Every once in a while a tool comes around that I just can’t pass up. Especially when I am in the market for that particular tool.
When I can across this panel gauge a few days ago I just could not pass it up. It had everything that I was looking for, a nice solid head with a large reference service (6 1/2 inches), a long beam (this one is 22 inches long), and the type of locking system I was looking for.
The head of this panel gauge is 6 ½ inches long made of solid brass and is in great condition. It has no maker marks on it at all; make me wonder if it was custom made. The locking mechanism clamps solidly on the corner of the beam pressing it into the other corner. This is important because it locks supper tight with little pressure and it doesn’t destroy the beam. Many gauges screw straight down into the beam and scare it up really bad. Plus, with a solid brass head I don’t have to worry about it warping or wearing out any time soon. And if you are wondering about weight, I can tell you that it is just enough brass to make it solid but it is very light and elegant in your hand.
The beam itself is really neat. It has a small piece of brass in the end what helps the tip of the beam to lay level with the head when placed on a piece of stock. It also has three holes in the head for the pins to be placed left to right at a 45, right to left at a 45, and totally vertical to the work piece. So, in some respects it is perfect for a lefty or a righty
This is one of the tools I own that I will be using for the rest of my life. I hope to make a couple new beams for the gauge. Both with cutter heads on them and pencil holes on the other end and maybe even one for doing straight inlay work.
Though I love new tools as much as the next guy, there is just something really nice about finding an old gem like this and putting it back to work. Plus it cost less than any of the panel gauges on the market today.