Like last year, I am ending this gift guide with a tool that is a little expensive but will change your work to the core. (Last year is was an EasyWood Full-Size Rougher turning tool.) This year it is the best mortising gauge ever made: the Veritas Dual Marking Gauge.
Anyone who has worked with me knows that I am crazy in love with the Tite-Mark marking gauge, which is a tool I simply cannot imagine living without. I own four. And I hope to own more.
But for mortising, the Veritas Dual Marking Gauge is the cow’s meow. Like the Tite-Mark, it is so simple and ingenious that it’s a wonder no one has ever made one like it before.
What’s so amazing? The “optional” Shaft Clamp. It’s not optional. You need it. This allows you use your actual mortising chisel (metric or otherwise) to set the blades of the gauge. Then you can change the position of those lines by moving the head of the gauge. Pure genius.
Other gauges have a pale imitation of this function. But none does it as well as the Veritas.
Other details: The shafts are not in the center of the head, which means the tool will never roll off the bench. The tool is perfectly balanced and nests in your hand. It is (with the Shaft Clamp) only $65 but worth much more. Get one.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. All of the gift guide entries (including last year’s) are here.