Handy Tools – Mini Marking Square

Building drawer boxes, I'm working on small dovetails on relatively thin stock. I don't need a big square for marking lines, and given how cluttered my bench is at the moment, a small square seemed like a good thing to have.

I took a scrap of sycamore and planed it so the sides were flat and parallel.

Then I cut a slightly oversized dado in one of the pieces, glued a cross piece in, pegged it with a piece of bamboo skewer, and made sure it was actually square.

Small marking square

Marking a line on a scrap of plywood to test that the square is square

Flipping the square over and comparing to the line to verify that the square is square

Looks close enough for my needs. I'll clean it up and give it a coat of oil at some point, but for now, I'm back to marking and cutting dovetails.

With some shaping to make it more comfortable in the hand, and a couple coats of oil, it's looking pretty good to me.

Marking square, after finishing

After a year of use, this little tool is still always within reach. I did shorten the upright on it so I could mark dovetails on some box sides that were only about 2 inches wide, which meant only about 1½ inches stuck out of the vise when I was marking them. So now it's a much shorter T than previously, but it's still long enough to mark a pair of ¾ boards when I'm marking and gang-cutting tails.


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