Building a house? Perhaps fixing a part of it? It might be difficult to get it done because very frequently you will have to work around pipes, corners and other such objects which form the base of your house.
In such cases, you will need something which will let you trace out the area around which you have to work. Generally, for a one time use, people use cardboard, tracing paper and a pair of scissors to mark the area around which they have to cut.
But if you have a big project or have to complete such projects often then you should get a contour gauge. But there are a lot of contour gauge models available in the market.
So how are you going to know which one is the best? More importantly, how will you select the very best? We are here to help you with exactly that.
So you and your honey or planning on redoing that kitchen making it really nice like putting some new towel down or maybe that bathroom you really wanted to shine but there’s one thing you forgot and that’s the misery of laying tile around corners piped and the commode well don’t flush your time or money down the commode because I’m gonna show you a tool that’s gonna really make your life a lot easier all right I don’t care if you’ve been on Pinterest Instagram Facebook Twitter wherever I guarantee you probably seen an ad for this tool this is called a contour gauge now they’ve been around for a while you had the old pin stylus which they’re not bad but this one here seems to be getting really popular I paid around $17 on Amazon for it and let me show you sort of what it does a lot you can go around curves or corners or whatever you need to do especially when you’re laying towel let me show you here so say you’re up against a corner or some morning and you needed to measure out that towel so instead of grabbing your tape measure you grab this you just push down on that molding and it automatically contours it for you and then what you do is take the tool bring it over to your tile piece that you’re getting ready to cut and trace it out you make the cuts around your trace and voila you are done now this one here again is a little bit different than the pin style that we showed you on one of our earlier videos if you take a look it’s set up a little bit different so it’s made out of plastic and each one of these pieces are about 1/8 of an inch thick but don’t be worried you do get a lot of detail which I will show you how much detail you get later in this video but there is sort of a trick to using this depending on what you’re trying to contour so take this round can for example it doesn’t really matter which way you put that tool you can see it contours it out pretty nicely and now you can just trace out around that so if that was your toilet well there you go but let’s say you were ready to trace out around your steps well the way I’m holding it here you can see that if I push down on it well it’s just kind of messy it doesn’t give that perfect diamond triangle shape I didn’t care for that but I realized you have to sort of turn this thing upside down and flip it every once in a while to get it to work the way you wanted to when I first started using this brand I was a little concerned because well it just wasn’t coming out all that nice but as you can see which I’ll give you a closer look here in a bit if you turn it the right way you won’t have any issues with it now if you are on an angle there you go you can see pretty smooth but again those pins if you will they are definitely a little bit thicker and a little bit larger than your older metal style versions so it’s probably going to take you a couple times to get used to this however once you do get used to it it is going to save you a ton of time when it comes to trying to figure out the cuts around your corners your mouldings your pipes and all that good stuff now what I was somewhat sort of surprised about was how much detail I actually got out of this because you know the pins are a little bit thicker but if you had some decorative molding check it out it actually contours around the piece of mourning with all the detail not as good as the order pin models that you can find but it still does a pretty good job and even though it might not be 100% perfect it doesn’t really matter because you’re going to end up putting your grout around that anyway but because I was so impressed with how well this actually contoured I wanted to really put it to the test and actually see if I could draw a spitting image of myself on this blank cam it’s only using this tool and the contours here we go I can tell that this is probably going to be the next Mona Lisa never really notice how smooth my contours were gotta make sure we get everything and maybe not everything that was a lot of drama guess what the detail is perfect and man it is a spitting image when I look in that mirror man what an awesome tool this thing is listen at the end of the day it’s it’s 1617 dollars I’ll put a link in the description below for you check it out I paid my own money for this thing I don’t work for or with or I don’t even know anybody at this company long story short it’s going to save you a lot of time it’s going to save you a lot of money dealing with those messed up cuts it is just 100% worth it and if you’re planning on laying towel or if your architect or if you’re an engineer or you need some type of tracing or contours or whatever you do that you can use this tool definitely check these things out they are really really awesome they’re easy to use they’re really heavy-duty build you can’t walk it down this one doesn’t walk down you know this pinch but it doesn’t go anywhere the pins are a little bit larger so maybe you need something a little bit smaller when it comes to that if you need a lot of detail but at the end of the day it works really really good and yeah it gets my vote of approval so I hope you liked the video if you do please smash that like button get subscribed hit that Bell notifications so you don’t miss out on any other cool tools if you want come over and say hi to us on the Instagram page at tool reviews and with that we’ll be back with more video soon don’t forget to get subscribe.
Welcome back to the channel. It’s a pretty late in the evening but I’m gonna try to get some of the shiplap done that I’m gonna do on these two star walls I really need to get this in because it’s kind of my trim there’s a storm going on and apparently we just lost power this is gonna be an audio book so first thing you want to do is cut the ship off alright so anyways like I was saying I’m still gonna do it oh yeah I’m gonna get started on the shiplap and I have a rigid light Milwaukee saw and cordless nail gun so this video has been brought to you by a cordless power tools well as you can see my power would not yesterday when I was about to start working but the good news is I was actually able to still work the only bad news is I wasn’t able to record anything because it was just too dark for the camera but I just stacked up some shiplap it wasn’t really a big deal but we’re at a point now in the shiplap job where we need to cut out around a transition a bullnose transition and I thought it’d be a good time to mention to you this tool right here this is a contour gage and if you’ve never seen one of these I think you’ll find it pretty interesting but it’s a gage that has a lot of little gauges on it that move around and take the shape of whatever object you put it up against and these come in very very handy whenever you’re doing trim work because a lot of times you have to die the moldings into an existing object and you want an exact fit and this tool will give you an exact fit so with a little practice and a little finesse these things can make your life really easy so there’s a short and sweet simple introduction to the contour gage now let me show you how it can make your life easier so basically we got to go around this little contour right here and we just push this tool until all the gauges are up against the object that we want to trace out and then that leaves us with this kind of J shape and then we take that we trace it out onto a piece of wood usually else start with a like a template just to make sure before I cut like a full piece and you can see how I just saw that out it’s the exact shape and then I’ll make sure I get this perfectly tight up here so once I have this little sample good then at that point I’ll just take that sample and trace it out onto my large piece and it should be an exact replica and the reason for the sample is just this is gonna go in the trash anyways so might as well make more mistakes on this board instead of a long board and risk having that loss so I’ll go ahead and put this in and show you how this looks should just jam in so I got a nice tight hug right there with that cut out and then I’ll have a crown molding return that stops right here and then it’ll hide the rest of this gap so the long as we’re tight right here my crown return will start right here and then continue to go again I would just put this on a level surface the level surface is up here against the shiplap board and then just push these gauges over and it’s gonna give me exactly what I need this kind of backwards J shape now so one thing we can do with this jigsaw is turn the blade so that it puts a slight angle on the cut and kind of copes this line so as long as it’s slightly angled should be good we cut we just cut this part on the table saw now we got our line which is a thick line but I know what’s going on so this thing should be able to fit right in other than that no pop right there this is pretty tight right here it’s pretty tight to this point and then there’s a pretty big gap right there but like I said I want to have a crown return I’ll show you what that looks like and that’ll hide everything there so I wasn’t really too concerned about trying to get that tight my main objective was from here to here and that is really good done and when I grab mine this is just a return I just cut to show you why if this gap right here doesn’t matter because I’m gonna have this crown return right here it’s gonna go to the flat part of this kind of sideways bullnose right here and you can see with that it’s a nice tight transition but I like how it’s just really precise so pretty cool when I found out about these tools I was pretty excited about him and I’ve been using them ever since contour gauge try it’s a pretty cool tool.
Contour gauges are tools which are mainly made up of using two materials- plastic and metal. The tool features a set of metal or plastic pins/wires which resemble a comb. These pins emulate a surface of a material when it is pressed to it. On a broader scale, the two materials might not seem that different but they are. Metal will be more long-lasting than plastic, no matter how high quality the plastic is. So if you do tend to work in building and construction regularly then the metal will serve you well for a long time.
There is another related factor which you will have to keep in mind. The metal wires or pins are put in the metal housing of the gauge in such a way that if you dislodge a few (it can be very easily done if the tool gets bounced around in a tool pouch or a drawer), then more pins get dislodged in quick succession. But you won’t have to face this issue with plastic contour gauges. They are completely locked into the tool so no matter how much you bounce it around, it won’t escape.
Know that plastic pins do tend to break off if you press it too hard against the surface of the thing you want to get a contour off. But metal has its problems. There is a risk of the metal pins or wires bending if you press the tool too hard against the object. This is because metal pins tend to be smaller in size and diameter when compared to the teeth of those contour gauges that are made up of plastic. But if used with a little care, then the metal will last longer.
Since metal contour gauges have little pins so it also means that there tends to be more points or pins pressing every inch on the surface of the object. This does allow for more accurate tracking. Plastic combs won’t give you a very accurate tracing when compared to metal contour gauges but they can get tracing done for a wide variety of things too. It should be mentioned that if you have a little tight budget then you can go for plastic contour gauges too. Plastic gauges are also good for those projects where you don’t need to worry about accurate measurements and a broader estimation will get the job done.
A contour gauge should have a very strong clamp locking system otherwise it will be very difficult for you to transfer the pattern someplace else. This can make a big difference if you are constructing something big like a building and such. Sometimes even the smallest miscalculation can throw the entire planning off. So if you need to accurately transfer the pattern to some other material so that it can be cut out then make sure that the clamp is working properly. A properly working pattern will let you lock the pattern without any worry of dislodging it. The clamp shouldn’t get dislodged easily by a nudge or a sudden movement at all. Remember that a small mistake can make you have to replace the material on which you have drawn the contour to cut.
This isn’t a feature that is generally considered to be important, especially by people who are new to this tool. But an angle connector will be your life savior if you have to work in big projects and have to make contours around corners or rounded objects. It will be very difficult to make a contour around a corner since the contour gauge is a straight instrument. So it won’t be able to provide you with accurate measurements of the whole corner and you will have to use the tool again and again to get the entire corner. This is where an angle connector will be able to get the contouring of the whole angle or rounded corner at once.
Contour gauges don’t tend to be very long. Most are around ten inches. But what if you are faced with a project where you need to contour around long spaces? Then you will have to repeatedly take the tool and then take the contour from where you left off last. This isn’t only time consuming but also a laborious process where there’s a high chance of overlapping. Overlapping can cause not just incorrect measurements but also wastage of materials where the contour would have to be drawn. So having a contour gauge that can be joined with another contour gauge will be very useful in such scenarios. All you will need are a couple of screws to join two gauges together. If you are a professional who works in the construction section then having a contour gauge that can be joined with another one will be a valuable investment for you.
If you have to work on ferrous objects then you could need magnetic blocks on the contour gauge so that it sticks to the material and helps you easily make the pattern. This will be especially helpful if the metal object you need to make a contour of is placed higher up and you can’t quite reach up there. If you work frequently in construction then magnetic blocks on contour gauges will surely make your work easier.
Contour Gauge for Tile Installation:
Keep Calm Thailand we’ve got the gauge right here with the teeth ladies and gentlemen welcome back to the channel welcome back to tile tool Tuesday in this quick five minute segment we will be discussing and demonstrating how this works here this is a contour gauge for a lot of uses typically flooring for your wood flooring installations laminate tile flooring installations it also can be used for trim work as well this contour gauge is 10 inches made of ABS now what this does is very simple it can accurately copy any shape including irregular shapes so this is how it works we have a coffee cup here keep calm Thailand we’ve got the gauge right here with the teeth there is your copy of the coffee cup now there are many contour gauges on the market this is 7 Sparta very inexpensive under $10 as usual links will be in the description below now for tile this can be used for a round radius for round corner bead this can be used for your doorframe your door casing and of course you can use this to mark and cut tiles for your curved bathtubs as well as your curved fiberglass trays or fiberglass shower pans now before we do that we’ll bring the camera up close show you what this looks like up close get right to demonstrating how it works and cutting some tile here we go and here it is guys you’ve got your teeth here has a ruler on it as well again this thing is under ten bucks so visualize this as your shower tray your shower pan and you have to cut a radius around it for your tile simply works like this there is your radius here is the tile that you need to cut to accept the radius of your shower pan make your mark and simply make your cut quickly show you how this works for your door frame and then we will make some cuts here we go so here is your door opening your door frame if you don’t want to undercut your door frame in order to slide the tile underneath or if it’s a metal door frame this works well let me quickly show you here we will get our contour make our marks and cut our tile so there is our contour let’s trace this on the tile and make our cuts quickly make your mark and cut so here is your radius cut if it were a shower pan and this cut would be for your doorframe if you chose not to undercut or if this would be a metal frame well there you go a contour gage good little tool to have your toolbox for funky contoured cuts for fluorine for tile well there it is guys thank you for watching as usual hit that thumbs up button most importantly if you know anybody who might find this tool useful share this video and I’ll see you on the next one Keep Calm tile on we’ve got the gauge right here with the teeth you.
FAQs on Best Contour Gauge in 2020
How can you use a contour gauge?
This is one of the easiest tools to use. A contour gauge can be used to cut around any oddly shaped piece of wood or any other object. Here's how to use it:
First press those pins or wires against the object which your wood, tile, or any other material has to be joined with. This makes a contour on the tool which you can then transfer on your tile or wood to cut.
After transferring the tool with the contour intact to the wood or tile, trace the outline so that after it is cut, it fits with the object. To cut you can use a hand saw, jigsaw, or band saw.
Can you make a contour gauge at home?
Yes, it is indeed possible to make a homemade contour gauge. But it will take a lot of time, effort, and materials. Moreover, the entire process of inserting the pins and then ensuring that the clamp gets locked properly will be difficult to carry out accurately. It's simply not worth it. It will be much cheaper and effective if you invest money and buy one. Know that one contour gauge will last you for a long time even after repeated use. But as with any tool, it's advised that you use it with care.
Are plastic gauges long-lasting?
The answer is yes. Plastic contour gauges aren't made up of cheap plastic. The quality is good enough if you are looking for something cheap and which can be used in a small project where accuracy isn't the question and a broad outline of the contour would do. But if you are thinking of getting a plastic gauge for using in big projects then the advice would be to invest in a metal one. The metal contour gauge would last longer for sure even if there's a chance of the pins bending. But with plastic ones, the pins can straight up break off if you apply too much pressure. Overall, as said above you should use the tool with a little care.
What can you use a contour gauge for?
You can use a contour gauge to emulate any shape. It can be of a pipe, any irregular shapes, woodcuts, zigzagging tiles, and more. All you have to do is press it to the object and get the shape. Then just transfer it to the material which you need to cut. Here's a little tip: Instead of transferring the shape to the material which has to be cut to mold around the shape of the pipe or corner, it's advisable that you first copy the shapes on cardboard. You can use a marker to get the tracing done. The advantage of this is that you will be able to use the cardboard marking multiple times to get the contouring on to the tile or wood you want to cut. This way you won't have to use the contour gauge again and again on the same angle or corner. It will save you tonnes of time and effort.
How to use a contour gauge? (Video Guide)
If you have ever tried to lay a piece of towel or any type of flooring well you usually run into this the dreaded Piper now usually these pipes are made out of copper but I am a too cheap for that but that being said I’m going to show you a tool that will make your life way easier now what we usually do when we find ourselves in this situation whether it be a pipe or some molding you take out your trusty tape measure and hope for the best you cross your fingers you try to measure it up the best you can yeah i ball it sometimes it works out sometimes it does not and even though the tape measure is a fantastic tool we’re getting rid of it and we’re using this little magic trick here and snap my didn’t think there was gonna be that much smoke really gonna stop doing that this is the Empire contour gauge now empires not the only one that makes it and be honest with you I don’t really like this one all that much this is the one they carried up to the home depot now I will show you how to use this tell you why I would go with the different brand and provide that brand not in the comments section below so what you got is a bunch of different stainless pins right here on the top and the bottom very simply used you also got a ruler now this only goes up to six inches that’s one of the reasons why I don’t care for the Empire it’s a little bit shorter than I would like but check this out all you got to do is push down on one of the ends and you automatically get the shape that you need now not only does it work for a towel it’ll work for molding it’ll work for coping super easy to use let me show you just level these out you can go on either side whatever once you get that straighten out and that’s another issue about this it’s a little hard to do and getting those pins in and out it’s not my favorite but we’re gonna set up our pipe here not copper and we’re just gonna push in all we have to do is find that mark to push that in that’s like so and now all you got to do is put that on the towel you measure it out to where you need that to line up let me show you this again here we’re gonna do a slow motion just push that in and now you have your contour hence the contour gage how freakin cool is that so now all you’re gonna do is take this bring it over to your piece of towel line it up you can do it one of two different ways this is the way I would do it you just line it up measure it out to where it needs to be and then just mark it out trace it out with your pencil cut that piece out and boom you can put it right up to your pipe you can also do it like this I don’t suggest that you could Bend those pins hence another reason why I’m not really all that excited about this one but cut those pieces out and it is ready to go if you have morning going around your flooring you can do the same thing I mean check this out this is how well this actually works you know that’s my banister here and you can see all of the contours of that so if I was coping or molding let me show you if I had a piece of molding outside the house or inside the house and wherever you’re working and you needed to cope that out you needed to cut it you can go put this right up against a get that contour and you are ready to cut it is that simple I love this freaking thing I wish I would have had this long ago and I would never ever lay foreing without one of these tools now let me give you a couple positives about this one and a couple positives about the other a couple negatives about this in a couple negatives about the other this one here is very precise you know this pins work very good even on the bed rail I mean check that out you get every contour but one of my issues is it’s not the smoothest to use and the pins on the outside don’t always work all that great not to mention they shift a little bit so if you get those bind up a little bit they’re kind of a pain to push in if you break one of those pins while you’re kind of I don’t luck but check that out they just don’t want to go down on the edge now even though you might not be using it on the edge it is not that long it’s only six inches so you can get longer ones this one here is not something that I would want to use every single day I will show you at the end of this video which one I would go with but all-in-all for the Empire one even though it’s not online I can’t find I found it in my store it works pretty good it’s also built pretty well but you got to be careful just throwing this thing around you put another tool on top of those pins you can also break them now let me show you the one I wish I would have went for they didn’t carry it in the Home Depot but this is the general tool eight three three it’s a plastic contour gauge it’s a ten inch and they just seem to work a lot smoother than the metal pins right here you can also go with the metal pin the six inch if you wanted to but I really do like these plastic ones here I just I just like them better at the end of the day you want to look for something that will actually lock down on the side even though the metal one like this here locks down pretty good you can manually lock a lot of these down so look for the one that’s going to best fit your needs oh no I do like the general I think it’s a pretty good price and it’s a little bit longer than six inches now if you liked this video don’t forget to smash that like button don’t forget to subscribe and hit that Bell notification so you don’t miss out on any other tool reviews or info come say hi to us on the Instagram page at Twin review zone and as always we’ll be back with won’t review soon.
What is the ideal length of a contour gauge which you should buy?
Contour gauges are found in various lengths ranging from 5 inches, ten inches to 20 inches, and even more even though anything more than 20 inches in length is rare. Generally, these are found in ten inches of length. That is quite enough for carrying out regular construction work. But you can buy joinable contour gauges if you want to increase the length of the tool by adding another one to it. Of course, you might think that as an alternative you should get the 20-inch tool all the once. But such a big instrument will be difficult to use in small and tight spaces. After all, such a big tool might not even fit in some areas.
How many pins should a contour gauge ideally have?
In terms of construction work, the accurate the contouring the better it will be for you. But to get this accurate contouring you will need a contour gauge which comes with a tonne of pins. The more the pins, the better the resolution of the contour will be. But more pins isn’t the only solution if you want a higher resolution, the pins also have to be thinner. Thinner pins mean that it will be able to accurately get the shape without any kind of distortion, which is a possibility if you use contour gauges with broad pins.
How to Make A Wooden Contour Gauge?
This time I’m going to make a simple wooden contour gauge in case you didn’t know a contour gauge is made to measure and replicate complicated parts first thing I did was go over to my wood rack and picked out a couple of pieces of maple then I had to sand those so that they are a little bit convex that means that they’re curved outwards in the middle now these don’t have to be sanded very much they just have to be slightly open on the end when you hold the other end close that way when the both ends are clamped together there’s a little bit of pressure in the center to hold the strips in place now the size of these is kind of arbitrary it doesn’t have to be any particular length I just picked what was on the Shelf cut them both of the same length they are about 5/8 of an inch thick and they’re inch and a half wide these particular pieces have a chamfer on each corner because that’s what I cut them from and nothing else really needs to be done with these before a couple holes are drilled in each end I’m just going to take these screws and grind the sides of the head I need to do this so I can drive them into the wood now I got to cut a bunch of thin strips and I’m going to be cutting those from just a piece of two by ten that I cut down this is actually leftover from making legs for my planer stand I was going to set this off for half-inch raise the blade and cut off a few pieces and it comes time to cut the thin strips there’s a couple ways you can do it this way I don’t recommend a better way is to set up what’s known as a thin wrist guide here I’m just using my finger board that clamps into the miter slot just got to put the strip in and then move the fence over until it just touches the piece here and that gives you the exact width that you need to cut and then we need down to a piece that’s too narrow to go through there comfortably so you’re not cutting up your push stick throw it away it’s easy or you can just put them back on the shelf for the next project okay so I got all the strip’s cut to the right thickness all I need to do now is cut them to the right length hopefully I’ve cut more than I need cut the strips to length I’ve set up my table saw sled with a stop block and set it to about five inches away from the blade once again the length is arbitrary it doesn’t have to be exact I’m going to cut as many pieces out of these strips as I possibly can now that I’ve got the strips I’ll cut the length is just to put it together here in the part where I driven the bolts in I put a wooden block on the end and then put a nut in the hole that I also glued it in place just need to do the same on this end take the block put a little bit of glue on slip it on over the bolt and put the nut on and it’s a snug it up with a wrench doesn’t have to be too tight just needs to hold it down and the head of the bolt in the other side one thing you want to make sure of is that the block that you cut and the nut you put on are not taller than the strips the strips need to be above the nut and I need to do is put it together that involves putting the strips in it’s helpful if you put the other strip the other outside piece down here to help hold them in place and you want to get in as many as you possibly can that’s why it’s a good idea to have a few extra I think it’ll go it’ll take one more that’s it I should that should work fine now it’s just to take the other side put it on top actually I have it backwards I think screw holes line up a bit better no I had to right the first time that in then I’ve got a couple of small washers and some 3/16 wing nuts now with it together you can check to make sure that it’s okay it shouldn’t be too slack in the middle here you should it should still hold the wood fairly well with the wing nuts tightened down if they move too easily what you can do is you can take this outside piece off and say and it a bit more convex so that it pushes down a little bit harder in the middle it looks like that’s what I need to do with this one so I’m just going to take this off sand it on the belt sander try it again okay well it took some doing but I got it to hold up well in the middle I’ve got to come clean on this one it took a lot of sanding and adjusting to get this to the point where it was pressing down tightly enough in the middle probably it will work a lot better if it was a bit narrower and I like I say I’ve got this one working okay but I would recommend that if you were to make one you would make it a bit narrower it will be a lot easier to adjust it so it’s working properly what I found to be the most effective way to get it working well was to take the strips and extend them out this way as far as I could lay those on the workbench and take my sanding block and sand it smooth and slightly taper it towards the end and then when I got one side done it was loosen it up slide the fingers the other way and sand the other side in the same way well shooting for is the edges of the strip’s here to be absolutely smooth and flush with each other that made the device work a lot better and hold it in place a lot better well that’s it for the project like I said I have a definite need for one of these in a previous lifetime I have one but I don’t know what became of that lost over several moves I’m sure in the meantime this one seems to work well and will easily do what I want it to do well I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for watching.
How deep will the pins go in a contour gauge?
A standard contour gauge will give you a depth of 3 inches. This means that when you press the pins of the gauge to the surface of the object you want to contour they will take the contour to just 3 inches of depth. For general purposes, this is enough. But you can get 5 inches and even more as well if the need arises for a special project.
Overall, contour gauges are some of the very best tools available. No matter what you are fixing or constructing, there will come a time when you will have to mold around a pipe, corner, or angle. This is where a contour gauge will come in use. Another great benefit of this tool is just how easy it is to use. All you have to do to get the contour of the angle or corner of an object is press the tool to it. Then you will have to lock it and transfer the shape. It’s just that easy. There’s no troubling maths or calculations involved. The tool is also cheap and durable which makes it easy on your pockets. Hopefully, now you are enlightened about the contour gauges and their uses. It will surely look great in your toolbox.
Edmond Clark is a 34-year-old Blogger from California, USA. He is a Certified Market Research Professional (MRP) & a full-time blogger. His aim is to help the consumer to choose the best product from the market. Contact him for any of your queries.