There are certain tools or
devices that every woodworker should own as standard in a workshop. Items
such as a quality square, a collection of good handsaws, planes and
chisels, and so on. These items represent a useful "go to" option when
other tools have failed to complete a particular task. I guess you could
call them 'essential items', and every woodworker will have their own
arsenal of essential items appropriate to their common tasks and style of
Today we are going to look at a
inexpensive device (US$22.50) that will bring accuracy back to the powered
woodworking revolution, and that device is the Veritas Poly-Gauge, an
essential item, no power-loving woodworker should be without!
The Veritas Poly-Gauge can be found hanging on the shelves of many
good woodworking stores worldwide. It is a simple product - there are no
moving parts. In fact, the Poly-Gauge comprises only 2 components;
The black gauge component made from
zinc aluminum alloy
The brass colored slotted knob made
from, you guessed it... brass!
The slotted brass knob simply screws
onto the gauge for storage purposes.
What is it for?
Being a basic product, the review will not be as extensive as others
on this website. In fact, this product really only performs one task, and
that is the ability to allow you to set and check a number of common
angles used in woodworking, and for a number of woodworking tasks.
Using the poly gauge, you can set or
check angles at:
"But hang on!" I hear you say, "Didn't
you mention 'common' woodworking angles?"
"What about 30 degrees and 90 degrees?"
Well, yes these common woodworking
angles are not available on the Poly-Gauge. Why? Basically, because the
Poly-Gauge was originally designed as a device to set a jointer fence to
common polygonal angles for 4, 5, 6, 8 and 12-sided objects. It is,
however, equally useful on a wide range of other woodworking equipment to
quickly set or check an angle. For example, the table saw is where I find
the Poly Gauge gets a large amount of use in my workshop. Quickly setting
the miter gauge up for accurate 45 and 60 degree crosscuts has never been
easier. In fact, using the Poly Gauge, which is advertised as being
accurate to 1/12 of a degree on all featured angles, blatantly revealed
the inaccuracy that exists on my stock table saw's miter gauge angle
indicator! If you have a need to make multi-sided boxes or other items
that need to be cut on the table saw, the Poly Gauge fast becomes an
invaluable item, even if it is just to save you calculating the angles
needed for the cuts.
Unscrewing the slotted brass knob and
using it to hold the poly gauge in an upright position allows you to use
it as an accurate guide to tilting your table saw blade for angled rip or
cross-cuts. You can also use it to set all the other blade tilt angles as
mentioned above too if needed. Very useful indeed, particularly if you
find your saw's blade tilt indicator measurement strips not to be overly accurate.
At the Jointer, the poly gauge is in
its element and setting the jointer fence to clean up cuts for multi-sided
structures is a breeze. Find your angle on the poly gauge, set it down on
the jointer table, then adjust your fence until it touches and aligns with
the poly gauge. It's almost child's play. In some cases though, I wished
the poly gauge was magnetic, just to hold itself in place a little more
rigidly when rubbing heavy fences against it, but of course, that would
also introduce a number of other troublesome issues into the mix, so it's
not such an easy solution.
Just imagine trying to set a jointer fence to 54 or 67.5 degrees! Most
jointers may have positive stops at 45 or 90 degrees, but probably not
even a gauge that goes through 5 degree increments, let alone 0.5s! So in
this regard, the poly gauge makes light work of what would otherwise be a
Where else can it be used? Well the
possibilities go on and on. On the bandsaw table for example, or the
radial arm saw. I find I often use it to set my bandsaw table to 45
degrees to knock off edges for woodturning blanks and on the drill press,
again for 45 degree table setting and checking. Obviously, you could use a
combination square in these cases, and it might be easier to do so on the
drill press, but on the bandsaw, you often have limited space between the
table and the upper blade blocks/roller supports and getting a combo
square in there can create a problem, particularly if the rule on the
square is not easy to remove. The poly-gauge allows you to achieve this
task a little easier in most cases.
If needed, the Poly-Gauge can also be
used for layout and construction of joined polygons made from staves, for
woodturnings. Basic instructions for achieving this are displayed on the
back of the packaging.
We feel the Poly-Gauge is a very useful tool to have around the
workshop, particularly for setting and checking of machine fences and
tables. It sure beats fiddling around with adjustable angle setters or
combination rules and is much faster to boot!
You can order this item online at
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Veritas Poly-Gauge with removable, slotted brass knob.
An easy 60 degree miter gauge set-up on the tablesaw.
In the upright position to set a table saw blade. Both hands free to tilt
Just as useful in setting the jointer fence for common angles.
An accurate, 45 degree bandsaw table within seconds!
Basic use instructions are included on the back of the packaging.