After six hard months of pure casework, I am back on making chairs every day in the shop. As such, I have a couple tools I’ve been meaning to write about but have put off because of the all-consuming nature of casework.
First is the Blue Spruce 4” Sliding Bevel Gauge. I bought one of the early prototypes that Dave Jeske had made and was impressed. It’s a great alternative for the woodworker who cannot afford a Chris Vesper 4” bevel or who needs one immediately (Vesper is currently out of stock on this tool). The Blue Spruce locks like crazy and is the perfect small size for chairmaking. Bevels with long blades can’t get as close to your drill bit as those with short blades.
You can, of course, make a bevel out of wood or cut down the blade of an old Stanley bevel. I’ve done both myself.
One of the nice things about the Blue Spruce version is that you get to pick out all the materials, colors and finishes for the tool. The bevel shown above is the one Dave made for me. If I were making one for myself it would be much more plain Jane – silver body, satin blade, stainless hardware.
The bevels start at $125 and are excellent. Highly recommended.
Also on the bench is the Bevel Monkey from FirstLightWorks in the U.K. This simple laser-engraved piece of laminate makes setting your sliding bevel a breeze. The cost is 28 pounds, which includes shipping to North America.
Both of these tools have earned a place in the till in my tool chest that is devoted to chairmaking tools.
— Christopher Schwarz