Buying a Combination Gauge

Buying a combination gauge is more cost effective as it essentially combines the marking and mortise gauge into one gauge. Paul recommends the type that have pins rather than discs as the discs tend to be brittle and fracture in places around the circumference. Discs are often difficult to re-sharpen and if broken can be impossible. Some gauges come with wear plates in the stock part of the gauge. Depending on the atmosphere/humidity, these wear plates can protrude above the wooden surface of the wood and this can affect the accuracy of your marking.

Amtech is a less expensive choice than Marples and works just as well. You can also buy secondhand as they can be cheaper, for example Clay or Mawhood are both good Gauges which Paul has bought secondhand. No matter if you are buying new or used, make sure to check that the pins are in good condition and are of equal length before you buy.

Spear & Jackson 8″ Mortice Gauge

🇬🇧 We purchased Spear & Jackson 8 Inch Mortice Gauge for £13.95* in January 2022

🇺🇸 If you are ordering from the US, we recommend this one. Please note Paul has not purchased this, however it seems to fit his recommended criteria.

  • Price checked October 2022

The Silverline Expert Combination Gauge was out of stock online so

Paul started by sharpening the marking pins. He put a piece of masking tape on the gauge to protect it. He then, with a couple of strokes of the file, sharpened the pin. This resulted in a finer marking line.

Relevant Guides

7 thoughts on “Buying a Combination Gauge”

  1. I bought the recommended Silverline and found it is way out of square – about 2.5 mm at 16 cm, i.e. an angle of 9 degrees. (There weren’t any comments about it on, but found on that this isn’t an isolated occurrence). Is being square a must for a gauge, and if no, what offset is acceptable?

  2. Hi Paul, I have used this type in the past but the type with an adjusting knurled nut on the end of the gauge I found easier to use as the pin doesn’t move as you adjust the distance from the edge of the timber.
    What do you think?

    1. Hi Trevor,

      Paul says:
      I think it’s true. I also think it’s a lot more expensive and prohibitive for users. So I remove the moveable pin and slightly bend the bar, put it back and the friction fit is improved markedly. Nothing slips.

      Kind Regards,

  3. I am looking for a decent and reasonably priced combination gauge in the U.S.
    Bora Tools no longer makes the one recommended in the buying guide.
    Do you have another recommendation for folks located across the pond?

    Bill Porter
    Bozeman, Montana

Leave a Comment