Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 1
October 2006
The Venerable Bead

Beaded tableThere's one simple molding I always know I can reliably get away with the humble bead. Described as a narrow, half-round molding, it insinuates its way onto my projects with increasing regularity.

One of the most versatile methods of bead production is with the scratch stock. Such a simple tool, but it can do so much - beads are just one facet of its loveliness.

There are a number of ways to go about making one, from the traditional
L-shaped pieces of scrap screwed together, to a converted marking gauge, to a simple block of wood with a slot in it. You can buy cutters, but any piece of thin steel and a few files to form the shapes you want will do just dandy. Old saw blades, scrapers, hacksaw blades and, my personal favorite, old steel rules all make great cutters. You don't need to do any fancy hardening of them if you don't want to; if you can use a file, you can make a cutter. Here's a quick guide to making a five-minute scratch stock.

L-shaped scrapTake a piece of scrap from your offcuts. If you don't have any that you think will be thick enough to take a saw kerf, use two thinner bits and add more bolts to hold them together. Mark it up and cut it into an L-shape using a saw. It doesn't have to be exactly dead on, but do as good a job as possible. If it's a disaster, you can always trim it with a chisel or just try another piece of scrap and start again.
 
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