To date, I've been laying out my cut lines with a 6" combination square and a utility knife. I find this method is time consuming and a bit inaccurate. Can anybody suggest someplace to get a decent, not-too-pricey combo mortice/marking gauge? I was looking at Highland Hardware's for $32 (item 061114), which seems a decent price for what looks like a fair quality item.
> Can anybody suggest someplace to get a decent,
>not-too-pricey combo mortice/marking gauge?...
>Dunno what to say; other than since the above was the
>criteria and I paid $80 for mine, thought I couldn't be of
Well, is there a distinct advantage or compelling reason to purchase an $80 gauge as you did over a $30 gauge? For instance, if somebody were to remark that no gauge under $50 was worth the money because of some valid reason (certain woods are a bad idea, certain locking mechanisms don't work well, etc), I would certainly reconsider my purchase. :)
Can't really think of any compeling reason to go the route I did. Saw it in an antique store, the pins were (are) in great shape, so I bought it. It is over a hundred years old, Rosewood with brass and Gaboon Ebony inlay on the face of the head and brass inlay elsewhere...'Course it works fantastic (it is, after all, the Indian; not the arrow :7 ).
I've got that same (or very similar) one from the same maker, Crown Tools out of Sheffield.
I picked mine up second hand . . . I don't say used, only because it didn't look used. ;)
One thing you may need is a little laquer thinner, some paste wax and some patience. One of the big sacrifices made in saving money on wood layout tools like these is they are 'dipped' or sprayed with laquer rather than haveing a hand-rubbed finish.
So, when it arrives, if it looks good (got a thin coat) you may want to leave it alone . . . if it has visible drips and runs, you may want to take some laquer thinner and lightly rub out the finish a bit . . . protecting it with a few coats of wax when you're through. Some VERY minor filing of the brass parts may be in order as well . . . I found that to be true of a 12" Marples square I just purchased, the brass plates on the head of the square were SHARP, and not all that comfortable in the hand. All is well now. ;)
This one must have gone under real quick as this is the first time I've seen it.
I've picked up a few of these combination marking/morticeing gauges from ebay for $10 to $15. Can't recall the particular Stanley model of the best one, and since you're already ordered one, won't bother checking. These often require some work to get them into good order, i.e. replacement of the pins which have been sharpened into oblivion and/or disassembly and cleaning.
Lee Valley has some nice ones. For marking cross grain for DT and such, I got this one from LV.
The wheel makes wonderful sharp lines, though too much pressure makes a very deep cut which requires a lot of planing to eliminate, so I've learned to use lighter pressure if parts of the mark are not going to be sawed or chiseled out.
Yes, most recently there was an article in October 2004 Wood Magazine. I've already got so many different projects going on, I didn't really want to add another to the mix at this point, though I did consider making one myself.
The wheel type gauges from Veritas and Tite-Bond look like they'd make great marking gauges, but they're not true mortise gauges. The real genius of a mortise gauge is the second knife/pin. That allows you to size the walls of the mortise not to an arbitrary dimension, but to the actual mortise chisel you have on hand. No loose/too tight mortises because your chisel isn't exactly 3/8" or because you made a mistake in measuring. The gauge takes the measurement directly from the tool that is going to make the mortise. You just can't get that kind of accuracy with a single cutting marking gauge.