Japanese Marking Gauge – The Block

The block for the Japanese marking gauge was, well, just a left over oak block from making some finish samples many years ago.

Since the irons were 1/2″ wide and needed to penetrate the block with an opening that allowed for them to be clamped in place I simply punched a 1/2″ square hole through it with my mortising machine.

Once that was done and I was sure the irons fit through nicely I marked an arc across the top of the block, to cut later.  The line of the arc just happened to coincide nicely with the perimeter of my trash can lid.

In order to make the tool the most useful as either a single cutter or a double cutter I surmised the need to have the first (inner) iron to be able to become invisible to the marking process.  I accomplished this by cutting a recessed housing in the block for the first iron to reside.

Now the inner iron nestles away inside the block (upper picture), and even with the outer iron in place (lower picture) the tool profile is minimized.

Next time I’ll describe my iron clamping system, there are many to choose from but since I am incurably lazy I went the simplest way.  It was the source of some embarrassment but worked out in the end.

Stay tuned.