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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

Woodworking Ideas & Patterns from Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo

“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.”
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)…Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet, cleric.

Woodworking ideas and patterns from Santa Maria del Fiore.

Woodworking ideas & woodworking patterns gleaned from Santa Maria del Fiore Duomo can be appreciated by students of the woodworking craft. These unique and refined woodworking ideas & woodworking patterns can be learned from the Italian master craftsmen who worked in marble in the 1870’s.

The beauty and elegance of the scene captures the imagination of this woodworker as so many woodworking skills are called upon to create such a masterpiece. The overall architectural design is simply a gem. The proportions are classical. I think you will agree with me when I say that it is one thing to draw such a beautiful design on paper. Then again, it is still entirely another thing for a skilled craftsman to create this scene by hand. Yet, here it is, a masterpiece for all to enjoy.


What woodworking ideas can you find in these photos? How would a woodworker create the spiraled columns out of wood? How would a woodworker make the curved moulding behind the statue?

What woodworking patterns can a woodworker find in this photo? We can see two types and sizes of spiraled columns. Notice how each column has a left and right pattern. Also, how could woodworking patterns play a role in the mosaic inlay on the curved wall? (The band saw crosscut sled and the bandsaw miter sled would each get a great workouts if wood inlay was applied to the wall.)

How would a craftsman build the curved wall behind the statue? What role would woodworking patterns play in designing and constructing the domed ceiling?

Notice how the pediment is arched and symmetrical. The cherub in the center is framed with a circular moulding while carvings adorn both sides of the pediment facade. When we study the dentil moulding, notice how the fronts of each dentil is curved. There is also a notched moulding beneath the pediment that that is arched. These notches create shadows that attract ones attention.

Woodworking ideas and woodworking patterns from Santa Maria del Fiore.

What woodworking tools would a master woodworker use to create this scene? Obviously, power tools like the table saw, band saw, and wood lathes would be employed. Hand tools such as carving tools would be needed as well as sculpting gouges when carving the capitals. However, think about this. What layout tools would be employed? It is easy to see how dividers and trammel points would be necessary for an accurate layout. Can you also see how it would be important to have woodworking patterns for woodturning the columns. A woodworker would also benefit from implementing woodworking patterns when cutting the curved work beneath the triangular pediment. Here is where a band saw would be useful.

Woodworking ideas can be captured from this photograph as these architectural elements exude a wealth of unique and specialized knowledge of our craft. It is simply a joy to witness the refined skills from the master craftsmen that have long since passed. It is their ideas, patterns, and love of the craft that continues to live on and inspire other craftsman. It is up to those of us that care to follow in their footsteps and to carry the torch for the future generations to come.


Recommended articles:

Decorative Inlay Patterns for Custom Hardwood Inlays

Santa Maria del Fiore…Duomo Cathedral of Florence, Italy


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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