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Take Precise Measurements Every Time With the Best Marking Gauges
Whether you’re a professional tradesperson, an amateur woodworker, or a DIYer, you can’t properly do your job unless you have the right tools. That’s especially true when it comes to taking measurements and drawing reference lines for cutting and making joints fit properly. Marking gauges are a simple and effective means of marking accurate lines perpendicular to the edge of a board, helping you work with precision all while saving plenty of time in the workshop. These nifty tools can make the difference between a perfectly executed project and a botched one.
From a simple pencil gauge to a more sophisticated mortise gauge, there are so many different types of marking gauges — so choosing the right one can quickly become a difficult task. To help you out, we reviewed the highest-rated marking gauges of 2023 worth adding to your woodworking arsenal.Show contentsComparing the Optimal Marking Gauge of 2023
Find Your Next Marking Gauge: A Buyer’s Guide
- Clarke Brothers Marking Gauge - Best Overall
- Mr. Pen Marking Gauge - Best Design
- Taytools Marking Gauge - Most Precise
- iGaging Marking Gauge - Most Durable
- Generies Marking Gauge - Ideal for Professionals
Find Your Next Marking Gauge: A Buyer’s Guide
While you’re cutting the work or setting out different pieces of furniture to join them together, a marking gauge comes in handy to draw a precise reference line. But how to pick the right product for your needs? We’ve curated a comprehensive guide to let you decide on the finest marking gauge.
Types of Marking Gauges
Traditional marking gauges
These marking gauges have a pin to mark the workpiece’s surface and are simple, long-lasting, and inexpensive. They come with an affordable price tag and are extremely versatile, so there’s no reason not to have one in your woodworking kit.
This type of marking gauge uses a knife rather than a pin to mark reference lines on the workpiece. Due to high precision, a cutting gauge offers cleaner cuts with virtually no chips and tears. The drawback is that they are often a bit more expensive and hard to operate.
Wheel marking gauge
Featuring a metal rod and sturdy ring, a wheel marking gauge has an innovative design. While they cut exceptionally precise and clear lines with smooth metal slides and circular cutting edge, they are more on the expensive side.
Materials Used for Marking Gauges
Maple and beech
Marking gauges made of beech and maple, both of which are hardwoods, are most common because of their robustness and resilience to wear and tear. They can withstand high pressure and are frequently used for manufacturing hardened tools. Being a North American hardwood, maple isn’t usually found in other countries, which is why maple versions are significantly more expensive than other alternatives.
If you’re on a budget or a DIYer, plastic marking gauges are the best choice for you because of the cheaper prices and flexibility, making them ideal for occasional use. The main drawback is that plastic models aren’t as sturdy as their wooden counterparts.
Rosewood marking gauges have a darker color scheme and look aesthetically appealing. Because they are made of relatively not-so-common wood, these versions are the most expensive than the plastic and maple versions. But many people prefer to have rosewood models in their tool kit due to their deep red, brown, or purple color that enhances its visibility for quick identification in the tool kit. On top of it, rosewood is also highly resistant to water damage, making it a long-lasting and durable choice — they are usually more of a luxury tool in the woodworking kit.
Usually, the frame of a marking gauge is made of hardened metals, and aluminum is used to make the body to make it lightweight, sturdy, and rust-resistant. Allowing you to mark the reference lines without any hassle, aluminum marking gauges have just the right amount of weight.
The pins and blades of almost all marking gauges are made of steel, which has been heat-treated to make it water and rust-resistant. By heating the steel at a temperature of 1,112 and 1,472°F and then it’s quickly cooled to make it more durable. Because the blade and pin should be powerful and sharp enough to carve a line on different surfaces, it should be thick enough to withstand the pressure but the tip should be sharp and pointed for precise markings.
Comparing the Optimal Marking Gauge of 20231– Best Overall
Perfect for woodworkers and carpenters alike, the Clarke Brothers Marking Gauge is a high-end option. Featuring a roll-top fence with a flat top, this product allows for smooth movement when marking your project. This tool has a laser engraved with graduated marks so you can easily measure the distance between two points.
Both metric and imperial versions are available up to 6 inches or 150 mm, and the extra hardened steel wheel cutters ensure accuracy even when working with delicate materials. The 8-inch long graduated bar is made of solid brass, steel, and aluminum alloy for added strength and rust resistance. This fast, highly accurate, and easy-to-use marking gauge has earned the top spot on the list, so you’ll be able to get your work done quickly!2– Best Design
The Mr. Pen Marking Gauge is a precision tool for marking exact dimensions on wood, metal, and plastic. It has a durable, high-quality brass construction that can withstand years of use without breaking down or losing its sharp edge. The measurements are engraved on it in both imperial and metric versions, allowing you to work with precision.
What’s more, it has a highly efficient cutter head that retracts for maximum safety. This marking gauge also features a knurled adjustment knob and tail, which allows for a quick turn of the space without having to remove it from your workpiece. On top of that, it comes with replacement blades so you can easily swap it out when one gets dull.3– Most Precise
The Taytools Marking Gauge is a great tool for marking and measuring straight lines on wood. This product has a solid brass 1.6-inch diameter head with knurled adjustment knob and a latching head to lock in the measurement, eliminating discrepancies.
It features a hardened 0.37-inch diameter round cutter that’s ready to tackle any task and comes with two additional cutters, so you’ll be set for a long time. Additionally, it comes equipped with a 7 x 0.31-inch diameter hardened steel beam that prevents sliding around when working on different surfaces. The cutter head retracts into the countersink when not in use, making it easy and safe to store or carry around your workshop.4– Most Durable
The iGaging Marking Gauge is a precision tool for marking, measuring, and transferring dimensions. Its head is made from brass and the shaft is steel, making it durable and reliable. The knurled lock nut allows you to tighten the head to ensure that your measurements are accurate.
This gauge is both beautiful and functional — the solid brass body has been finished to perfection, allowing it to withstand heavy use without scratching or chipping. This well-engineered 8-inch steel rod is graduated in 0.31-inch increments that make it easy to get the most precise measurements possible. Plus, it can also be used as a depth gauge.5– Ideal for Professionals
The wheel cutter of this marking gauge from Generies has a durable stainless steel body with a no-marring brass face so you don’t have to worry about scratches and scuff marks on your project. The lightweight aluminum body allows you to use the gauge with ease and efficiency, while the precision ground rod features 1 to 6-inch markings to ensure accurate measurements for whatever project you’re working on.
What’s more, it features a vacuum-treated sharp edge so your lines are always crisp, and the ability to add a pencil makes it easy to mark your measurements down as you go. With all these features, this tool is perfect for a wide range of applications from woodworking to furniture making.
Marking Gauges FAQQ: Can I use my marking gauge for wood and metalworking?
A: Marking gauges for metal working are more robust and durable than those made for wooden workpieces. Plus, marking gauges made for woodworking can scratch metallic surfaces, so you should purchase two different models if you work on both metal and wooden surfaces.Q: What’s the difference between a mortise gauge and a marking gauge?
A: A marking gauge has an adjustable fence, which is secured to the rod, while a single pin is used to draw one line and is used along the grain to insert hinges or joints. A mortise gauge comes with two pins, allowing you to scribe both sides of the gauge simultaneously.Q: Can I sharpen the marking gauge wheel?
A: Absolutely. The wheel needs frequent sharpening for precise marking and you can sharpen it with a drill press and a diamond honing scale to make it as good as new.Related Reviews