WT221 – Measuring and Marking Tools

On today’s WoodTalk “Weekend Edition”, we’re talking about measuring and marking tools: which ones we love and how we use them. We also talk about the premium tool market and what is really necessary and what is just bling. (Bling is good sometimes)


Eric asked us which measuring and marking tools we own and specifically which brands we like.

Our Marking and Measuring Tools

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16 replies on “WT221 – Measuring and Marking Tools”

Are the show notes for past episodes available anywhere? I’ve been listening to some of them and can’t always take notes while listening, but don’t see anywhere that links to items mentioned in the podcast are available.

I’m also having problems with iTunes duplicating the podcast on my devices. A few weeks ago it started showing two wood talk podcasts and downloaded all the files separately, even though they’re the same. Today a third showed up, triplicating the podcast. Have changes been made to the main podcast on iTunes causing this?


Hey Jon. All of the show notes are available right here on the site. Nearly all of them have full descriptions and links though some of the early stuff may not be as well filled-out as the later stuff. Just use the search to find the episode you want.

As for the feed, I’d recommend unsubscribing and then resubscribing. Something sounds wonky with your subscription. There’s really nothing going on right now that should cause duplicate or triplicate downloads of a show in iTunes. I subscribe to the show on several computers using iTunes and haven’t seen the issue myself.

Thanks for the response Marc. I just checked the site from my ipad, and there is indeed a search box showing up that I managed to miss before, so I was able to find the episode info.

I’ve done the unsubscribe/resubscribe before, but I’ll give it another shot. It’s very odd, as it creates a new itunes folder for the additional subscription and then wants to redownload all the episodes I already have in the original folder.
Is there usually a long lag between when you upload the espisode and itunes shows it? I was looking for today’s poscast all morning, and it didn’t show up in itunes until after noon.

Hey Guys!

Great topic. Especially in regards to the tool quality / tool brand issue we are all vexed by in one way or the other.

As a former Tool & Die Maker I was fortunate to already have at my disposal a good assortment of high quality marking and measuring tools when I picked up the woodworking / furniture making bug. Of those tools, the ones used strictly for measuring distance (micrometers, indicators, gauge blocks, etc. . . . .) have stayed in my old Kennedy tool chests and only come out on special occasions. Whereas my combo squares, rules, straight edges and marking utensils are out and used on daily.

These machinist grade tools have been extremely valuable to my woodworking, especially when dealing with straight, flat and square, which is the foundation to all good builds. And personally I would find it frustrating, but not impossible, to work with lower quality tools.

Thanks for all you do! – Marty

Great show as always, helps to pass the time on the commute. Two questions, how do you know a combination square is square? Second is more general. How come Matt always closes the show with the ‘info’. Do you not like Shannon, do you not trust him to get it right?

Anyhoo, keep up the good work.

once again, a new interesting podcast.
I would like to know your point of view about digital calipers. Do they have, for you, their place in a woodworking shop ?
The one I use has a plunging probe allowing to measure holes or dadoes depth, very easily.
Of course they can be used to tune some tools in the shop but my question is more related to wood measure (of course not looking for a run to the thousandth of millimeter – yeap, sorry, I’m from the other side of the ocean).
Thanx 4 all 2 all of U.

Hey Shannon,

You might want to try some blue (removable) loctite on the screw holding the blade to your Tite-Mark. Just a wee drop on the threads of the screw before inserting. Could help to keep it in place when using your marking gauge in a sinister fashion.

About half way though this episode, I had a moment of deja-vu, and I’d swear you’ve said nearly the same things about Starrett combination squares in the past. But I couldn’t be bothered to look it up.

In any case I would say that the combo square is one place that you should avoid the big boxes and former catalog stores. Even if you find one that is initially square, or square enough, in my experience the moving parts wear so quickly and fit so loosely that they won’t stay that way very long.

On the other hand, Starretts hold up forever. I’ve bought two off ebay (after I had a basic one, I had to get one with all the extra heads and accessories, didn’t I?), and with a little care to find ones that were well cared for, they have been more than square enough for wood working.

I have the Lee Valley Sliding Bevel gauge (10 inch). I find it holds the setting quite well and the locking lever is flush (or just below grade. Prior to that, I had a Rockler-sold device which was less expensive, but did not hold the setting well at all. An attribute which is frustrating when you notice it moving, and even worse, when it moves, but you didn’t notice. In the (late) Woodworking magazine article the Lee Valley got top marks of the new models. As usual that piece did a great job of discussing qualities to look for whether buying used or new.

Hi guys – love your podcast. Had just listened to this one and was looking forward to checking out the show notes for the links to several of your recommendations. However, am only seeing the four pics that were posted, rather than any of the details or links? Am viewing on an iPad – will try via computer browser tomorrow. Was anything detailed in show notes?

I had the same problem with my Tite-Mark and after listening to the show I sent an email to Glen-Drake asking about a lefty version. He replied with a suggestion I have tried and seems to be working is to use a small star washer under the cutter head. The washer cost all of $.13. Now it works great for me.

I think it was in this episode that Shannon said there was no one making mortice cutting gauges. You just have to look down under to find the good stuff.

Although I don’t have any of Colen’s stuff (yet) I know of several people who do and say they are worth every dollar.
On a side note – I do have some HNT Gordon planes, and they are lovely to use.

cheers guys,
enjoying the show down here.

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