How to make a simple pencil marking gauge.


The pencil marking gauge is a simple, yet very useful layout tool. This was one of those things , that I would get around to making and , its took nearly a year to get around to.
It's very common for me, in my work, to be marking out boards, anywhere from 300mm to  500mm. I cut and square one edge, then work from that edge. I have used a combination square, to mark out parallel lines etc. for some time . As good as they are, they have two main flaws.

1) when marking parallel lines , my pencil tends to wonder off the edge, of the ruler section.

2) The biggest combination square I own , is 400mm. That is the ruler section, so I don't get the full 
400mm, because there is always a portion, of the ruler in the main body.

This becomes a problem or more of an inconvenience , when marking out boards wider the 350mm, which is common for me, to do .
So then I have to make two or more, measurements with a tape measure, and join the marks up with a straight edge. So if I have four or more boards , to mark out, you can see that a pencil marking gauge, is going to make my life easier, and speed things up .


This was an pretty easy build, using scraps of oak, which took a few hours. Probably the hardest part ,was making the wedge, because of it being small.
The main body consists of a mortice, and a haunch to house the wedge , which was set at 6° . The main body also has a rebate , to register against the edge, of your work pieces. There is a slight ark on the top of the body. This makes the tool comfortable in the hand, pleasing to the eye, and could be used to mark an ark in the future. The shaft has a hole for the pencil, which is a friction fit.

In terms of size, I didn't really do a lot of measuring out. I did measure the shaft, as I wanted to be able to mark out boards, up to 500mm. Other then that , I didn't really measure things out. It was more a case of , if it looked right and, felt right , that was good enough. I wanted a functional tool, but didn't want to spend hours planing , designing and measuring it .

I have included a rough sketch with sizes but, there is room to refine and improve, and I would suggest, making the gauge to your own sizes. 

If your going to make one yourself, you should make it to suite your work . Some things to consider would be -
1) how long to make the shaft/body.
2) what materials to use (I'd recommend a good hardwood , oak, beach etc.)
3) should I use a wedge or thumb screw.
4)what type/size of work am I often making
These simple , yet easily over looked questions , will help you make a gauge , fit for you and your uses.

Below is a high speed video of the gauge I made.


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