Need a Marking Gauge? Build Your Own!

I love using marking gauges but have never been completely satisfied with the selections on the market.  My Veritas is great for certain applications by the fence is not wide enough when I need an accurate line more than a couple of inches away from the shoulder.  I also have an old style wooden marking gauge but it has pins instead of a knife edge, so it tends to tear the wood rather then cut it.  So when looking around for a new marking gauge, I realized that a lot had features and looks that I liked but non met all of what I was looking for.  So I decided to make my own and why not…I am a woodworker.

For the wood I went with Wenge for a few reasons.  It is stable, strong, beautiful, and…..well I had enough scraps left from my last project. There is really nothing extraordinary about the shape, I just wanted a wide fence and a stock long enough to give me a good hand hold and plenty of reach.

I am not a fan of brass or standard thumb screws so for the lock screw I found a knurled head screw that works great.  To resist wear from tightening the lock screw I used a metal threaded insert in the fence to house the lock screw.  The insert has threads inside and out, I used a little glue on the outer threads to lock them into the fence.  I was also concerned that the metal locking screw would damage the wood in the stock so I inlayed a stainless steel strip into the top of the stock.  I used the same stainless steel inlay on the bottom of the fence also.

The blade was ground from the same stainless steel stock and morticed into the bottom of the stock with a set screw tapped into the end of the stock to tighten the blade down.  I may modify this later by adding an insert in the end also to reduce wear.  The marking gauge was finished with two coats of shellac, I could have put more but it’s tool and just not necessary.

Over all I am really happy with the design.  I am going to make a few more of different sizes, a smaller scaled version would be great for small parts.

Be safe, learn something, and fun!


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7 Responses to “Need a Marking Gauge? Build Your Own!”

  1. Joel
    November 25, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Man, it would look much better if you used brass ;)

    It’s really nice.

  2. Todd H.
    November 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm #


    Nice marking gauge. Where did you get the stainless steel? I was thinking of making a couple marking gauges myself especially one that you can use on curved surfaces. Great job!

    • highrockww
      November 19, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

      Thanks Todd. I picked up the lock screw and stainless steel at Grainger. Are you looking to make one for inside or outside surfaces?

  3. November 19, 2012 at 3:23 am #

    Looks good, Chris. That’s a good looking gauge.

    • highrockww
      November 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

      Thanks Dyami.

  4. November 18, 2012 at 3:47 am #

    That’s the spirit! I started making my own marking gauges for the same reason.

    The stainless steel really sets off the wenge nicely.

    • highrockww
      November 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

      Thanks Steve. I really like the stainless steel too, I have never been much of a fan of brass and think the stainless is a much better look. It is also very tough for years of great wear.

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