6 Inch vs 10 Inch Contour Gauge

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 20, 2021
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Measurements and shapes are important when you’re fixing something. It is easy and reasonable to use a measuring scale to take these measurements for straight objects, but not so much when it comes to objects having curves and complex structures. A contour gauge can come to your rescue in this situation. A contour gauge is used to imitate the shape and take the measurements of these irregularly shaped objects like pipes, corners, etc. The contour gauge comes in different sizes. But the most common is the 6 inch and the 10-inch contour gauge. We will tell you everything you need to know about these two gauges in detail.

10-inch Contour Gauge

This one is the larger version among the two. The size advantage in a contour gauge carries its pros and cons. But the gauge functions with the core mechanism of the best contour gauge. The external structure is the same as the same types of parts.
Build Material Metals are rarely used in a 10inch contour gauge. Most of the 10inch contour gauge you will see will have plastic needles. Because plastic needles have a bigger diameter than metal needles. So, they are used on larger objects. The scale clamp is something that you should also be aware of. Although it does not matter what material the scale clamp is made out of, the inches and centimeters marked on it can be pretty useful sometimes. When you are buying a 10inch gauge, the scale should have 10inch as its final marking. Operating Objects A 10inch contour gauge is used for larger objects, those have no complex shapes. The reason behind this is that since the size of the gauge is more, the amount of needles or leaves per inch is less compared to the smaller version. Needle Density Generally, a 10inch contour gauge has about 18 leaves per inch. The more the needles per inch in a contour gauge, the more fine and accurate its measurements will be. For this reason, a 10inch contour gauge is used for a simple but large-sized object. We leave the complex objects to the smaller version.

 6-inch Contour Gauge

This one is the smaller version of the contour gauge. Like the previous one, its smaller size has given it some advantage and disadvantage at the same time. Needless to say, the functionality is the same as the larger one. The same goes for the structure.
Building Material Most of the time, metal needles are used in a 6inch contour gauge. Metal needles have a smaller diameter than the plastic ones. So, they can fit in and mimic finer structures with ease. And as they are thinner than plastic needles, they tend to break easily so you have to be careful while using them. There is not much of a difference between a 6inch contour gauge and a 10inch contour gauge regarding the scale. The only difference is that the scale should say 6inch at the end. The scale clamp locking system is as important is a 6inch gauge as it is in a 10inch gauge.  Be sure to check on that. Operating Objects The primary object of operation for a 6inch contour gauge is anything that is small, complex, and has fine structures in it. For example, edges of a wall with fine designs would be great for a 6inch contour gauge to deal with. Needle Density 6 inch contour gauges have more needle density. Their short size allows them to hold more needles per inch. On an average, a good quality 6inch contour gauge has about 36 needles per inch. That is more than enough for imitating the size and shape of any fine object. See: How to use a Contour Gauge

Last Words for 6 Inch vs 10 Inch Contour Gauge

If you can afford it, buy both of them. It is much easier to work with job-specific tools. It will cost you more, sure, but you will save an incredible amount of time and you’ll be satisfied too. Using something which it’s not good at is undoubtedly a misery. However, if you’re tight on the budget and you have some specific jobs to take care of, then make your decision and go for only one of them. If you need to duplicate designs and create something from a fine and complex object, you should go for the 6inch contour gauge. Nevertheless, if you don’t work with overly detailed and complex structures, then the 10inch contour gauge is for you. It will get the job done for any poles or edges of your house. One thing to keep in mind for both of them, always makes sure that you lock the scale clamp once you’ve finished taking in the measurements.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.