A long time ago I bought the multi mark and measuring tool from Kreg, and I am very satisfied with it.
I can highly recommend having one like this in your workshop.
But as with everything, there will always be a downside.
That is what I also experienced with the multi mark tool from Kreg.
The problem with the Kreg measuring tool is that the ruler is barely 15 cm long, and in some cases, that is simply too short.
That’s why I made my own customized multi mark and measuring tool. This new DIY measuring tool fits my ruler of 30 cm, which I could double the length of Kreg’s ruler.
The homemade measuring tool can be used in 3 ways: To repeatedly mark the same distances, to draw parallel lines, or to mark circles.
Now I have a handy tool that can be combined perfectly with the multi-mark tool I already have from Kreg.
In this article, you can discover all the information you need to build DIY measuring tools like this yourself.
If you can make your own multi mark and measuring tool for your workshop, then you have a tool that best suits the projects you are working on.
I’ll show you how to make this DIY ruler marking gauge!
- What do you need to make a DIY measuring tool?
- Watch the video & see how to make a DIY measuring tool
- How to make a DIY measuring tool step by step
- How to use the DIY measuring tool
What do you need to make a DIY measuring tool?
To prepare you for building this measuring tool, I have made a few handy lists.
In addition to a few personal protective equipments that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this measuring tool.
* Safety is always your own responsibility!
Safety first! Protect yourself!
Materials I used for this
(power)Tools I used for this
Watch the video & see how to make a DIY measuring tool
Before you go on reading and learn how to make this amazing DIY ruler marking gauge, watch this video first!
In this video, you will see how I have built this tool, and you will also see a demonstration.
After watching the video, you can go on reading this blog and discover all details you need to make your own DIY measuring tools.
How to make a DIY measuring tool step by step
Step 1 | Preparation
To make this DIY measuring tool, I used a piece of red oak scrap wood.
In fact, you can use any kind of wood for this.
Nevertheless, it is recommended to choose hardwood.
This is because hardwood is more resistant to damage due to the hardness of the wood.
The finished tool will be 10 by 7 cm.
So, if you want to make the exact same DIY ruler marking gauge as mine, take a piece of wood that is larger than these dimensions.
Don’t worry about the piece is too big, you can still trim later.
The thickness of the wood I used was 1 cm.
Later, 2 layers will be glued together.
So if you start with wood that is thicker than 1 cm, you must know that your DIY measuring tool will be a lot thicker when finished.
It will also be a lot heavier.
To make my DIY ruler marking gauge, I started by marking where the slots should be for the ruler.
Because I want to use the DIY measuring tool in two directions, I made two slots that intersect at right angles.
I made the long slot about 15 mm from the side of the wood.
That way I will have enough space later to cut this tool to the right size.
Mark the ruler width as accurately as possible when transferring the ruler to the wood.
The more accurate the slot, the better and more firmly the ruler will stay in place in this tool.
Step 2 | Making the slots
Now it was time to make these slots.
To do this, I have used my palm router with a 10 mm straight cut router bit.
To determine the depth of the slot, I placed the router on top of the ruler and lowered the router bit until it touched the surface of the wood.
With the necessary caution, I then removed all the wood between the markings.
At no point did I hit the lines to avoid making the slot too wide.
After making the slots with the palm router and the straight cutting bit, I was able to touch up the edges manually with a chisel.
I carefully worked my way up to the mark.
Regularly, I placed the ruler to check that I did not remove the edges too far.
Step 3 | Assembling the multi mark and measuring tool
The lower part of the tool was now ready.
Now it was time to start working on the upper part.
Where the two slots intersect, I made a short slot in the bottom of the upper part.
To make this slot, I have used the same technique as making the slots for the ruler.
When you make this slot, you don’t have to make the slot to the edges of the tool, but only in the middle.
After I had cut the slot, I drilled a hole in the middle of this piece.
Right at the point where the slots in the bottom part cross each other.
After that, I placed a thin metal plate in the short slot of the upper piece.
For that thin metal plate, I took the metal from an empty tin can. Sometimes the perfect material you need is closer than you think!
To secure that piece of metal in place, I used epoxy glue and a nail to fix it in the slot.
This metal piece will later protect the ruler from damage when the knob to secure the ruler in place will be tightened.
From the outside, I drilled a hole and placed an M6 threaded insert in it.
In this threaded insert, the knob to hold the ruler in place can be screwed in later.
Now all pieces were ready, it was time to glue the upper part to the lower part with wood glue.
When gluing these pieces together, make sure the metal plate is over where the two slots intersect.
To make sure the two pieces fit together perfectly, clamp them tightly.
Use as many clamps as necessary to clear any gaps between these pieces.
After I clamped these pieces together tightly, the glue could dry while I was making the homemade buttons.
I’ll tell you how to make these knobs below.
Don’t just use any wood glue for your projects!
To find out which different types exist and for which applications wood glue serve, check out my blog Understanding Wood Glue + 8 awesome tricks you should know.
Here you will discover everything you need to know about wood glue.
Step 4 | Making the knobs
To make the homemade knobs, I drilled 2 disks from the red oak with a 25 mm hole drill.
Then I made a shallow hole in the middle of these disks in which the M6 x15 bolt could be mounted with epoxy glue.
After the epoxy glue had dried, I was able to clamp these knobs in my drill press.
By spinning them quickly and holding sandpaper against the knobs, I was able to give it the shape I wanted.
To do this, I have used different sandpaper grits.
I started with P80, followed by P120 and P180.
If you want to know more about how to choose the right sandpaper, check out this article I wrote earlier: The perfect sandpaper grit guide for woodworking.
Step 5 | Finishing
A final step in making this tool was the provision to clamp a pencil so that circles can be drawn with this tool.
On the side of this DIY measuring tool, I drilled a hole of 8 mm depth with a 12 mm Forstner bit.
After that, I drilled another hole in the center of the 12 mm hole. For this, I have used a 9 mm drill.
Later you will find out why I did this.
After drilling the hole for the pencil to go through on top of the DIY tool, I made a cut through that last hole.
I made that cut about 5 mm from the edge of the tool and about 2 cm beyond where the pencil will be.
Then it was time to place a 6 mm threaded insert here too.
Because I drilled the first part of the hole with a larger drill, this insert can now be pushed through to the back of the cut.
Below, you can see a detailed picture of how I did this.
All I had to do now was place the knobs and the tool was ready to use.
To distribute the force of the knob when tightening, I applied a washer over the bolt.
This will not only distribute the force, but also protect the wood from damage.
Below you can see how you can use this tool in 3 different ways, so keep reading.
How to use the DIY measuring tool
The first way you can use this DIY measuring tool is to make parallel lines.
Place the ruler at the correct distance that you want to mark.
A good ruler will immediately start with distance markings, this side should be farthest from the DIY tool.
As a result, you can simply pull out the ruler and set the size by aligning the distance marker you need with the tool.
The second way you can use this DIY measuring tool is to create repeating square lines.
By sliding the tool against the edge of your workpiece, you can make as many straight lines as you want.
This tool saves you a lot of time by not having to check the squareness every time.
The third way is something that is not possible with the original Kreg measuring tool, and that is making circles.
Each ruler has a hole on the end.
This serves to hang the ruler, but here this hole has a different purpose. By placing the ruler with the hole over a nail or screw, this DIY measuring tool can be used as a compass.
That is why I have provided a hole in this tool where my pencil can be clamped.
By extending the ruler to the radius I need to create my circle, I can draw as many circles as I want. Thanks to the locking mechanism in this measuring tool, I always make sure the circles are identical.
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I hope this information on how to make a DIY measuring tool was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.
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Christophe, founder of Christofix.com
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration