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.

Contour gauge tool
Contour gauges are so easy to use, you’ll be asking yourself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”Saker

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.

Saker Contour Gauge

Trim and Molding

Rather that measure and cut something several times, a contour gauge essentially allows you to “trace” a shape and transpose it to whatever material you’re working with.Saker

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.

2 Pieces Contour Gauge 5" and 10" Widen Contour Duplications Gauge Profile Copy Tool Shape

Tile Work

Because tile is expensive and tough to cut, use a contour gauge to minimize the number of your mistakes.Motem

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.

Contour Gauge Duplicator with Lock, GOXAWEE Widen Shape Duplication Gauge Tool


A contour gauge is a lifesaver if you’re working with various angles.GOXAWEE

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.