Received a new toy over the weekend. Ebony marking gauge made by Mujingfang
At first glance, quite impressed by its quality and built. It gave a dense and solid feel and it was pleasant to the eye holding it. However, I quickly changed this impression when I tried to put it to use out of box without any tuning. The blade was dull and the sides to the board were not square and true. Compare to a cheap marking gauge I got from a Japanese retailer, the blade from the Japanese gauge was sharp and the sides were square.
Anyway, first thing first was to sharpen the blade. For some reasons I decided to harden it before I checked for blade flatness. Only when I tried to flatten it, not only was it dull, it was twisted. If I were any smarter, I should have checked for flatness, brought it to acceptable flatness and closer to an edge prior to any hardening. This would have saved me from some finger soreness for pinching on the blade for extended time rubbing on the stone. Again, if I were any smarter, I should have created a little jig to hold the blade so I didn’t need to go through any muscle-training to hold the blade.
Then I moved on to squaring the sides of the gauge, they were improper “machined” and left a stepped ridge along the side. If I slide the gauge along the board edge and if I slightly rocked the gauge a little up or down and it caught on the ridge, it will force the registered reference to protrude away about 1/16”. If I am consistent on this rocking motion, while the gauge was still registered to the edge of the board, I could create a nice zig zag pattern. Ideal condition if I am practicing for ZigZag-off instead of one-eighth off.
2 hours later, it is reasonably square and reasonably sharp then. That was a good two hours for me to ponder over: Why being square is such a luxury in most tools nowadays? Is it cheap cost that contribute to the issue or is it non tool users who are now making the tools that cause the issue? Like engineering theorists who attempt to design a circuit module by imagination… as oppose to engineers who conclude on a theory from using a circuit modules…