Jig Journal: Sliding-head Scratch Stock


Two fences allow you to position the cutter and keep the bead’s quirk in line.
By Geoffrey Ames
Pages: 82-83

From the February 2008 issue #167
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If you have ever attempted to scratch a profile onto a chair leg or other curved piece, you probably noted that a scratch tool with a single fence is difficult to keep in line, and you run the risk of ruining the profile with one slip. To avoid possible mishaps, the double fence on this version makes the process a no-brainer.

The scratch stock shown here has a round section as the tool holder. The flat cutter is slipped into a slot in the tool holder, and secured by a screw in each of the movable heads. The round shape allows you to scrape a profile from either direction so you can counter changes in grain direction. The tool is simple to make, simple to use and can be adapted to myriad shapes that you can make using an old hacksaw or band-saw blade.

I use scratch stocks or beaders to make the combination corner beaded/ogee profile of Chippendale-style chairs and sofas. It is difficult to find router bits with an appropriately sized (tiny) quirk to form these shapes. You can obtain beading cutters with fine quirks from either Lie-Nielsen or Lee Valley Tools, or you can easily make your own.

Scratch tools, scratch stocks or beaders are usually used in combination with work from the shaper, router or table saw, where the work is first shaped to a rough profile then scraped to the final profile. If, for example, you are making a block-front chest, you will need to form the drawer dividers following a template, then bead the dividers on both edges. You’ll need a tool that will allow you to get into the low spots, and a small hand tool is a rewarding way to form the beads.


From the February 2008 issue #167
Buy this issue now