I cut my first dovetail in 1993 and that was also the first day I learned to use a marking gauge. The instructor didn’t tell me how to use it, so I set it and worked things out for myself. I ended up marking my baselines by pulling the gauge toward me.
And I’ve never done it any other way.
The funny thing is that this year I’ve been editing a lot of 20th-century writing on handwork from 1937 to 1967. And the advice from every author is universal: Push the marking gauge away from you to make your line. Don’t pull it toward you.
They don’t really say why. Though they do show you how to set up the pin in the gauge so that it works only when you push the gauge.
I’m at odds with this advice. I’m going to investigate it some more, but I don’t think I’m going to blindly switch to pushing my marking gauges and cutting gauges.
— Christopher Schwarz