The Combination Marking & Mortise Gauge combines two functions: one side is for laying out mortises by means of two pins, of which one is adjustable with a screw or a brass slider. The other side has a single pin for marking tenon shoulders and the like.
We offer a selection of Marples combination gauges in beech and plantation rosewood with a variety of features and prices. The top of the line rosewood model, known as the Trial 1, is the only English gauge made today that features a full 1/8" thick brass face and a decorative brass shield inset around the hole for the brass locking screw. As gauges go, this tool is pretty heavy, and I like its solid feel. The other two Marples rosewood gauges are plated, which means that they have brass strips inset into the fence to prevent wear. These are more typical of the combination gauges that you see available. One is screw adjusted as it is in the Trial 1 gauge and the other uses a slider. The main advantage of the screw adjustment for the second pin is that the screw is self-locking, so you don’t have to worry about it moving when you set the fence. That being said, the slider works well and both designs have been pretty popular for over 170 or so years. All the rosewood gauges have a protective brass pressure pad inside the fence to protect the beam from getting marked when the fence is locked.
We carry two beech gauges, both with plastic locking screws. They both have sliding adjustment, but the fancier one is plated. We mainly carry the plain beech gauge for schools, and for people who either have just an occasional need of a gauge, or (like me) like to own a lot of gauges so they can keep many setting at once. The plated beech gauge is a nice second gauge to have because you won’t confuse it with the rosewood one. It’s instantly obvious that is isn’t the same gauge as your rosewood, so there is less chance of picking up and marking with the wrong gauge.
Another thing we like about these gauges is that the fit and finish on all of them is very nicely done, the beams are all properly crowned (the top and bottoms are gently curved), and they fit well in the hand.Made in Sheffield, England by Joseph Marples.