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May 31, 2016

Sliding Bevel Gauge – Woodworking Layout Tool

Sliding Bevel Gauge

 

What is it?

Sliding bevel gauge: – The bevel gauge is an essential tool used by carpenters and woodworkers. It is used in layout work for checking and transferring angles. This vital tool belongs in every woodworkers tool box along with other layout tools such as the combination square, framing square, and marking gauge. When a woodworker is dealing with a compound angle, it is often a good idea to have two sliding bevel gauges. This way each bevel square can securely maintain each needed angle.

Sliding bevel gauge - Woodworking layout tool for marking and measuring angles

Sliding bevel gauge – note the locking devices.

The sliding bevel gauge is composed of three parts; the stock, the blade, and the locking device. The stock is typically made from metal or a hardwood such as rosewood. The blade is often made from a hardened and tempered steel. Finally, the locking device secures the blade angle to the stock. The locking devices of the sliding bevel gauge can vary. Some locking devices (wing nut tighteners or thumb screws) are located at the end of the stock while some locking devices (small metal levers) are positioned at the pivot point of the tool. The blades of sliding bevel gauges typically range from 4″ – 12″.

Sliding bevel gauge - Woodworking layout tool for marking and measuring angles

Setting the angle of the Table Saw Blade

Pros and Cons of the Locking Devices

A sliding bevel gauge that has the thumb and finger lever at the pivot point has a unique disadvantage to a bevel gauge with either a wing nut tightener or thumb screw at the end of the stock. What is the disadvantage of having the locking device on the side? Sometimes the locking device on the side can stick out and interfere with the operation.  The sliding bevel gauge with a thumb screw at the bottom of the stock does not have this issue. This why I recommend that you select a sliding bevel gauge with a thumb screw at the bottom of the stock. You’ll be better off in the long run.

Sliding bevel gauge - Woodworking layout tool for marking and measuring

Note: this layout tool is sometimes referred to as; sliding T bevel, bevel gauge, or a carpenter’s bevel.

Common uses for the sliding bevel square are numerous. The following are just a few examples:

1.) Laying out the angles on rafters to be cut when building a roof.

2.) Determining the inside angle of an existing corner where two walls intersect.

3.) Setting up angles to be cut on machines such the table saw, band saw, or miter saw.

4.) The sliding bevel gauge is commonly used to lay out dovetails.

5.) The sliding bevel gauge can be used when bisecting an angle.

6.) Transferring angles.

Sliding bevel gauge - Woodworking layout tool for marking and measuring

Bisecting an angle

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