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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Trying to use my fancy English marking gauge, but just making an ugly torn-up line - not like in the pictures and videos.

Marking Guage.jpg

What am I doing wrong?
 

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Is that a point rather than a knife?

I think you need to angle the point back from the direction of travel. You should be scribbing a line which is not very deep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is a point, not a knife. You mean just grab my (new) point with a pair of pliers and bend it back?

I can see where that could work, also where a blade might be better than a point (also where one of those little wheeled things might work well). This doesn't seem to work very well out of the box, though - at least on cross-grain marking.

Thanks
 

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Old School
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It is a point, not a knife. You mean just grab my (new) point with a pair of pliers and bend it back?

I can see where that could work, also where a blade might be better than a point (also where one of those little wheeled things might work well). This doesn't seem to work very well out of the box, though - at least on cross-grain marking.

Thanks

Nooooo, do not bend the point back. What I do is slightly cant the block so the point drags at a slight angle. All you need to do is scribe a light line...nothing more that a faint scratch.






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In History is the Future
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Nooooo, do not bend the point back. What I do is slightly cant the block so the point drags at a slight angle. All you need to do is scribe a light line...nothing more that a faint scratch.
Exactly - and if you need it deeper make a few passes. The point should trails behind.

There is some tune-up than can be done on a marking gauge as well. The pin can be re-shaped to add a bit of camber on the inside face of the pin. This helps it cut cleaner and keep the pin from wandering towards the fence.
 

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Wood Snob
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I sharpen my point in the shape of a knife. It's pointed and sharp but it's not like the point of a pen. It's flat on two sides.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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where's my table saw?
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agreed

The point should not be a point, rather a knife edge. There are 2 ways to sharpen it to a knife edge, remove all the material from only one side like the Japanese marking knives OR sharpen both side like a typical knife.



A "pointed" point will leave a ragged line unless the material is homogeneous, like plastic. If there is grain, like wood, it will tear. Here's a rather complete article on the use and sharpening of the gauge:
http://www.craftsmanspace.com/knowledge/marking-gauge.html
 

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Old School
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The point should not be a point, rather a knife edge. There are 2 ways to sharpen it to a knife edge, remove all the material from only one side like the Japanese marking knives OR sharpen both side like a typical knife.
I don't agree with a blanket statement like that. Sounds like just a personal opinion, not fact. Whether a point or a knife edge, it's a choice. If that were true, it might have been stated that way in the link provided below, but it wasn't.

A "pointed" point will leave a ragged line unless the material is homogeneous, like plastic. If there is grain, like wood, it will tear. Here's a rather complete article on the use and sharpening of the gauge:
http://www.craftsmanspace.com/knowledge/marking-gauge.html
Stating that a point will leave a ragged edge may be from improper use. All that's necessary is a faint line.

From the posted link...

The spur of a marking gauge may be sharpened to a conical point or to a knife edge.
marking_gauge_spur.jpg
The spur should be sharp to do good work. If sharpening is necessary, loosen the set screw, remove the spur, and file or grid. If sharpened to a knife edge, the edge of the spur should be set parallel with the head of the gauge. Tighten the setscrew to hold the adjusted pin securely.

The key words...if necessary means if the point is damaged by getting bent or peened.






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where's my table saw?
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Suggestion to the OP:
Take a sharp nail, hold it at an angle and drag it across the the grain of the wood. It will tear the fibers.
Take a sharp knife and drag it across the grain, it will cut the fibers. Which way would you sharpen the point for the cleanest mark?



The spur of a marking gauge may be sharpened to a conical point or to a knife edge.
 

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Trying to use my fancy English marking gauge, but just making an ugly torn-up line - not like in the pictures and videos.

View attachment 82621

What am I doing wrong?

You're pressing too hard and keeping the pin too vertical. I use a cheap Harbor Freight marking gauge, and at first I thought it was the tool. After experimenting with it, I found that I was partly right (filing it down to more of an oval than a circle in cross section helped), but mostly what fixed the problem was learning to use the tool.

Very light strokes: try to dent the wood rather than cutting it. A very minimal mark can be enough to catch your pencil, and the addition of a pencil line will make a very minimal mark visible.

As a side note, for going cross-grain, I prefer a cutting gauge: I have the Veritas wheel gauge, but I don't always use it. Just keep the pressure and angle of the pin low, and it will work fine. Woodnthings posted a good diagram to show the angle.
 
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