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Cutting Gauge Tune-Up

Q:

I bought a new marking gauge to
cut across the grain when I lay out tenon
shoulders and dovetails. The problem is,
it doesn’t make a clean cut. All I get is a
raggedy line.How can I sharpen the tiny
cutting knife to make it work better?




A:

Marking gauges
come in two different
styles. One with a needle-
like pin works best
when following the grain
of a board. This is the
kind to use when laying
out the two sides of a
mortise, for example.







The style you bought
has a knife in it instead of
a pin, and is sometimes
called a cutting gauge. It’s
meant to be used across the grain, as you
describe. It should make a cut as clean as
one made by a razor blade. Here’s how to
fix yours:






You’ll have to change the profile of the
knife from pointed to round. A cutting
edge that is a single point dulls quickly.
A round edge will stay sharp longer
because there’s more cutting surface.
Also, change the double bevel to a single
bevel. A single bevel facing the gauge
head pulls the head tight to the edge of
the wood.







Remove
the


 

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