Woodpeckers’ dovetail marking gauges are designed for quick and easy dovetail layout across the edges of a board without needing any additional tools.
Note: This review was first published in January 2011, and republished in April 2019. Also, the photos here are of prototype samples.
Please note that these are One-Time Tools with a pre-order cutoff of 5/6/2019. Orders are expected to ship out 8/31/2019, and there is no telling or or when Woodpeckers will offer these gauges for sale ever again.
The original One Time Tool order deadline was 1/17/2011, with a shipping ETA of 2/14/11.
Seeing these dovetail marking gauges in person confirmed what I thought after first spotting them on the Woodpeckers website – the markers are well designed and well made, and should last a lifetime and then some.
I particular like the beveled edges, but this might be more for looks than function. The machining is perfect, and the tools are anodized red with crisp and clear angle and ratio labels.
Design, Usability & Performance
The dovetail angles and right angles checked to be 100% spot-on and edges were completely straight. The markers proved to be extremely easy to use, and although the 1/2″ center leg is a bit short when used on 3/4″ stock, the marker has a 1-inch extension that functions as a saddle square.
While my hand-cut dovetails could use some (a lot of) practice*, I am absolutely impressed with the performance of these dovetail marking gauges. Woodpeckers offers these markers in 1:6, 1:7, and 1:8 ratios, corresponding to the rule of thumb recommendations for use on softwoods, general purpose use, and hardwoods.
If you ask 10 different woodworkers about which dovetail angle/ratio to use, make sure to bring some popcorn. 1:6 is traditionally used for softwood, 1:8 for hardwood, and 1:7 is a great compromise between the two. Personally, I prefer to use 1:7 and 1:8 ratios, but others find 1:6 to be more aesthetically pleasing.
*8 years later, and my hand-cut dovetails can still use practice.
Bottom line, I highly recommend these dovetail marking gauges! If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.
Price: $70 for the set of 3 gauges, $140 for a kit that comes with a new marking gauge.
The original 2011 One Time Tool offer had the gauges priced at $21.99 each.
Thoughts About the 2019 One Time Tool
Back in 2011, the Woodpeckers dovetail markers were sold individually. Now, they’re sold as a set of 3. I guess that makes sense, because different dovetail projects might call for different ratios. There’s also a new short marking gauge, which we’ll follow up on shortly.
Thank you to Woodpeckers for providing a set of prototypes as review samples!