The next large project I am working on is a yellow-poplar side table (currently dimensioning the rough sawn lumber I picked-up at a local saw mill). But before I could complete that project, I wanted to build a panel gauge. This gauge is used to mark out wide boards to a desired width prior to ripping or planing. Several are available by current tool makers (Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, Hamilton Woodworks), but they are at least $85. In reviewing the historic books available at the Toolemera “museum”, I found a book by Charles Hayward titled How To Make Woodwork Tools (1945). In this reference, he provides the plans included below for a wooden panel gauge with a wedge style locking mechanism (many have a wooden or metal screw locking the fence to the beam).
For my version, I used a scrap piece of cherry for the fence and wedge. The beam was made from a scrap piece of red oak which I ripped from the board to approximate a quarter-sawn straight grain pattern to hopefully increase the stability of the piece. My first step was to mark and chop the mortise in the fence for the beam and the wedge. Note that the upper part of the mortise is tapered to match the slope of the wedge. I then marked and cut the rabbet on the fence bottom using a cutting gauge and chisel. The fence was finished by cutting the miters at the top and chamfering the edges. I drilled a 9/32 hole for the pencil and the pencil was secured to the beam using a brass screw insert (8-32) with machine screw inserted perpendicular to the pencil hole. Total material costs were about $5. The tool works pretty well, but takes a little adjustment to get it all square as you tap the wedge to secure the beam. Checked for squareness with a framing square and it is ready to mark some lines for one of my favourite tasks, ripping with a handsaw.