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.


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.


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.


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.