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Tite-Mark Long Deluxe (9”Rod)
The Tite-Mark Long Deluxe could be the finest wheel type marking gauge made today. This Kit has a 9" rod (2”longer than the standard 7”rod) but is otherwise the same as the Tite-Mark Deluxe. It comes with one marking blade, one reverse-bevel marking blade, one scoring blade, two single-bevel adjustable mortise blades, a set of fixed-width mortise blades (in four sizes), and a set of 3”and 6”extensions. If you are squaring up stock and laying out mortise and tenons on heavier pieces, then the Tite-Mark Long Deluxe is your best choice, especially if you are laying out double and triple mortise and tenons. So in a perfect world you would buy 8 of the Tite-Mark long standard versions to keep everything ready to go. This gauge is the only gauge on the market with its unique micro-adjustable fence system. The Tite-Mark is easy to macro or micro adjust, it lays out all the common mortise sizes, and has a fully customizable pair of mortise wheels so you can set up custom widths for big work. The A2 tool steel blade makes a crisp razor cut that is very fine and very accurate One of the things I truly love is the 3”, 6”(and combined 9”) extensions that let you use the Tite-Mark like a panel jig. The kit comes with an informative DVD on how to use the tool, and an introduction to the Glen Drake tool line which offers several tools we will be reviewing in the near future. All of the tools seem to be of the same high caliber. Glen Drake studied under James Krenov and it is easy to see those influences in his thought processes, explaining some of the reasons the tools are just so right. The Tite-Mark looks like so many other gauges, yet it just has a feel of being right in your hand I have never had the gauge slip out of adjustment or fail to make a clean mark. Whether I am using a mortise wheel set or a single line blade, the tool consistently works like it is supposed to. No other gauges I have used have delivered that level of confidence in their performance.
I felt the best way to test this gauge was immersion so I put away my other marking gauges, set this one in its box on my bench and used it exclusively for the past 6 months. I have not used any of my other gauges and while I have to admit to a habit of setting up more than one gauge to set them up for each measurement and leave them set for the duration of the project, during this test I was constantly re-setting the Tite-Mark and thus I got to know it quite well. I plan on buying one of these gauges at the end of each project, until I have one set up with each type and size of wheel or mortise.
Inspiration can be found in so many things. I was surprised to find myself inspired by the simple genius of this marking gauge but I did. I believe the inspiration was due to the accuracy of my layouts, I have literally marked my layouts a hundred ways over the years of my woodworking career and not a single alternate method was as good as the Tite-Mark. The deluxe kit sells for $239 and includes all the wheels. Of course it could be augmented by purchasing an additional basic long model for only $99. I will be buying additional gauges to have each jig setup covering each wheel because I hate wasting time on setup for my varying needs. I look forward to having multiple setups, however the micro-adjust feature means you can easily get by with one as I have for the past 6 months. I give this gauge a 5 out of 5 star performance rating
Lance The Dude Granum