Introduction: DIY Marking Gauge

About: I am an industrial designer and a maker. I like to make prototypes, unique pieces, equipment and other stuff. In this channel I will show you what I do, and in particular the making of design pieces, with var…

A marking gauge is one of the most essential tools of every woodworking workshop. It is used to, very precisely, mark distances to the workpieces.

The one I have made is a traditional one and the wood I choose to use is a wonderful and quite rare wood called Carob (Ceratonia siliqua). It's a very hard wood with a pink/red heartwood and a quite white sapwood. The old trees tend to have a big hole in the middle of the log, and this makes it even harder to find the right piece to work with.

The tools I have used are my Makita bandsaw, a drill press, a router on a shop made router table and some very basic hand tools like a Japanese saw, a chisel, rasps and sand paper.

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Step 1: The Sketch

Before to start any project, I use to make a quick sketch of what I'm going to make, or I chose an old sketch from my sketchbook, to fix my ideas about the forms and the materials to be used.

In this case, I have made a sketch on a toned tan sketch pad with an HI-TEC-C brown pen . This pen has a water soluble ink, so you can shade the stroke by adding some water with a brush.

Step 2: Technical Drawings

This step is not strictly necessary, but, for every piece that I make, I use to accurately define the design and make it in a way that it can be replicable exactly the same. So I modeled it in 3D using Fusion 360, I printed the two main pieces drawing and cut them with an X-ACTO knife to transfer the measures on the piece of wood.

Step 3: Cutting the Wood

After choosing the piece of wood I would like to use, from my woodyard, I cut a slab of the thickness I needed. In this case, been that the thickness of the final piece should have been one inch, I cut some more.

Step 4: Cutting Out the Main Parts

I have then glued up the drawings on the wood board, drilled the holes and cut out the two main parts of the marking gauge with my bandsaw.

Step 5: Sanding and Sizing the Parts

After cutting out the parts, it was time to sand them to polish the cuts and to round the corners. I used a belt sander, rasps and files. I have also sized and squared off the sliding piece by fixing a hand plane to my bench vice. The coupling of the too parts have to be very precise, so it is important to square very accurately the sliding piece, so that it can slide freely in the groove.

Step 6: Making the Groove

This is surely the trickiest part of the process, because the groove has to be perfectly square and precise in dimension. There are several ways to make this groove. You can use a router, a table saw or a groove plane, but I preferred to use a Japanese saw and a chisel because it was only a short groove and so I didn't risk to mess with the power tools.

The first step was to mark the groove using the sliding piece as a reference. I always prefer to do that way over measuring. Then I cut the two edges of the groove with my Kataba saw and for last I removed the excess with a chisel a little narrower than the groove. I always checked for perpendicularity during the process.

Step 7: Working on the Sliding Piece

Another key pass has been that of adding the slot to the sliding part. To do that I have used my shop made router table and a 1/4 inch router bit.

Then I have rounded the corners of the piece and drilled the hole to accommodate the marking blade.

If you want to know more about my router table, here is a video that shows how I have built it: Benchtop Router Table

Step 8: The Knob

To make the knob I have used a piece of the same wood. First of all, I clamped the piece to a vice and marked it with a divider drawing and hexagon. Then I drilled the six holes to make it flower shaped. Then I cut it out with my bend saw and refined it with the belt sander. Finally, I glued up a female brass screw in the center hole.

Step 9: The Blade

To make the blade I have used an old 4mm drill bit that I have first cut to length and then shaped and sharpened with a little sharpening stone mounted on a drill.

Step 10: Finishing

Now it's down to the best part, time to apply the finish and see the real color of the beautiful wood I have used.

For finish I used a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil and, when it has dried, I added a coat of beeswax and polished it.

Step 11: Final Shots

This is the final shot of the finished product.

Thanks for checking out the build. You should also check out the build video for the full experience:

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