The right tool for cross-grain layout
Synopsis: Unlike the ordinary marking gauge, whose steel scribing pin is designed to mark along the grain, the cutting gauge is equipped with a cutting spur, which should sever cross-grain fibers cleanly. This article explains where to find cutting gauges, which are not widely available today, how to make one for yourself, and how to use one by pushing it into the work. The author describes how to orient the cutter depending on whether you’re right- or left-handed, and how to use it as more than just a marking tool.
Nothing quite beats the cutting gauge for scoring across the grain. For striking dovetail baselines and shoulder lines for tenons, dadoes and rabbets, it’s an especially accurate and handy tool. It can also be used to eliminate splintering when crosscutting by scoring the wood prior to sawing, though this requires an initial crosscut to within an inch or so…