Tool Test: Hock Tools Scratch Stock
A scratch stock is a simple tool – sort of a combination of a scraper and a moulding plane – for scratching in a profile (typically a bead or other simple shape). And while it’s fairly easy to make a scratch stock out of scrap wood and a piece of thin steel (such as an old sawplate), Hock Tools offers a solid and relatively inexpensive alternative made out of tough bamboo plywood, with edges that are eased for comfort.
The 3⁄4″ x 1-1⁄2″ x 4-3⁄4″ tool comes with two .05″-thick spring steel blades, one of which is a blank that can be cut, ground and filed for any profile; the other is a bead (shown in the photo) that was ready to use after I took just a few strokes with a needle file, then removed the burr with a slipstone. (Additional blade blanks are available in packs of four for $6.)
The tool can be used with the blade secured in one of two slots; in both, the stainless steel set screw locks it tightly in place. (I bore down hard in an attempt try to dislodge the blade, and while I was able to make it shift, I was applying far more pressure in that attempt than would ever reasonably be exerted in use.)
Insert the blade projecting from the side as shown (it can be inserted to cut on either side), and the stock serves as a fence to help you keep the blade in the cut as you pull it toward you, which – along with light cuts – produces better results. (You can also, of course, push it away from yourself when necessary.)
Insert the blade projecting from the end of the tool and you can work along curved edges.
The key is to produce light, fluffy shavings, working until the blade bottoms out in the cut. And, like any scratch stock, it performs best on hardwoods (for softwoods, a moulding plane is a better choice). PWM
From the April 2013 issue #203
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