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.
🇬🇧 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.
Setting Up and Sharpening a Combination Gauge
To see a video on centring the gauge, click here. When setting a mortise gauge, one of the twin pins is moveable. Place the chisel against the fixed pin, then set the moveable pin to the width of the chisel. Position the chisel just inside the tips of the pins (refer to picture for positioning)….
Using a Combination Gauge
To see a video on using the gauge, click here. This can seem like an awkwardly shaped tool, holding the wood with one hand and the stem with the other can aid control. Press lightly but firmly when marking, the pressure should be applied against the registration face, not downwards onto the pins. You don’t…
Tilgear has a British made Marples Beech Combination Gauge on sale for 8.75. Would this be a good one? Any advantage of more expensive one with a end screw adjustment?
Paul may not have used this but he says its a good price.
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 amazon.fr, but found on amazon.uk that this isn’t an isolated occurrence). Is being square a must for a gauge, and if no, what offset is acceptable?
Paul recommends you send it back and reorder until you get one that is square. It is ideal if it is set to the long stem axis.
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?
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.
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?