Real Penny Pincher

One of the nicest things about woodworking is having the chance to make your own tools. Granted, it's a wee bit difficult to build something like a table saw out of scraps laying around the shop, but even-once in a while there is a useful little gadget you can make.

One of the things I've always wanted to make was my own marking gauge. I kept toying with the idea, but there were two problems I couldn't find a solution for.

I knew 1 could make the arm and the body out of wood — that's common practice and relatively easy to do. But I couldn't figure out a cheap and easy way to hold the arm securely in place after it was set. This is usually done with a fancy brass thumb screw- that goes through a threaded hole in the wooden body. (There are tools for threading wood, but they're not cheap.)

When I discovered rosan inserts (sometimes called threaded inserts), it solved the problem. All I had to do was screw the rosan insert into the body and use a regular old thumb screw to hold the arm in place.

But the thumb screw dented the wood, leaving little holes along the arm that caused problems. So, next I needed a fancy brass shoe like on the 'store-bought' marking gauges. Since I didn't have one of these either, I had to improvise. I dug deep in my pocket and came out with a penny. And that was the answer for my penny-pinching marking gauge. (On the deluxe model I use a dime.)

Getting this all put together is shown in the drawings at right. Since I had to coun-terbore a hole for the shoe (penny), I made the body by cutting a dado in some Y* stock (the one shown is made of cherry).

After getting the two halves (Fig. 1), I drilled a hole Vh deep (for the penny), and followed with a hole for the rosan insert. Then 1 glued the two halves together so the dadoes formed a mortise.

Next I ripped a piece for the arm so it fit snugly in the mortise. Fig. 2. Since 1 didn't have a fancy steel pin for the marking point, 1 used an X-acto blade. To mount it I had to mortise a hole near the end of the arm. I just drilled a :Ys" hole and squared it up with a chisel.

Finally, I carved out a small wedge to fit the mortise. It's a little hassle getting the X-acto blade set to the proper depth with the wedge. But once it's in there the blade does an excellent job of marking a nice crisp line. (And it's easily replaced when it gets dull.)

So that's it. My little penny-pincher marking gauge.

FIGURE 2

DRILL V." HOLE AND SQUARE UP WITH CHISEL

FIGURE 3

NO 24 XACTO BLADE

WEDGE

'/«" x 1" THUMB SCREW V,- ROSAN INSERT PENNY

SIDE VIEW CROSS SECTION

2ND DRILL W HOLE __ FOR ROSAN INSERT

FIGURE 1

RIP TWO T-WIDE PIECES

3RD GLUE HALVES TOGETHER

2ND DRILL W HOLE __ FOR ROSAN INSERT

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