Intro: Wooden Bevel Gauge
The Hand Tool Build Off of 2017 hosted by James Wright of Wood by Wright is in full swing and for my entry I decided to make a bevel gauge.
If you haven't heard of the Hand Tool Build Off its a competition where woodworkers make tools to win various woodworking related prizes. The tools that are made by the makers then get sent to people who cant afford tools or who are new to woodworking. It's a really community based project and I'd like to thank James for making it possible.
I have made a video documenting the build which is available on my YouTube channel as always and more detailed instructions follow below.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Pencil and rule
- Combination square
- Rip saw or table saw
- Hand plane
- Crosscut saw
- Wood chisel (various sizes needed if carving)
- Drill or Brace with 5.5mm bit and 6mm bit
- Wood file
- Spanner or socket for 6mm bolt
- I used some Sapele; 35cm long, 10mm thick and 3cm wide
- I also used some Ash; 27.5cm long, 3mm thick and 3cm wide
- A 6mm bolt with washers and a wingnut
- 240 grit and 800 grit sandpaper
- Some kind of wood finish, I used beeswax and mineral oil
Step 2: Cutting and Shaping the Outer Pieces
I cut a strip of sapele to the measurements provided in the plans and then planed it smooth. Once I had measured up to where the curve started I used some dividers to draw the curved end. At this point you could use a coping saw but I decided to use a chisel. I'm sure a bandsaw would work well also.
Step 3: Cutting the Middle Section
I cut a piece of wood to the length as shown in the plans and ripped it to just above a 3mm thickness. I then used my hand plane to take it down to the final 3mm thickness. As I had printed the plan out I was able to use it as a reference of where to cut out the small angled part.
Step 4: Carving the Roman Numerals
This is obviously an optional step, I just wanted to write "2017" on the tool so it had a bit of history behind it. I thought I'd do it in roman numerals because...well...why not? (it helps that they're all straight lines too)
I did this simply by drawing on where they'd go with a pencil and then marking down in each line with the chisel. After the pencil marks became chisel lines I then just used a chisel at an angle to pop out a little section next to the cut to give the numerals a little pop.
Step 5: Drilling the Bolt Hole and Shaping the Ends
In order to get a nice, accurate hole all the way through the 2 outside pieces I taped them together. I took the 5.5mm drill bit and went all the way through, I then widened the side to 6mm where the wingnut attached. The 5.5mm side provided a tight fit where the bolt would screw through, the 6mm side would be looser so the wingnut could tighten the side down onto the centre piece.
Afterwards I shaped the sides inwards so that the bolt and wingnut would be more settled into the tool and not sticking out too far.
Step 6: Shaping and Fitting the Centre Piece
After I had the outer pieces shaped and ready I glued the small angled piece at the bottom of the tool. I then cut a curve at the top of the centre piece in the same way I did to the outer pieces. I placed the centre piece inside the tool and drilled through it to make sure the hole was in the right place.
After drilling another hole at the end of the slot I marked down the length with a pencil and lightly pushed the chisel in to make a cut all the way down it. There's a number of ways you could take this piece out of the centre but I decided to use a small V chisel to scoop out from each side at a time. Its important to be careful here as any slip could easily split the wood in two. I did the final shaping with a file until the bolt fit snugly inside but moved freely.
As an afterthought I decided to sink in the washers so that more of the bolt was available for the wingnut to grab onto.
Step 7: Final Touches and Applying the Finish
I sanded all the pieces at 240 grit and then at 800 grit. I noticed the centre angled piece had to be filled in a little with some sawdust and glue. I wiped the excess off with a wet cloth and then sanded.
After everything was smoothly sanded I applied the beeswax and mineral oil and buffed it off to get a nice, smooth finish.
Step 8: Use It Till It Breaks!
I'm not sure how long the sapele and ash will hold up for before they break but I hope whoever receives it in the hand tool build can enjoy it and learn how to use it enough to make some wonderful things. Once again please head over to James Wright's YouTube channel - Wood by Wright - without him this competition and opportunity to help others would not be available.
Hope to catch you soon!