Introduction: Marking Gauge for Woodworking

About: Mostly woodworking related projects with a special interest in toys, musical instruments and vintage tools.

I made this Marking Gauge for using in woodworking projects, but it could be useful for other crafts.

I made it using the following tools and items:

Hardwood - I used Oak for the Handle and Poplar for the Stock, but they can both be made from the same wood.

5mm Allen Key for the Cutter.

6mm Furniture Bolt and small piece of Hardwood for the Thumbscrew.

Wood Glue.

Super Glue (optional)

A Woodworking Lathe, although the handle could be made square instead of round.

Wood turning tools. (Not needed if the handle is not made using a lathe)

A Hacksaw.

A Hand Drill. (Drill Press optional)

5mm Brad Point Drill Bit

6mm Brad Point Drill Bit

25mm Spade Drill Bit

Small chisel.

Rasps and Files.


Wood Finish of your choice.

Step 1: Select the Wood

I decided to make two tools as I will be keeping one and sending the second one as a gift.

I selected two pieces of wood, long enough to make both tools.

The measurements are not critical, but they need to be able to make a tool that will be comfortable to hold while using. The handles I made measure around 7cm long and 2.5cm in diameter. The Stock is around 2.5cm thick, 3cm high and 5cm wide. The handle needs to be a bit shorted than the length of the Allen Key. I designed the tool so that the cutter is recessed into the face for safe storage and carrying and the cutter is released for use by pushing forward from the end of the handle. This will be self explanatory later in the build.

Step 2: Creat the Handle

I wood-turned the handle between centers from Oak, but a square handle would also work.

Here I marked the center position using a parting tool, then shaped the handle using a skew chisel.

I shaped a Tenon in the center with enough length for two tools when cut in the center. The tenon should be long enough to sit flush with the face of the stock when assembled. I made the Tenons longer than needed to leave room for error and cut them flush later.

Step 3: Make the Stock

The stock is the part of the tool that will rest against the piece of work to be marked.

I made the Stock rectangular shaped, but they could also be made round or a shape of your choice.

I cut the Stock to size and drilled a 25mm hole in the center using a spade bit mounted in the drill press, but a hand drill can be used. To prevent tear out, drill part way through from one side until the tip appears and then continue to drill through from the other side using the hole made as a guide.

Drill the handle down the center using a drill bit slightly larger than the size of Allen Key used as a cutter. I used a 5mm Allen Key and a 6mm bit to drill through the handle. I used a Brad Point drill bit for this step.

Once the hole is drilled through the handle to receive the cutter and the hole in the stock to receive the tenon of the handle, then glue in place using wood glue.

Step 4: Shaping the Cutter

Cut and file the Allen Key to form the cutter.

I cut it to provide a depth of 15mm. This is to leave enough material for future sharpening and help to get the longest use out of the cutter over time.

I shaped the end to a focused point and flattening the two faces shown to a wedge for a clean marking cut when being used.

Step 5: Make the Thumbscrew

Using a small piece of Hardwood, drill a 5mm hole through the center.

The Thumbscrew can be shaped to how you like, so the dimensions are not critical. The measurements only need to match the design you like the look of.

After drilling the 5mm hole, thread the Furniture Bolt through and apply a few drops of Super Glue (wood glue will work also) and finish threading the bolt in.

Finally shape the Thumbscrew using rasps and files, then apply a finish.

Step 6: Recess the Cutter in the Stock Face

Fit the cutter in the handle and mark around it using a pencil.

Cut away the recess using a small chisel until the cutter seats in neatly when pushed all the way into the Stock.

Step 7: Fit the Thumbscrew and Assemble the Marking Gauge

Drill a 5mm hole in the top of the Stock that is aligned to the center of the handle.

Drill until the bit appears in the 6mm hole drilled through the center of the handle.

Using a 6mm threaded bolt, create a thread for the Thumbscrew in the Stock. The Thumbscrew will hold the cutter securely in position after setting the marking depth.

The Thumbscrew will need to be cut to length using a hacksaw. The thread needs to reach the center of the handle with a small amount remaining above the Stock.

Step 8: Using the Marking Gauge

Set the depth you need to mark on the work piece by extending the cutter from the handle then securing using the thumbscrew.

When the cutter is recessed into the Stock it can be pushed forward from the back of the handle.

The Allen Key I used to make the Cutter extends to 9cm and is still secured by the Thumbscrew.

Step 9: More Images

These are a handy and sturdy marking gauge to add to your tool collection.


Namaste :)