Cutting Gauge

A poor man's cutting gauge or suji-kebiki [筋罫引き]. It uses the stock and bolt from a regular western pin marking gauge. A rounded-square carbide bit is used as the blade.

< Back to Main Page


In my woodworking I have been using a traditional pin-style marking gauge;

A western pin marking gauge
The original pin-style marking gauge in use

I wanted to change to a japanese-style marking gauge with a wedge and a blade rather than a pin. This is following on from the previous tool and jigs I have made to suit a Japanese work style;

A japanese marking gauge
An example of a Japanese bladed marking gauge

The cost of Japanese marking gauge was about $40AUD at the cheapest. This was a significant purchase as the only real difference was the type of cutting implement. It became apparent that simply sticking the blade into the same rod as the original pin-style gauge would yield similar results.

After considering wheel marking gauges; I realised carbide blades from my wood-turning tools could create a cutting gauge with the parts from the original.

A wheel style marking gauge
An example of a wheel marking gauge with a carbide blade


The carbide blades were too small for the original block of the pin marking gauge, so a dowel was created on the lathe to suit the blade. A diameter of 11mm worked best. A hole was drilled for the blade screw and it was simply attached to the end of the dowel. The opening was too large for the dowel, so a wedge was added for support in the block. The main dowel was chosen to be 200mm long.

Concept render of the cutting gauge
Concept render of cutting gauge modification with original stock
Diagram of cutting gauge parts
Diagram for cutting gauge parts and dimensions
The cutting gauge disassembled
Only four simple parts were required for a different style of gauge
The completed cutting gauge
The completed and assembled cutting gauge

There are problems with alignment due to use of a dowel instead of a block, but they are minimal. The gauge is functional and creates a clean mark. The small dowel makes more of the original stock available, providing better support when cutting. There is no doubt an actual wheel marking gauge or suji-kebiki would work better, however, considering this was free, it works more than well enough.