A classic single pin English marking gauge is beautifully crafted by Joseph Marples of Sheffield from FSC beech. It has inset brass face wear plates, specially for us, is secured to the stem with a milled brass screw which is so much nicer than the standard plastic thumbscrew!
Identical to the non-inlaid version in all other respects, the brass wear strips on this gauge are intended to resist wear on the working face of the head. Probably a bit of a cosmetic indulgence on walnut, but they do look good.
English marking gauges are used with the stock and the corner of the stem both in contact with the workpiece. Stand the timber firmly against a bench dog or in the open jaw of the vice and sight along it, pressing the head of the marking gauge up against the prepared face side or edge. The top of the gauge is rolled towards you like the throttle of a motorbike as you push the gauge away, insinuating the pin or cutter onto the surface and carefully placing your mark. The curved underside of the stem provides a clear view of the pin and the mark, whilst light creeping in between the board and either the stem or the head provides instant warning if contact with the workpiece is lost.
It is good practice to test your gauge settings on a piece of accurately planed scrap before committing to a mark on the component, retaining the scrap piece for the duration of the project will allow you to double check your original settings should this be necessary.