Marking Gauge Maintenance
I’m busy dovetailing the 13 tiny drawers for the tool chest I’m making. I’m using two marking gauges to mark out the drawer fronts, but I was having some problems with the precision of my marks. I first turned my attention to the pins. They get dull and need to be reshaped or just resharpened, but that wasn’t the problem. I was getting double lines (after two passes) or I’d mark a face then mark through the end grain and the marks wouldn’t line up. Hmmm.
I traced the problem to a worn face of the gauge. Not sure if you can see it in the picture, but the sides are worn down and the face is a bit crowned. The wear was just enough to allow me to get the pin in the wrong spot. I think a worn face like this can even produce a mark that is not parallel with the reference face.
The solution was easy: Take the gauge part and plane the face down.
I like making my own tools. I really loved making these gauges. I have seen commercial gauges with bits of brass on their faces, presumably to reduce wear. I think this is the first time I’ve planed this gauge in eight years of near-daily use. And mahogany is not even a particularly hard wood.
– Adam Cherubini
Check out a CD collection of Adam’s magazine columns, “The Arts & Mysteries of Hand Tools,” at ShopWoodworking.com