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Kreg Multi-Mark Multi-Purpose Layout Tool
Compact and surprisingly useful
Text and photos by Tom Hintz
Posted – 9-29-2010
Like virtually everyone else in woodworking I had a favorite layout tool that was used whenever I worked in the shop. For me it was a tape measure with centering capability. I had found all sorts of uses for that simple tape measure so it was seldom out of reach. Then I came across the Kreg Multi-Mark and after using it for several days in my shop I am ready to admit that I now have two favorite layout tools. The Kreg Multi-Mark isn’t a tape measure but it does a whole bunch of other useful things that make it nice to have.
At first glance the Kreg Multi-Mark looks like a simple plastic body and a 6”-long steel rule. Look closer and you notice an array of features that give this tool a surprising number of uses. The folks at Kreg have perfected the art of incorporating multiple uses into nearly every tool they make. The back of the Kreg Multi-Mark packaging shows 9 different uses but I suspect that once you get this tool in your shop that you will discover other uses as well.
The steel rule is the simplest part of the Kreg Multi-Mark but it is cleanly made. The steel rule is thick enough to make it rigid and it is engraved with Imperial graduations (1/16” resolution) on one side and Metric markings (centimeter resolution) on the other. A slot down the middle of the rule is used with the brass finger knob to secure the blade at various angles and lengths for different operations in one of two threaded brass inserts set into the plastic body.
The plastic body has a full-length relief for the scale blade one side of the long axis. With the rule in this storage recess it can be used for layouts, measuring and transferring depths or distances within its 6” range. Since the body is also 6” long you can actually use Kreg Multi-Mark for lengths up to a bit under 12”.
A 90-degree seat is located on the other side along with a 45-degree passage that runs through the body near one end. With the blade in these positions the Kreg Multi-Mark can be used like a combination square. The 90-degree seat is good for checking a project/component for square or laying out positions that need to be 90-degrees to a straight surface. The 45-degree seat is great for laying out miters and even measuring the length of a needed miter when doing trim work or making face frames.
The plastic body has a 3/16”-wide rabbet around all four sides on one face. The size of this rabbet may sound odd until you realize it matches the dimension of most relief's for window and door trim. With the rabbet on all four sides you can use the Kreg Multi-Mark to instantly position trim around doorways and windows and make that job both far more accurate and faster.
The plastic body also has a spirit level built into it that comes in handy for checking projects or parts of a project for level. Because of all the other uses for the Kreg Multi-Mark you are likely to always have it close by so using it to check level is just an added bonus.
In the Shop
Overall the Kreg Multi-Mark is 6”-long, 1-7/16”-wide and 11/16”-thick, in the “stowed” configuration. That means that the Kreg Multi-Mark is not only handy, it is a handy size for carrying around the shop or job site in a tool belt or pocket. I set the Kreg Multi-Mark next to my trusty tape measure and made a point of taking it anywhere the tape measure went as I worked in the shop.
One thing that I learned quickly is that while the Kreg Multi-Mark probably won’t make or break a project on its own, it does make lots of common tasks in the shop happen quicker if not more accurately. Its many functions and quick changeover prevents some steps I would otherwise have racked up going back and forth to my “layout and measurement” drawer for other tools.
I tried checking the accuracy of the square and bevel functions and both appeared to be right on the money. I also liked being able to change measurement systems between Imperial and Metric by simply flipping the blade over. All too often plans or instructions give a metric dimension and the Kreg Multi-Mark makes it easy to do an accurate layout or measurement with the right type of scale showing. I don’t know why so many Americans are still metric-lacking but we are and Kreg Multi-Mark helps keep those conversions accurate.
It didn’t take long for me to get used to reaching for the Kreg Multi-Mark when I could have been looking for one of my other measuring or layout tools. The Kreg Multi-Mark does plenty to make it worthwhile yet it is compact enough to carry in a pocket or to keep on the edge of a bench within easy reach.
I was a little concerned about the thumbscrew and if that could really lock down the blade after setting. That proved to be an unfounded concern on my part. The thumbscrew has a more than sufficient diameter and base to grip the measuring blade firmly and prevent wander or slippage.
The Kreg Multi-Mark is a very well designed tool that makes many measuring and layout tasks faster because it is easy to use, easy to set up and easy to carry wherever you go. That portability along with the fast accuracy means that very soon after you start using it the Kreg Multi-Mark will become a permanent part of your workshop attire.
With a street price of $19.99 (10-21-2010) the Kreg Multi-Mark is a great value for the shop. I can’t think of many tools anywhere close to this price range that can have the impact or be as frequently used in the average shop as the Kreg Multi-Mark. While it is small enough to get lost in a crowded drawer I doubt that will happen. As much as I expect that you will use the Kreg Multi-Mark losing it probably is not a big concern. And in case you are wondering, I know exactly where MY Kreg Multi-Mark is so don’t get any funny ideas.
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