Monday, December 15, 2008
REVIEW: Hamilton Marking Gauge
This tool was another purchase while at the WWIA Conference from Di Legno Woodworking Supply. When I first saw this gauge I was struck by the simple but effective design. I even kind of like the Batman motif that this design boasts.
The fit and finish of the gauge wasn't spectacular, but none of the flaws affected the tools performance. The blade which has a fingernail grind on it was off center, but sharp never the less. The groove that accepts the knurled nut and screw had places in it where you could see the they had bobbled the wood while cutting it out on a router table or similar device. Again, it didn't affect performance, merely a aesthetics issue.
This tool is designed for a specific grip. When you first pick it up it seems a little awkward. After you figure out how to hold it you find you have a lot of control. The gauge has that low center of gravity that you get with a Titemark style gauge but a larger reference service. I have had problems in the past where my Titemark style gauge would twist and leave my marking line a 32nd short. With the Hamilton gauge I have had no such issues. It has a much larger bearing surface to resist the the twisting. The typical English type gauges seem very bulky, have a high center of gravity, and can block your view of the cut. For smaller jobs, such as laying out of dovetails I find this tool really excells.
Overall I have been very pleased with this tool. It tool is easy to adjust, has a very a lot of control, and makes perfect lines every time. With today's finicky woodworker, I would advise the tool maker to slow down and make sure every gauge is as close to perfect as you can get it. I have no problem recommending this tool, it would make a valuable addition to any hand tool shop. Its currently my gauge of choice.