As with many of our Veritas tools, we were led to develop the center marker because such a tool didn't exist.
We looked at numerous center-finding devices over the years in an attempt to find one that did the job well, with the least amount of effort on your part. All of them required three hands to use since you had to hold the wood, the finder, and a pencil all at once. We were convinced that it was possible to give you a simple-to-use tool that would also be much more accurate than any previous system. This is it.
Made from die-cast aluminum (predrilled for mounting near your lathe), it uses a knife-edged steel blade to score the end of a workpiece. You set a square or cylinder (up to 6" across) in the marker, tap it with a mallet, turn the wood approximately 90° and tap it again. The result is two score lines that intersect at the exact center of the wood. In softwoods the lines are deep enough to hold the drive center directly; you won't need to make additional intersecting saw cuts in the drive end of your workpiece.
This marker even functions well with work that is not square or cylindrical. In such a case, score the end of your workpiece four times rather than twice. This will give you a small polygon; you can dot the center of it by eye. Guaranteed to be accurate within 5 arc minutes (or 1/12 of a degree). With any center finder that does not automatically mark the wood, you are always out by at least half the width of your pencil line, plus whatever other error is inherent in the tool. Most of them have no guarantees of accuracy at all.
This tool particularly shines when work has to be replaced on the lathe after waste ends have been removed. Because it is so accurate, you can re-establish the exact center of any cylinder. This is the best center marker available.