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Mortise gauge ID

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Mortise gauge ID

Postby NickM » 01 May 2021, 12:37

I bought a mortise gauge on an online vintage tool shop recently and was curious to know who made it.

There appears to be a makers mark on it, but it's very unclear so I'm not optimistic anyone will be able to tell me!

IMG_8398.jpeg
(542.37 KiB)


IMG_8397.jpeg
(221.89 KiB)


I'm really pleased with it. The other one I have (which was a new one from Axminster) is not very easy to use. Unlike this one, there is no screw for setting the mortise width. It's just a case of holding that with your thumb whilst you adjust the fence. I feel like I don't have enough fingers and thumbs and it's not helped by the fence being very stiff to move (which I can improve I think). This "new" one is a delight to use.
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby Trevanion » 01 May 2021, 12:54

It looks like an old Joseph Marples gauge.
"A machine can only be no better than the man who works it. His is the intelligence, the machine has none." Sydney Lister, 1949
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby NickM » 01 May 2021, 14:20

Trevanion wrote:It looks like an old Joseph Marples gauge.


Thanks. The only bit I can read clearly is "made in England".
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby sunnybob » 01 May 2021, 14:56

try the brass rubbing trick
Thin tracing paper over the top (kitchen greaseproof paper can work), soft lead pencil, rub the tip all over the paper and press slightly.
You might get lucky
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby NickM » 01 May 2021, 18:51

sunnybob wrote:try the brass rubbing trick
Thin tracing paper over the top (kitchen greaseproof paper can work), soft lead pencil, rub the tip all over the paper and press slightly.
You might get lucky


I might just try that, but it's super faint. I may also get my children to have a look first. Their eyes are a lot better than mine.

Bob, I've just got back from Bisley. I wasn't shooting, just picking up my son who had been training with his school team. You needn't feel any envy though - it was freezing and you would have hated it.
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby sunnybob » 01 May 2021, 19:53

Nick, I am envious. To me, Bisley is a very special place. I've partied there so many times. Drink all night in the RAF club, then sneak into the army shooting club to crash out. Up early to get back to shooting comps, repeat for four days, then struggle home. Those were the days. :eusa-clap: :eusa-clap:
Sadly I havent been back for a dozen years now, I hope they havent ripped down too many victorian clubhouses.
Actually, I have just remembered thats not true. About 5 years ago I went to the air rifle club with a friend who was a member. But it was a normal day, not a full blown event day with all the ranges in use.
The amount of history at Bisley is mind blowing, if you go often, wander around and check out the club houses. from the posh London and Middlesex, to the hole in the wall Artists rifles.
I especially always had a laugh at the caravan site with a notice that said "SAS camp site, no cameras" They know how to keep a secret those boys do. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby NickM » 01 May 2021, 20:33

It has been my second home since I first went in 1990. I’m not quite as dedicated as I used to be, but get there a couple of times a month from April to September and have done the Imperial Meeting every year since 1993. There have been some changes, but most of the good things about the place are still there.

I don’t party there as much as I used to, mainly because I live close enough not to have to stay on camp overnight. It’s definitely a great place to have a beer with friends though.
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby toolsntat » 01 May 2021, 23:16

W.H.CLAY Ltd
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby sunnybob » 02 May 2021, 04:54

Now I'm even MORE jealous. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
If you ever went to any Pistol AD the later Phoenix meetings we were there together :eusa-dance:
It was a 2 hour drive for me and I only shot pistol at that time so never went to the big rifle events.
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby NickM » 02 May 2021, 07:20

toolsntat wrote:W.H.CLAY Ltd
Cheers
Andy


That’s the one! My kids came up with most of those letters when they had a look yesterday so that must be right. Thanks for the answer as it’s nice to know a bit more about some of these old tools.
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby NickM » 02 May 2021, 07:24

sunnybob wrote:Now I'm even MORE jealous. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
If you ever went to any Pistol AD the later Phoenix meetings we were there together :eusa-dance:
It was a 2 hour drive for me and I only shot pistol at that time so never went to the big rifle events.


Target rifle only for me. I’m sure we will have been there at the same time at some point. Who knows, perhaps we’ll have been drinking in the LMRA at the same time!
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby sunnybob » 02 May 2021, 08:08

Several of my club members went to the Pistol AD meetings.
One year I had a blinding success rate and went into the LMR to celebrate. I saw three mates from my club on the end of one of the long trestle tables in the crowded room and offered to by them all a drink to celebrate. At that, another 10 turned their heads and ordered as well! :shock:
All my club friends, so I had to pay up and look big. :oops:
That round cost me over thirty quid, and that was at a cheap bar in the very early 90's :eusa-doh:

Last time I ever ordered a round in. :eusa-naughty: :eusa-naughty: :eusa-naughty:
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby AndyT » 05 May 2021, 21:02

Now that Andy's done the hard bit, I can swoop in with info from reference books.
William Henry Clay started at the end of the first world war and the firm continued under two more William Henry Clays until 1976 when the factory burnt down. The business was bought by Parramore and liquidated in 1992.
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby Chris101 » 05 May 2021, 21:50

I did have a little search and there's a possibility the company changed name from Clay to Ali for various reasons.
After national conscription ended they made a resurgence and dominated the marking gauge trade for a while due to the superlative and undeniably attractive credos of a brand that could not only talk the talk and walk the walk but talk the good talk to the satisfaction of all involved and walk the walk like few others before or since. ;)
Reports that they also released a brand of cleaning product called Soap a Rope might be confused.
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby NickM » 05 May 2021, 22:01

Thanks Andy and Chris :eusa-clap:
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Re: Mortise gauge ID

Postby AndyT » 05 May 2021, 22:05

Chris101 wrote:I did have a little search and there's a possibility the company changed name from Clay to Ali for various reasons.
After national conscription ended they made a resurgence and dominated the marking gauge trade for a while due to the superlative and undeniably attractive credos of a brand that could not only talk the talk and walk the walk but talk the good talk to the satisfaction of all involved and walk the walk like few others before or since. ;)
Reports that they also released a brand of cleaning product called Soap a Rope might be confused.


Classic! :D
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