A digital marking gauge? Really? Well, why not, right? The iGaging Digital Marking Gauge still does everything a traditional marking gauge does. In fact, you don’t even have to use the digital readout, but it’s there if you want it.
So first let’s imagine it didn’t have a digital readout. This is a quality marking gauge even without it. It has a generous fence, smooth operation, and a very substantial feel. You can choose either a pin style, or wheel style. The price isn’t bad either, relative to other high-end marking gauges.
The wheel style gauge is great for marking across the grain, as it cuts the wood’s fibers, making a very crisp, clean line. If you opt for the pin style, you get two auxiliary pins. One pin attaches to the beam for use as a mortising gauge. The other pin attaches in place of the fence, so you can use the gauge as a divider or compass. The pins are a hardened alloy, so they’ll mark on steel as well as wood.
You can read it in either fractions or millimeters. The wheel gauge moves in 64ths, and the pin gauge moves in 128ths of an inch. If you go metric, you’ll read in 100ths of a millimeter, which is impossibly accurate for woodworking. The readout shuts itself off after five minutes of inactivity, to preserve the battery.
I think you’ll find that the digital readout is quite handy, once you get used to it. One of the big benefits of the digital readout is repeatability. Provided you know a previous setting, you can get back to it in a snap. You can also zero the readout at any point, which is nice for marking mortises. Say you want a 3/8″ mortise. Mark one side of the mortise, zero the gauge, move it 3/8″ and mark the mortise’s other side from the same face.
Another use for the digital readout is as a depth gauge, using the beam as a probe.
There are a couple items on my wish list for this tool. First, the knob for locking the head in place is tiny. Other than the possibility of a larger knob putting too much torque on a small set screw, there’s no obvious reason for it to be that small.
Second, if you’re not careful you can push the buttons on the readout while you’re using the gauge. At best it’s annoying; at worst you could accidentally zero the gauge and lose your setting.