Making a Simple Marking Gauge

In my quest to become more proficient with hand tools I decided to make myself a marking gauge.  Want to see how I did it?

I was pretty simple.  The reference surface is just a piece of walnut I turned on my lathe.  The shaft is a piece of 3/8″ round bar and I simply used a thumb screw to secure it in place on the shaft.  The cutter is a 15mm round carbide cutter I purchased from Easy Wood Tools.

Making a Marking Knife

If you’ve been following my work for the last few months you know that I’ve been working on my hand cut dovetails.  In fact I recently finished my first project with them, a dovetailed keepsake box.  During this project I realized that I needed some additional tools, mostly a marking knife.  So instead of going out to buy one, I set out to make one.  Here’s how I did it!

Make a Marking Knife

Recently I’ve caught the hand cut joinery bug.  You probably know that I’ve been practicing my dovetails and completed my first project, a dovetailed keepsake box.  I had a lot of fun with that build but it was clear to me that I was under-tooled.  I needed a marking knife.

I decided to try and make my own.  I’m not a frugal guy by any means.  I could just purchased one but I thought I’d challenge myself and see with I could come up with.  The end result is pretty good, has a unique look and works really well.

I started with a high speed steel jig saw blade and ground off the teeth and formed one end into a point at my disc sander.

Next I grabbed a scrap of walnut and turned a quick handle.  Nothing special here.  It’s about 6″ long and seems like a fancy pencil or pen when you hold it.

Next I took the blade over to my WorkSharp 3000 to hone the bevel and flatten the blade.  I was surprised to see that the jig saw blade had a series of curves in it, like a serpentine.

With the blade prepared, I cut a kerf into it to accept the blade and used a two part epoxy to attach the blade.  Once the epoxy had cured I scraped any squeeze out off the knife and wrapped it with bailer’s twine in stead of using a traditional brass or bronze ferrel.  I did that because I didn’t have a ferrel on hand.  I’ve seen other people use twine so I figured that I’d be good to go.  I wrapped the twine around the knife and secured it with CA glue.

With the CA glue dry it was time for a finish, Danish oil.

Cutting Through Dovetails – Pins First

This year, in 2016 I really want to up my hand joinery game so I’ve been working on cutting dovetails.  Until today every set of dovetails I’ve cut have been tails first.  I know, there is a huge debate about which is better or correct, tails first or pins first.  I’m of the mindset that you should use whichever technique that works best for you.  Whichever that is, that’s the best one.

Prior to this most recent set of dovetails, I’ve only cut four sets total.  I’m definitely still a beginner.  I was looking into different methods and it was brought to my attention that some people cut their dovetails pins first, so I decided to give it a try.  Frank Klausz seems to be the most well known pins first guy and his is the technique that I used.

If you’d like to see how it went, check out the video below.

I still have a ways to go in my dovetail journey before I can say that I can cut a decent set, but I get better each time I try!