The Always Set Edge Marking Gauge

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About: Desktop Support Technician by day. Rock Drummer by night. DIY Home Improvement Enthusiast. Maker of whatever I can imagine in between it all. Professional level napper. I have a full workshop in my basem...

Intro: The Always Set Edge Marking Gauge

I don't know about you, but I hate having to constantly change the settings on my marking gauges. Heck, I hate changing my mind, the channel, and my clothes, but I do it because my Momma taught me manners (um ... what?).

I've been building some stools and jigs and a recuring theme is the need to measure 3/4" in from the edge of a board. No problem right? I mean I have a 6" combination square. Then I change the setting for another measurement only to need 3/4" a few beers, I mean minutes later.

Sure ... I could go to the big box store down the street and buy a case of combination squares, but if you saw my herb garden build, you know my attention span thwarted me from planting a money tree. This problem calls for some scrap wood and a few minutes of my time.

Step 1: Collect the Parts

I'm predominantly dealing with 3/4" stock, be it plywood or solid wood like poplar or oak from the box store down the street. Due to this fact, I want a little more room so it doesn't bind up and annoy me even more.

On my scrap/off cut shelf, I found a 1 1/2" lamination (2 layers of 3/4" ply from a sled fence) and some hardboard .. weird right?

Step 2: Rip the Parts

I first ripped the plywood lamination to 7/16" with the veener facing up. This will be the inside width of the gauge. I then rotated it 90 degrees and ripped it to 1" for easy measurements and comfortable size (hey now).

The hardboard strips were ripped to 2" and 2 1/4" respectively. These aren't final widths, I leave everything long and trim to finish measurements whenever possible.

Glue a strip of hardboard to each side of the plywood. Be mindful of the plywood orientation. We want the smooth veener side facing up from in between the hardboard sandwich. I used glue, pin nails, and spring clamps. I also used my table saw top to keep it all flush during assembly.

Step 3: Trim to Final Widths

My "bottom" is flush (don't be fresh) and I know the "depth of my plywood is 1". I want my gauge to be 3/4" on one side and 1" on the other side. So, I trim my sides down to 1 3/4" and 2" respectively. To be honest, I snuck up on the first side and checked it on scrap wood to make sure everything was working out, which it was/did/is/will forever!.

Once ripped to width, I trimmed the length on the miter saw. This left my gauge at a little over 14", so I turned it into two gauges! It's just like TV where they give you something free to make it seem like a better value.

Step 4: Ready to Layout Lines

I now have a 12" gauge and a 2" gauge, which are fast and I never have to adjust. Obviously, you can customize the width and length to meet your needs.

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    4 Discussions

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    bparke

    4 years ago on Step 4

    Great idea! Sounds like your shop is like mine. Final step should be paint it bright color so you can find it next time.

    1 reply
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    -BALES-bparke

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Good call! My tape measures are neon green and I still lose the darn things.

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    inkbladder

    4 years ago

    Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

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    FN64

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Now that's a pretty neat idea! I work with a lot of 3/4" stock and do a fair amount of dado cuts on the ends of a panel.
    I've got some lexan from another project... I think I'll make a couple of these with different measurements.
    Ya might want to post this over on woodworkingtalk.com under the jigs or hand tools forums. Great crew over there..