Handy Tools – Fixed ⅜” Marking Gauge

Simple, but for every bookcase I built, I needed to cut a dozen 3/8” wide & deep rabbets. Which means marking two dozen lines 3/8” from the edge of a board. And I made a total of 70 bookcases to hold all my books.

I was initially using my fixed fence kerfing plane, but then I broke that by knocking it off my bench, which gave me an opportunity to rethink things.

Since I've been practicing turning things with my lathe, I've got a bunch of round things. I took one of them, put a fence on it (another scrap) and then put a brass brad through it 3/8” from the fence.

Fixed fence marking gauge

Now I've got a marking gauge that won't get accidentally set to some other distance, and it fits in my pocket, rather than sitting on the bench where I might damage it. And since I resaw a lot of ¾” boards into two pieces, I'll probably continue needing a 3/8” marking gauge enough to keep it around (I did – it still gets used often enough that it's not buried in the other stuff on my bench).

Another note: about every hundred lines or so (8-10 cases), the brad will get a little dull and bend. Glad I didn't glue it in, so I can relatively easily replace it with a new brad. I probably should have used hardened steel, but I have a couple hundred brass brads around, so when it gets dull, I'll file it sharp again, and when it bends, I'll replace it.

I also got asked by a woodworking buddy what kind of a tip on my marking gauge is my favorite. I replied:

the round discs that are on my fancy marking gauges seem to be the best for all-around marking. Next is a pin. And when marking end-grain for dovetails, I will either use a spear-point marking knife or a pencil. For my pine bookcases, I'm marking all the dovetails with a pencil, and getting reasonably good results.


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