This Cheap Tool Can Speed Up Your DIY Improvement

contour gauge
Metal contour gauge; Source: Wikipedia

Nothing new with DIY improvements; it is always the same that you are creating something with your hands. Many improvements such as woodworking and craft, home decor, home repairs, and others require certain skills. DIY helps a lot to save your budget and at the same time, you are saving our earth through repurposing materials.

Of course, for all home handymen, it is important to have certain tools. Hammers, squares, crosscut saws, cordless drills, screwdrivers, are things that come to mind. But, of course, you should invest your money in some tools to let your craftsmanship get into the upper level. One of the simple tools that you really have to have is a contour gauge.

This tool will reduce the duplication process which means save you time. You don’t need to work hard to duplicate a contour which means save energy. And it’s affordable. It saves you time, energy, and money.

Why Buy Contour Gauge?

As an inexpensive device, there are some good things about this tool below:

  • To duplicate the odd shapes and transfer it to any surface for cutting
  • To work on any irregular surfaces such as window trim, crown molding, door casings, and others.
  • It is the best tool to reduce the number of possible mistakes.

Even though this tool is not for every single project, but you cannot replace it with other tools when you need it. It works by capturing the odd shapes before transferring the shapes to another surface for cutting.

It also helps you speed up your DIY improvement since you don’t have to measure or cut surfaces several times. This contour gauge helps you trace a shape, and then transpose it to any material you are working with. After that, you could use a coping saw or a jigsaw to get the precise fit.

For example, when you are working with tiles, these materials are expensive and hard to cut. It is why using the best contour gauge helps a lot to reduce the possible mistakes. This tool helps you work faster when you are installing ceramic tiles for kitchens and bathrooms, such as trimming on unconventional shapes and corners.

Tiles are also expensive that means it is very critical to make the first cut as the only cut. Using this tool removes the guesswork. Not only that, but it also works for other materials such as brick and stone.

How To Transfer Shapes Using Contour Gauge

This simple but incredible tool helps you transfer irregular shapes and curves. It is simple to use this product. First of all, press the comb side of your contour gauge against the surface to create a wave of pins and form a traceable line.

You may find metal contour gauge and plastic contour gauge. They are popular as profile combs, shape duplicator, or profile gauges. Metal wires offer a smaller diameter than contour gauges. But, the metal wires have more accurate tracing than plastic.

On the other hand, plastic gauges have better durability because the teeth are more inclined to dislodge. Commonly, there are two size options to pick from. Metal contour gauge has 6-inch; meanwhile, plastic contour gauge offers 10-inch. It means if you want to duplicate larger shapes, you could easily solve this matter by combining both of the gauges.

Here are the simple four steps to follow when you are using this tool:

  • Aligns the pin. Simply, push it up against a flat surface.
  • Create the shape by pushing the gauge against the irregular shape.
  • If the gauge comes with a lock feature, engage it. This way will hold the pins.
  • Transfer it to the material, and start tracing the shape.
  • Last, use a band saw, a coping saw, or a jigsaw to cut.

If you are using this tool with a locking mechanism, you should find the switch on the end of this gauge. If you could not find it, then find a small metal lever. Once you have used the tool to create a contour, and then move the switch to lock the pins in place. Now, you are ready to trace the locked shape on the surface you are working with.

The Key Points To Buy Best Contour Gauge

Searching for the best contour gauge for your craftsmanship and DIY woodworking projects can take several major points to consider. The following sections provide details of features to get the best quality product.

1. Size

It is an important factor when you are searching for this tool. Keep in mind that the larger the tool, the longer for you to duplicate the contour. Mostly, contour gauges are available in the size of 10-inch, which is helpful enough to speed up your DIY improvements for door frames, molding, and trim.

Smaller gauges are available from 5- to 6-inch in width. You also need this smaller version to deal with the tighter spaces.

2. Material

Plastic and metal are the common two materials for contour gauges. You may find this tool with metal or plastic pins to make a comb. Metal is what you need if you are working in construction or building project regularly.

However, metal wires are easy to dislodge. It would not happen if you are using plastic gauges. Even though you bounce it around, it will not escape.

3. Resolution

The resolution will determine the accuracy of a counter gauge. The more pins in this tool, the more accurately it could trace the irregular shape. Therefore, if you go with the smaller pins, the contour gauge will match the shape accurately compared to the larger pins.

4. Locking Feature

The main use of a contour gauge is to transfer the shape of any object onto paper, wood, and other materials. Tracing shapes will be easier if you have this tool with a mechanism system since it locks the pins in place. Even better, you will not experience any issue related to dislodge pins.

5. Magnetic Blocks

Contour gauge with magnetic blocks makes you easily get the pattern because it allows the tool to stick to the material. This feature is what you need if you are working on a metal object, and you need to create a contour in a high place that you could not reach up.

6. Joinable Parts

There is no rule said that you must buy a very long contour gauge. If you want to contour around very long spaces, it means you need to take the tool repeatedly and take the contour from the last point you left. This is, of course, time-wasting and overlapping that will lead to wrong measurements and it wastes your materials.

For this reason, it is good to buy one with joinable parts to deal with this situation. You could join two gauges by using some screws.

Final Words: How to Get A Contour Gauge

Anytime you need something to help you trace out pipes, corners, and other objects, you don’t need anymore to use cardboard, a pair of scissors, or a tracing paper to leave a mark before cutting. Along with this tool, it helps you accomplish a big project.

On the market, contour gauge comes with various models available. If you are in a search of this tool, you may find these top 10 best contour gauges helpful to make a decision later on. A list of selected contour gauges can save your time and effort.

Overall, you can use contour gauges for different shapes of contour: bend, curve, oval, irregular, etc. The only drawback of this tool is you are only able to duplicate the contour of a single shape at a single time. But it’s actually not a huge issue. This tool is affordable but saves you time, energy, and money.