Three Reasons Every Craftsman Should Own a Contour Gauge

If you can’t seem to get a precise cut that works, a contour gauge can save you hours of frustration.

Certain tools are essential for any home handyman. Crosscut saws, hammers, cordless drills, squares, and screwdrivers all come to mind. But there are many less-common implements that can take your craftsmanship to the next level without taking your wallet for a ride. One of those is the simple contour gauge. This inexpensive device uses an array of sliding pins to capture odd shapes that can then be transferred to another surface for cutting. It’s not a tool that will play a role in every project, but when called for, there is no substitute. Here are a few places where a contour gauge comes in handy.

Trim and Molding

This essentially allows you to “trace” a shape and transpose it to whatever material you’re working with. Saker

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Crown molding, base boards, window trim, and door casings often require cutting compound miters on irregular surfaces. As complicated as that is, it’s even harder to get a seamless fit on the butt end of one piece joined to the complex surface of another. A contour gauge allows you to trace those fancy millwork shapes onto any workpiece and then use a jigsaw or coping saw to achieve a precise fit every time.

Includes Three Sizes

Prevent expensive cutting errors by using one of these. Motem

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Ceramic tile for baths and kitchens is another medium that inevitably involves trimming around unconventional corners and shapes. Tile is also expensive, so it is critical to make your first cut the only cut. A contour gauge removes the guesswork in setting tile and also has applications in any kind of masonry, from stone to brick.

Instant Template for Irregular Shapes

This one’s a life saver if you’re working with multiple angles. GOXAWEE

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Sometimes, achieving the right fit is a two-step process that involves setting the shape on a contour gauge and then transferring it to cardboard or some other templating material. That way you can then use the rigid template for repetitive cuts without the risk of knocking the gauge out of alignment every time you need to trace the profile.