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Smart woodworkers know that the less you use your tape measure or rule, the fewer mistakes you make. That’s one good reason to use a bar gauge instead. A bar gauge is simply an adjustable length stick, and Veritas makes some hardware that makes it easy to make your own.

In the Great White North, formally known as Canada, Veritas makes the bar gauge heads from brass and ABS plastic.  To use them you just need two 1/4″ by 3/4″ strips, which are easily made by ripping 3/4″ thick board. Slip the bar gauge heads over the two sticks and tighten them down when the ends are at the desired length. Now you can easily transfer or compare measurements.

If you buy from Lee Valley, you also get two brass pins that you can use for transferring inside and outside measurements. You’ll pay $15 for these bar gauge heads before shipping.

Bar Gauge Heads [Veritas]
Bar Gauge Heads [Lee Valley]
Bar Gauge Heads [Highland Woodworking]

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7 Responses to Make Your Own Bar Gauge

  1. Ben says:

    i think you mean ripping 3/4in. strips from 1/4in. board

  2. Mark Mel says:

    Either way will get you the same size strips.

  3. Jerry says:

    I’ve had good luck with a couple of sticks and a pair of strong spring clamps. These look like a good choice for something that would work better. Too bad they used plastic parts and not all brass. That shiny brass is even better than a laser!

  4. Mister Mike says:

    I have several of these sticks and find them very useful. But the promo photos only show them used on small boxes when their real practical use is with BIG boxes like fitted built-in cabinets. I have several sticks that will measure over 17′ and use them all the time for odd spaces or when I’m up a ladder trying to fit trim molding.

    The plastic does break, but always because the wood strips swell, so I use mahogany and walnut now.

  5. Joe O says:

    Would ¼” aluminum work better?

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