How to Make a Scratch Stock for Beading
MORE SCRATCH STOCKS
Watch furniture maker Garrett Hack demonstrate his methods for making custom scratch stocks. watch the video
After watching Garrett Hack demonstrate his methods for making and using simple scratch stocks at Fine Woodworking Live, I decided to delve into the Fine Woodworking archive for a bit more information on the subject.
What follows is an excerpt from a 2003 article by craftsman Rob Millard. It’s a great technique for producing delicate beads on the finest of furntiure. The one missing component from Millard’s article concerns the type of file to use. For beads, which obviously require a rounded profile, chainsaw files are your best bet.
Use these handmade tools to shape small details on furniture
The scratch stock is a simple tool with an impressive ability to dress up furniture with distinctive decorative elements that are exactly the right shape and size. And while my shopmade tools aren’t as fancy as some commercially available beading tools, they work, which is all that I require of them.
The tool does have some limitations, though. Being slow, a scratch stock is not the right tool for a large run of molding. Also, it’s hard to start or stop a scratch stock in the middle of a board (leaving you with some handwork); nor does it work as well across the grain or on softwoods. A scratch stock is best suited for smaller shapes, but with a closely matched handle, you can create some fairly wide moldings. Another approach is to use several different cutters, in stages, to obtain a surprisingly complex molding.
A Basic Scratch Stock for Beads
Click photos to enlarge
The simplest scratch stock I make is an L-shaped piece of oak with a bandsaw kerf cut into it and two screws for clamping the cutter in place. I chamfer the guide edges of the handle to facilitate using it on concave curves with a tight radius. I make the cutters from old cabinet-scraper blades. You might also consider using old handsaw blades that have a nice flex to them.
How to Make a Beading Scratch Stock: Step-by-Step
Move the scratch stock against the workpiece. Make the cut in multiple passes, with light downward pressure as you go. On the final few passes, hold the balde as vertically as possible. Rip the bead from the stock.
Move the workpiece against the cutter. With the scratch stock clamped in a vise, make multiple passes. This method works well for delicate workpieces, such as cock beads that will be applied to curve surfaces.
A basic scratch stock for beading. An L-shaped body works well to make simple beads. The cutter is placed right into the corner, where the two wood edges stabilize the blade for a clean, consistent cut. The long edge is chamfered, so the cutter can be tilted to start the shaping.