Wheel marking gauges are great layout tools, but their round face means the tool has an annoying tendency to roll, which sometimes results in finding it on the floor with a chipped cutter. By reshaping the outside profile of the tool’s face, it stays put and adds a touch of flair.
This simple improvement takes about 30 minutes. Here’s how to do it:
- Buy, download and print the Polygon Marking Gauge Template ($4 CAD) on a sheet of letter-sized paper;
- Select between the heptagon, octagon, and nonagon (7-, 8- and 9-sided polygons) and cut it out, staying safely outside the template;
- Cut a hole in the centre of the template slightly larger than the wheel of your marking gauge with a sharp brad-point bit or hole punch, using the concentric circles as a guide;
- Separate the marking gauge head from the other components, if possible;
- Adhere the template to the face of your wheel marking gauge with spray adhesive or double-sided tape using the concentric circles in the middle of the jig and trim any paper extending beyond the face of the gauge;
- Shape the face to the desired profile with a metal file or a stationary disc or belt sander. Note that you do not need to remove material up to the lines – having an even distance from each line is enough to ensure an even profile:
- If using a file, clamp the gauge head in a vise and file one facet at a time, rotating the head after completing each facet;
- If using a stationary sander, hold the gauge face-down on the machine’s table set at 90-degrees to the abrasive. Work slowly, checking your progress frequently and being mindful of the potential heat build-up;
- Remove the paper template and soften the resulting sharp edges with a file or fine sandpaper; and
- Check that there are no stray filings or other bits of metal inside the marking gauge head before reassembling your wheel marking gauge.
That’s it! I love the look of my polygon marking gauge, and how it doesn’t roll around on my bench (or off my bench!) It’s an easy modification that sees an immediate improvement. I encourage you to give this a try. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have, and send me pictures of your completed gauge heads!