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How to Make a Marking Gauge with Broken Drill Bits

  • By: Monica Shulz

What do you do with broken drill bits? Do you just throw them away? If yeas, you are missing an opportunity to turn them into useful woodworking tools. In this guide, I will show you how to use broken drill bits and scrap wood to make a marketing gauge. You need broken drill bits, scrap wood, glue, and a couple of woodworking tools.

Take A Small Plank of Wood

As usual, you want to make sure you have everything near you. This is because most DIY projects include having to prepare some of the materials. In this case, you want a small piece of wood. You can repurpose any piece as long as it is a couple of inches long.

Remove Uneven Sides and Smoothen It Out

A marking gauge will be 2 to 4 inches long. An ideal length is 2.5 inches or the length of an adult index finger and about a square inch. If the wood is uneven, you can use a table saw to remove the uneven side to be left with a rectangular piece. If the edges are not smooth, you can smoothen them out using any sanding tool of choice.

Trace The Center of the Piece of Wood

Use a measuring tape to measure the length and width of the plank of wood. Divide the length by two, and use a pencil to mark the midpoint. Measure the width and divide it by two. Mark the midpoint. Do so on both sides of the wood. Connect the marks using a straight line. The point of intersection is the midpoint. You can also use a fixed tracing DIY tool.

Drill A Small Hole at The Center

You want to drill a hole at the center of the plank to use when working the wood. Use a power drill to make the hole. You want to use the same size of drill for the drilling and the anchor.

Use The Hole to Anchor the Piece of Wood

The marking gauge will be placed at the edges of the wood. So, you want to use the anchor to hold the wood while you drill holes at the edges. Insert a drill bit deep enough until it reaches the workbench wood. Use it as an anchor. You can use your bare hands to insert the drill bit into the hole. However, if your hands cannot, you can use a pair of pliers.

Drill Two Holes, On Either Side of the Center

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Again, here you want to drill a hole similar to the one that your drill bits would drill so that the final piece will fit snuggly into it.

Remove The Bit and Smooth Out the Wood

You want to smooth out the rough edges and any other thing that will make the final product look unfinished.

Prepare A Wood Glue

You can use any wood glue available to you or you can still squeeze old glue pastes available to you. Sometimes they may not come in the color you want, but you can mix different colors to make something close to what your wood is. You also want to use the same color. If you have two different colors, the best approach is still to mix them.

Insert Broken Drill Bits

First, you need to seal the anchor hole using one of the broken drill bits, preferably one that is missing a shank. Add glue to threaded sides and insert it in the hole. You can use bare hands or with the help of pliers or any metal surface, press it against it to force it in. Make sure it fits snuggly. Check both sides to ensure that the sharp end of the drill bit is the one that comes out from the other side. You will sand it out when smoothening the marketing gauge.

Insert Drill Bits at The Other Holes

You can use blunt, missing a lip or point, or old drill bits for this. They should be long enough and preferably equal in shape. Glue the bit along with the flute before inserting. Insert one for each hole using the same approach as the anchor hole. Notice that the shank will be left protruding.

Smoothen The Wood

You don’t want the sharp ends of the bits to injure any. So, you have to smoothen them out together with the wood to ensure that you have a smooth finished product that you can use for your daily woodworking tasks. Sand it out to ensure that the lip and points are not sticking out. Don’t overdo it though. Once you smoothen it out, feel with your hand gently to ensure that it is safe.

Final Marking Gauge

You now have a marking gauge. Using the marking gauge is easy. All you have to do is measure the distance between one point of the wood and another.

If you want to cut it into two, you will put one of the bits at the center and the other firmly against the wood. Drag the gauge along, and it will mark the wood. Use a pencil to highlight it before you start to cut.

You can reach out to the video author through youtube and Facebook. You can also get more insightful DIY woodworking tips from his website, which also shares a lot of Free plans.

Photo by Mazay DIY / CC BY 3.0