to ensure that the knife is perfectly aligned - parallel - with the fence. If it is even slightly skew, the knife edge will drag and cause tear out.

    To get it parallel, grind a slot at the upper end of the rod. Use a screwdriver to turn it until it is cutting as you wish. There is a screw at the front to prevent any movement.




    Other gauges and tools on this Index:
    http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMadeTools/index.html

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  8. #8
    Finding a local source for some 1/4" square brass rods would have required a time investment for me, so it was easier and cheaper (time/gas) to just order off of Amazon. I think it was under $15 for four 12" pieces. For the pin, I used a nail and then I simply filed it into a blade shape. I made two marking gauges and loved them.... until I fell in love with my Veritas gauge. That thing is so accurate, although not as fun to use. My filed nail gauges cut just as clean of a line on hardwoods as the wheel gauge, but on pine going cross grain it can tear a little - although I suspect if I spent a few extra minutes filing the nail I could remove that; I just didn't feel the need. I didn't bother with brass for the thumbscrew.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Adams View Post
    Thanks for the great info. Question though, what should I use for the marking "pin"?
    +1 on what Derek and Chris have suggested. If you have a broken small drill bit that will make a good pin for a gauge. If you want a slitting gauge you can use a piece of saw plate or an old plane blade that has come to the end of its usefulness in a plane.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  10. #10
    Scott, I once made a gauge (been lost to me for years - hoping it turns up at some point) and used the little marking pin off of an old square (a lot of them come with one embedded in the body of the square).
    "The reward of a thing well done is having done it." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
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    5,339
    I have wheel gages and pin marking gages. I also have a cutting gage. I don't know why, I just do.

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