How do you use a marking gauge for a mortise?

I decided to take advantage of some scrap I had to learn how to do some basic joints. I decided to start with the mortise-and-tenon. I've got a mortising gauge, I separated the pins to the width of my chisel and tried to scribe the line on my stock but it just skipped all over and left two jagged, uneven lines in my stock. I figured maybe you're supposed to sand it down first to eliminate that, so I sanded the piece and it went a LITTLE better but not much. What am I doing wrong? It seemed simple to me. Place the gauge against the stock and pull/push the pins the length of my mortise. But the pins follow the grain and push the gauge away leaving uneven marks. Am I just not applying enough pressure to the gauge?
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On 27 Aug 2003, Ben Siders spake unto rec.woodworking:

    Coupla things - the pins on the gauge should be sharpened to a chisel point, and positioned such that the beveled edge faces the gauge's fence. This will pull the fence toward the wood when you drag the gauge. Also, the arm of the gauge should rest on the board as you drag it. If you just have the pins resting on your edge, they will want to dig in and follow the grain. Having the arm that holds the pins resting on the board gives you some control over how deep the pins scribe the board. A little practice on some scrap will give the feel of it.
Scott
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I generally have better luck pushing instead of pulling. Depending upon the type of wood and grain, the direction you go, and the angle you hold the gauge, can make all the difference in the world. Practice on scrap first until you get the hang of that type of wood and the tool. Also, put the stock in a vice and trying using both hands.
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Last update: 8/24/03
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: I decided to take advantage of some scrap I had to learn how to do some : basic joints. I decided to start with the mortise-and-tenon. I've got a : mortising gauge, I separated the pins to the width of my chisel and tried : to scribe the line on my stock but it just skipped all over and left two : jagged, uneven lines in my stock.
Ben might like to try my web site. Please look under 'Marking Out Notes' - 'How To Use A Marking Gauge'.
Apologies for the devious URL, but it keeps the spammers at bay.
Jeff G
-- Jeff Gorman, West Yorkshire, UK Email address is username@ISP username is amgron ISP is clara.co.uk Website www.username.clara.net
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Gawd!! Do I have to teach you people everything? Look, just use enough pressure to scratch the wood. After all, it is called a "Marking Gage", not a friggin' Dado Blade!! Then follow the marked line with a hard pencil sharpened to a chisel point.
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On Fri, 29 Aug 2003 05:31:59 -0400, RM MS wrote:

Funny, that's what I tried to do but the pins wandered. Did you know that it's possible to bestow advice upon people with less knowledge than you without being a prick? Try it sometime.
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Sowwy I huwted you widdle feewings, maybe the pins are too long or flexible. I use the broken stub ends of small-diameter drills, sharpened to a point of your own choosing and staked in place if the gage is metal, Krazy Glued if the gage beam is wood.
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