Makeshift Marking Gauge

To be able to chisel the grooves in the door of the china cabinet we restored, I had to mark out and cut down the sides of the groove. Rather than mark it with a compass, calipers, or some other method then cut, I could do it all at once with a marking gauge.

I had a few sticks and a razor, so I made my own in a only a couple of minutes.

Makeshift Marking Gauge - 1

I took a stick of a hard wood and marked out where I wanted my razor to be. Fortunately, my razor had holes in it, so it was ideal for this project.

Makeshift Marking Gauge - 2

I drilled the pilot holes and checked their position.

Makeshift Marking Gauge - 3

After marking out the position and size of the cross section of the stick on to a scrap piece of pine, I drilled and cut it with a coping saw.

Originally, I was going to use a set screw to hold the pine in place, but it split along the grain before I could finish cutting. The stick still fit well enough, so I decide to cut out the block and turn the pine into a clamp.

Makeshift Marking Gauge - 4

Next, I screwed in the razor. I was afraid that I was going to split the hardwood, too. There would be no point in fixing the pine if the hardwood was going to break. The razor fit securely without any problem.

Makeshift Marking Gauge - 5

After replacing the broken-out pine block with a spare drywall screw, the marking gauge is done.

The pine block slides up and down easily by hand, but when any torque is applied to it, such as when I push it against something I am marking, the pine doesn't move. If the gauge starts to wear, I can tighten the screw for more holding strength.

It would be worth filing or cutting off the edge of the razor blade that isn't used to cut. I've come close to cutting my thumb a few times while using this. It the end, the blade isn't stiff enough where I can cut deeply into anything while marking it.

Next time I need a marking gauge, I think I'd rather make another one where I use a sharp nail rather than a razor blade. It would be safer and easier to use. The razor flexes too much to truly call this gauge accurate.