How To Make a Ruler Marking Gauge

A simple ruler marking gauge every workshop should have. A jig so much needed for any precision woodwork. When setting up a workshop, this is definitely a tool you will need. 

A ruler marking gauge, a ruler stopper, or a ruler marking guide, is an essential woodworking tool every workshop should have. It was one of my first workshop projects, and since then I have used it for almost every project I’ve done. A jig that is so much needed for any precision woodwork. When setting up a workshop, this is definitely a tool you will need. 

It is really easy to make a marking gauge, you can make it by using ordinary tools around the shop – no power tools are needed. But the best part, it really doesn’t cost much to build, and it is a great addon to the workshop that you will be used for countless other projects.

It is a perfect beginner woodworking project.

RELATED: You might be also interested in these other easy workshop projects for woodworking beginners.

How to make a ruler marking guide video

Check out the full build video below to see how to make a ruler marking guide!

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Table of Contents

*Safety is your responsibility. Make sure you know what you’re doing and take all necessary safety precautions while woodworking and working with power tools. Safety comes first!

Always be cautious and careful when using any power tool.

Ruler Marking Gauge Plans

Check out the printable ruler marking gauge plans below!

Wood marking gauge plans. Ruler marking gauge plans. DIY wood marking gauge plans.

What you'll need to build the Woodworking Marking Gauge

Ruler Marking Gauge:
A Ruler – any size
Butterfly / Wing Bolt – M4
Threaded Insert – for M4 bolt
Plastic /Acrylic Sheet – 1cm stripe
2x – Spruce Wood 3,8 x 8 cm

Dado Jig:
2x -Spruce Wood 3,8 x 20 cm (guiding rails)
MDF desk – 25,5 x 25,5 x 0,8 cm
Wood Screws

Other:
Wood Glue, Epoxy, Sandpaper
Double-Sided (Carpet) Tape

This is a project for woodworking beginners requiring very basic tools – no power tools needed.
The project is straightforward, the cuts are simple and you can build the ruler marking gauge in a day.

This would make a great weekend project.

Let's Start!

The ruler marking gauge is made of 2 pieces of spruce wood. Although, you can use any type of scrap wood you have around the workshop. The moment the wood wears out you can simply create a new one. 

The locking mechanism of the ruler is made from a thin plastic piece that is pressed on the ruler and tightened by a wing nut. This way the ruler will not be damaged.

How to make a Ruler Marking Gauge

Step 1. Cut 2 identical wood strips

I started out by cutting 2 pieces of spruce wood (3,8 x 8 cm). Make sure the dimensions of both pieces are exactly the same. This is important when using the sanding jig for making a dado afterward.

To cut the pieces I used a jigsaw in combination with a jigsaw guide but a hand saw or a circular saw would work as well.

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

You should end up with 2 pieces of wood of the exact same height, length, and width.

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

Step 2. Build a dado jig

I was thinking about how to cut a perfect dado in the marking gauge without using any power tools.

I tried the idea of sanding a dado in a wood piece by using just sandpaper and double-sided tape, and I was surprised by the result – nice sharp edges and equal depth along the dado.

This jig is designed for exact-width wooden pieces (it would be great to replace it with a jig that would allow you to easily adjust the width).

First cut an MDF desk (25,5 x 25,5 x 0,8 cm) for the base. The surface of an MDF is smooth, which makes it perfect for sliding.

Attach a wood slat to the MDF using glue and wood screws. The wood piece will serve as a guiding rail for the marking gauge when manually sanding the dado.

NOTE: Check out this DIY router jig for exact-width dados and grooves.

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

Measure the distance between the guiding rails by using the 2 previously cut wood pieces and attach the second wood slat (guide rail) to the MDF desk.

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

Now you have a simple sanding jig for dados and grooves.

Step 3. Cut a dado in the marking gauge (no power tools)

1) Sand a dado in the bottom piece

Mark the center between the guiding rails and highlight the outer edges of the ruler. This is variable depending on the width of the ruler you are using. 

While sanding, this will ensure that the dado will be made right in the center of the wood piece. 

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

Attach a double-sided tape on the ruler from one side, stick a sandpaper on it, and carefully cut off the sandpaper excess. I used 240 grit sandpaper. The higher the grit the sharper the dado will be.

NOTE: You can use double-sided carpet tape. It has good adhesion and is easily removable afterwards.

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

Attach the double-sided tape on the other side of the ruler and tape it on the sanding jig as marked previously.

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

Sand a dado in one of the wood pieces to finish the bottom piece of the marking gauge – keep sanding until you hit the right depth and the ruler is flush with the wood piece.

WARNING do not sand until you reach the MDF desk. In that case, the depth of the dado would be slightly greater than the height of the ruler. You need to take into account the height of the double-sided tape and the sandpaper. 

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop
Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

2) Sand a dado in the upper piece

Cut a plastic stripe (1cm width), tape sandpaper on it, and tape it on the MDF desk again using double-sided tape. Follow the same steps as before.

Sand a dado in the upper piece (second piece) and make sure the plastic stripe and the wood piece are flush. 

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop
Ruler Marking Gauge - AllFlavor Workshop

Step 4. Insert a threaded insert

To set the ruler in the dado I am fixing it with a butterfly wingnut using a threaded insert.

Take the upper piece, turn it around, mark the center with an awl and drill a hole all the way through to fit in a threaded insert for an M4 butterfly bolt.

Make sure the insert does not stick out on the bottom and is perfectly flush with the dado.

TIP: Read this article to see how to drill a straight hole in wood without a drill press.

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop
Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

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Step 5. Assemble all parts together

Add a bit of epoxy on one of the halves of the dado to fix the plastic stripe in place.

The other half needs to stay free so that it can be skewed/pushed away when the butterfly bolt presses on the plastic – thus fixing the ruler in position.

The butterfly bolt would fix the ruler in position on its own but I am adding an extra layer in between to prevent the ruler from getting scratched.

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

Glue both pieces together.

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

Use spring clamps to keep the pieces in place while the glue dries. 

Ruler Marking Gauge | AllFlavor Workshop

You can optionally sand off the surfaces and edges and finish the marking gauge with wood oil. It will nicely enhance the natural appearance of the wood piece.

And there you have it – a nice DIY marking gauge 🙂

Ruler Marking Gauge | Ruler Marking Guide | AllFlavor Workshop
DIY Ruler marking guide

This was a great project. If you are planning to build a garage workshop from scratch this would definitely be one of the first woodworking jigs you should make. A marking gauge for woodworking is a must for every workshop.

I hope the information shared in this blog post inspired and now you are ready to build a nice addon to your workshop. 😉

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Are you building a workshop? Lets take a look at one of the most necessary tools you will need. A ruler marking gauge. A great DIY Tool for the workshop. Simple project for woodworking beginners.

How To Make a Marking Gauge for Woodworking

Related projects:

Ruler Marking Guide FAQ

What is the purpose of a ruler marking guide?

A ruler marking guide, also known as a ruler gauge, is a woodworking tool used to mark a parallel line to a material reference edge using a ruler. Its use can be found mainly in woodworking and metalworking.

Do I need a marking gauge?

Definitely yes. A marking gauge is one of the basic tools in the workshop and one of the most important tools in woodworking for correct distance measurement and line marking.

How do you build a ruler marking guide at home?

Making a ruler marking guide at home is fairly easy. All materials are readily available in local hardware stores. No power tools are needed to build it, and the entire marking gauge can be completed with hand tools only.

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