Spindle and tenon gauge

I was getting tired of reaching for my calipers and setting them to my chuck diameter every time I needed to turn a tenon.  The alternative was trying to “guesstimate” the diameter needed and very often I would turn the tenon to small.  So I made a spindle and tenon gauge.

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I have a set of forstner bits and they go from 1/4″ to 2 1/8″ diameter, in 1/8″ increments.  I figured that while I was busy making the gauge, I might as well go ahead and include all these diameters.

I used a piece of 1/4″ hardboard.  It was thicker than my parting tool, so I ran it through my drum sander a couple of times until it was just slightly thinner than my parting tool.  This is probably not necessary for most applications, but I thought it may be useful occasionally when I wanted to make a parting cut in the middle of a piece and not have to widen it in order to insert the gauge.

Then I drew two lines down each side of the hardboard, just over one inch from each edge.  I set my drill fence so the center of the forstner bit was positioned over one of the lines.  Then, using a scrap piece of wood as a backer board,  I started drilling holes, from big to small, down one side and up the other side.

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When all the holes were drilled, I set my table saw fence to the line I had previously drawn, and with two passes, cut all the circles in half.

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The gauge now hangs within easy reach of my lathe and is perfect for sizing tenons and checking spindle diameters.  A quick, easy and cheap solution that makes my work flow at the lathe easier 🙂

If you have a hint or tip feel free to share in the comments section.

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