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Doc Green’s Woodturning Site

Bevel Angle Gauge

You can buy various gauges to measure the bevel angles on your turning tools, but if you’re a has-been flat woodworker, you may already have what it takes to do it, and do it with great precision.


Here’s what you do.  Set the angle gauge to match the angle of the bevel, then use a protractor to measure the angle set on the gauge.  And that’s it.  

If you don’t have a sliding bevel (the technical name for what I call an angle gauge), you can purchase one made of rosewood and brass, or you can make one out of pine and forego the brass. The following drawing illustrates what you need and how it goes together.  None of the dimensions are critical.

The handle consists of two side pieces glued to a center strip.  If the center strip and swing arm are cut from the same piece (to ensure they have the same thickness), the fit of the swing arm in the slot will be almost perfect.  

After the handle is glued up and the swing arm cut to length, select a machine screw to form the pivot for the swing arm.  Find a drill bit that will produce a snug fit for the screw.  Place the swing arm in the handle as shown in the drawing above and drill the hole.  Install the screw, tighten as needed, and it will be done.  

The short end of the swing arm is used on tools such as a spindle roughing gouge where the flute may not provide a good seat for the handle.  In this case, the handle is placed against the body of the tool as shown in the photo at right.  The angle is read the same as before.

After making my gauge, I measured the bevel angle on my spindle roughing gouge, which I sharpened free hand.  It is 47º.  I was aiming for 45º.  Good enough!