Mortise gauge

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Mortise gauge
Hardwood mortise gauge with brass fittings
Other namesMortice gauge[1]
ClassificationWoodworking marking tool

A mortise gauge or mortice gauge is a woodworking tool used by a carpenter or joiner to scribe mortise and tenon joints on wood prior to cutting. Mortise gauges are commonly made of hardwood with brass fittings.[2][3]

Like the simpler marking gauge, a mortise gauge has a locking thumb screw slide for adjusting the distance of the scribe from the edge of the wood. It has two protruding pins, often called "spurs",[3] which are designed to scribe parallel lines marking both sides of a mortise at the same time.[4] One of the pins is adjustable, attached to a sliding fence,[5] so that mortises of different widths can be marked.[2]

Some mortise gauges are designed with one retractable spur, so that they can be used as marking gauges as well;[6] however, because the mortise gauge is an expensive and high precision tool, many carpenters prefer to have a separate marking gauge for general use.[5]

For complex joints, some mortise gauges have a double-beam design which allows the gauge to be wrapped around a tool such as a chisel for extra accuracy.[7]


  1. ^ "MORTICE | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary". Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  2. ^ a b Woodwork: A Step-by-Step Photographic Guide to Successful Woodworking. DK Publishing. 19 April 2010. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-0-7566-7002-3.
  3. ^ a b The Mortise Gauge. Technology Student
  4. ^ What is MORTISE GAUGE? definition of MORTISE GAUGE (Science Dictionary). The Science Dictionary
  5. ^ a b New Track Media (April 1998). "American Woodworker". The American Woodworker. Magazine. New Track Media: 47–. ISSN 1074-9152.
  6. ^ A Short Guide to Mortise and Marking Gauges. Tools for Working Wood
  7. ^ Jim Tolpin (2 July 2007). Measure Twice, Cut Once: Simple Steps to Measure, Scale, Draw and Make the Perfect Cut-Every Time. Popular Woodworking Books. pp. 86–. ISBN 978-1-55870-809-9.