I used to be afraid to modify a tool in any way, as I always worried that I would destroy it. But since I’ve begun to make a few of my own tools, that fear has entirely disappeared. I seldom hesitate to modify a tool that’s not working quite right, even if it’s one I’ve made myself.
Take, for example, the black-faced marking gauge in the set on the left. It was the third gauge I’d made for myself. I liked the maple/blackwood combination but more I used it, the less I liked the shape of the fence. Plus, the wedge was too loose for easy operation.
I knew I could make it better that I had originally. Besides, I had been wanting a smaller gauge for smaller-scale work, so I set about reducing the size of the fence and making a new wedge.
After a bit of work with the bow saw, a rasp, a file, and a card scraper, I like this gauge much better. (I am also reminded that blackwood dust makes me sneeze like crazy.)
That’s one more semi-functional tool improved by a bit of workshop bravado.