Fair Woodworking

September 6, 2012

Veritas® Stainless-Steel Marking Gauge – Limited Edition

Filed under: Favorite tools,Marking and Measuring,Marking Gauge — fairwoodworking @ 11:15 pm

So what I don’t get is how this has seemingly flown under the radar…

I’ll admit I’ve kept my silence until I managed to get one into my greedy little hands, but I am just one voice. This is a no brainer people!

5 years ago for their 30th anniversary, Veritas released a limited edition SS Edge Trimming plane. It is truly beautiful, but is in my opinion not the most useful tool. I am the proud owner of one, it’s sharpened and ready to use, but I find that there are other tools that for me do a much better job.

I’m not picking on it, but it’s interesting that the edge trimming plane stirred us all up into a frenzy, with heated debates and a mad rush for everyone to get theirs before they sold out.
Five years later, they release a simple yet mind blowingly indispensable tool, and the woodworking world hardly musters up the courage to shrug…

Could be the economy, I don’t know.

So lets look at the facts.

SS marking gauge is selling for $29.95 Ya that’s right just thirty bucks!!!

That’s just ten dollars more than the Pocket Marking Gauge. Yawn…

Ok, how about this.

The original Veritas Wheel Marking Gauge sells for $31.50

Ok, math time…. Mumble, mumble…. carry the two…. Mumble, mumble….. ….. !!!!

Shouldn’t the limited edition tool made with significantly more expensive materials, and tooling be more expensive than the regular tool?

What I’m saying is, this is a good buy no mater how you look at it.

Alright, so first impressions?

It feels solid. How solid? Well let’s try comparing it to what is arguably the king of marking gauges, the Tite-Mark by Glen-Drake Toolworks.

The veritas feels slightly heavier in my hand than the tite-mark. Does that matter? I don’t know if it does. The face of the body is larger on the veritas, and I would argue that it will give the hope of better registration in use. Score a very small victory for Veritas.

1 – 0 Veritas
You will also notice that the rod on the veritas is offset slightly. This affords an even greater amount of surface area for registration. I’d say that is a good thing, but I find I often like to roll the tite-mark not drag it round corners. I feel much more in control when I do this. With the veritas, the offset of the rod make it very unbalanced when you roll it. This to me is a significant issue, as I roll it over a corner it seems to want to jump forward like the wheels of a compound bow as it unloads when you release the string. In those cases the veritas may not be ideal. Over all the tite-mark maintains more consistent stability. Score one for tite-mark.

1 – 1 Even

Both in their own way address the issue of rolling away when left on a surface that is not perfectly level, with all tools it can be heart breaking when they roll off your bench and smash against the concrete floor. Both tools get a point.

2 – 2 Even

Now let’s get a little nitpicky. The fastener for the cutting wheel. The veritas uses an Allen Key, the tite-mark a Phillips screw. I think the Allen key is much less likely to strip, but in the rare occasion that I’d need to loosen it, I will have long forgotten where I put the supplied Allen Key. Meanwhile, like a good Canadian, although I much prefer my square Robertson screws, I can always find a Phillips screwdriver to loosen the tite-mark screw. Score one very insignificant point for tite-mark.

2 – 3 Tite-mark

The other significant feature in a marking gauge is adjustment. The veritas uses a single screw that is right where it needs to be to tighten the body in place using one hand. Inside the body they have placed an O-ring that gives just the right amount of friction to keep the rod from sliding around, yet is easy to move when you want it to. The tite-mark uses two screws and an ingenious threaded middle section that allows for micro adjustment. I was surprised when I compared the two for ease of adjustment. I’d assumed that the tite-mark would be a clear winner, and almost didn’t bother with a comparison.

I’m glad I did.

With only one screw to work, and a new shape to the head handle, the veritas is very quick and easy to get in place. The O-rings perfectly dialed in friction makes the head very stable while screwing it tight. I do have to wonder about the longevity of the O-ring. Only time will tell how it will work in 5, 10, or 100 years.  The tite-mark is slightly more cumbersome to make large initial adjustments with the second screw being further down the head. The threaded action is clean and precise, and being all metal, I have no doubt that if kept clean and dry, it will work exactly the same in another 100, or even 200 years.  I don’t plan on living quite that long, so I wouldn’t stress about that one too much. I’m calling this one too close to call, as it is a very subjective thing. They are both great, so they both get a point.

3 – 4 tite-mark

Finally price.

Veritas SS Marking Gauge $29.95

Tite-Mark Marking Gauge $89.00

The fact that you can buy 3 of the Veritas for the price of one Tite-Mark makes the Veritas the clear winner of this round. One point for Veritas.

4 – 4 Even

I should mention that I started writing this thinking the Tite-Mark would win. I didn’t do the math before I started, I just added it up as I went along. A tie was not what I expected, or to be honest, wanted.

I also should say that as far as I know, nether tool maker has any idea I even exist, and I have no hope to benefit from either. Just writing for the fun of it…

Editors note.

I’ve had my SS Marking Gauge for almost a year now. I still really like it, but I should say that I have come to feel that it has one major fault.  I originally mentioned a minor concern with the rod being off center, making the tool feel unbalanced. What makes a wheel style marking gauge so great is its ability to roll.

Off centering the rod makes rolling very difficult, and effectively makes this tool more similar to an old school cutting gauge with a round cutter. Sometimes a perceived innovation degrades the usefulness of a tool, and unfortunately this is what Veritas has done here.

It’s still a great tool, but it would have been better if they had kept the rod in the center.

Where it belongs on a wheel marking gauge.

 

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