Woodworking Precision Measuring and Marking Tools

If you are just getting started with woodworking these are some basic measuring and marking tools that you should own.

Measuring Tape

Having a measuring tape handy helps you take measures on the fly. Measuring tapes are available in «Imperial» format or «Standard»/metric version. Typical lengths are 16, 25 and 30 feet.


Always keep at least one good ruler in your workshop. You will use a ruler for a wide range of tasks, like plan drawing, measuring of material, table saw wing alignment and surface regularity check, among other things. It’s always better to invest in a steel ruler.

Combination Square

If you are just getting started with woodworking, buying a combination square is an excellent investment.

A combination square will help you measure 90° and 45° angles, determine flatness, measure the center of a circular bar and mark the work surface.

A classic combination square consists of: 1) a square head and 2) a steel ruler. By sliding the square head along the steel ruler, it is possible to depth gauge or transfer dimensions.

Framing Square

A framing square (also called steel square or carpenter’s square) is also another useful tool to own. It is made of steel and consists of 2 arms: a long arm and a short arm meeting at 90°.

Having a framing square will allow you to measure any construction design that you need. Typically, framing squares can be found with a 24 inch blade and a 16 inch tongue. There are also smaller ones but they come without the framing tables.

Marking Gauge

The marking gauge is used to mark out lines before cutting. It allows you to draw a line parallel to a reference edge. Generally, the marking gauge consists of a beam, headstock, pen, pin, wheel and knife.

Scratch Awl

The scratch awl is basically a steel spike with a sharp tip. It etches a shallow groove on the wood that you can follow when using a hand saw or a chisel.

Sliding Bevel

Using a sliding bevel, wood cutting will be much, much easier and smoother. The sliding bevel is basically a gauge that allows you to set and transfer angles. It consists of a handle, usually made of wood or plastic, connected to an adjustable metal blade.


The Drawknife cutting tool is classically used by chair makers. It usually consists of an 8-12 inch long straight blade and perpendicular handles at each end.

The Froe (also called lathe axe and splitting knife) is a tool used for riveting or splitting. The froe has an 8-12 inch long straight blade and a perpendicular handle at its end.

The Scorp is a drawknife with an almost completely circular blade. Very handy to hollow out bowls and similar objects.

The Utility Knife is a knife with has a retractable blade that is sheathed inside a metal handle. Available in all sorts of sizes, the utility knife is used in woodworking to cut all types of materials.

Dial Gauge

The dial gauge is a caliper with a dial readout in the hundredths or thousandths of an inch. You can use it to measure the depth of a hole. It’s an ideal tool to use for precision measurements from cylindrical tenons and mortises.

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