Saturday, October 1, 2016

Cutting Gauge

The conference in Covington Kentucky known as Woodworking in America proudly hosted by Popular Woodworking was amazing event for so many reasons. But one thing that caught my eye at the event was this amazing English style cutting gauge.  This form of cutting gauge has been on my list for about 14 years, and for some odd ball reason Pat Leach gave a price I couldn't refuse.

There is something about the form of these cutting gauges that just attracts me to them. Its amazing the weight and balance they have and how well they hold the desired setting. But with every old cutting gauge comes the blade that was used. Honestly I never keep any of the old blades. They are often too small and not harden enough to hold an edge.  

Which leads me to the main purpose of this blog post. When needing to make a blade I use old worn or dull jig saw blades.  The way I look at it is, these pieces of metal need be good for something. That is the old Yankee in me I guess.  

My process in making a blade it to grind all the teeth off on a slow speed grinder.  Keep some water near by to cool the metal. Than I eye ball center and form a triangular tip.  After the tip is formed I put a bevel on the right and left side of the tip.  The triangular tip allow for the cutting gauge to be used in a pushing and pulling method.  The knife edge gauges are the only ones I use and find them the only ones worth buying if you are doing hybrid woodworking. 

Layout is by far the most important feature in woodworking. Pencils are not accurate enough. A knife line guides can guide a cut or can be used as a reference when paring with chisels.  Like everything else you must sharpen the tip and I count my strokes on each bevel to ensure even sharpness.  

This may sound like a lot of work but it actually took less than 5 mins to do.      

Jig Saw Blade on the left.
The blade on the right is the result of the teeth grounded and a triangle tip was grounded free hand.  

In this photo the right blade was flipped to show the double bevel. 

The cutting gauge in the english style. 

Free hand grinding the bevel. Angle to the left for the left bevel. Angle to the right for the right bevel.
Its amazing how quickly these bevels form.  

Look at that knife line that has been scribed.

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