My hand made tools / shop accessories #1: Making a scratch stock / beading scraper (part 1)

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by JasonD posted 03-11-2011 03:04 AM 6798 reads 3 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of My hand made tools / shop accessories series no next part

My next major project (and first furniture project) is a coffee table for a friend’s surprise wedding present. The coffee table design is my own and includes beads on a few different parts…..buuutttttttt I don’t have a scratch stock or beading tool…YET…

Materials used:
scrap hard maple
1/4”-20 thumb screw (1-1/2” long)
an old cross cut saw blade

I’ve never threaded wood before, so I wanted to take a “test run” on a piece of scrap first. So, I grabbed a cut off of hard maple and got to work. The steps to make the test piece were:

- drill a 7/32” hole about 1” deep.
- cut a kerf about 1/2” deep in line with the hole (using a cross cut panel saw)
- carefully thread the thumb screw until I could see it passing through the kerf from the side

I had to repeat these steps 3 times, because I kept underestimating the strength of the screw + new threads (over overestimating the strength of the maple). I cranked it down pretty darn hard on the first two tests and split the wood. To be fair, I was using a little piece of scrap. So, there wasn’t a whole lot of “beef” to add strength to the piece.

After I learned my lesson, I moved on to making the cutter. I used a pair of tin snips to cut off a piece of an old hand saw blade about 3/4” wide x 1-3/8” long.

I used a diamond stone to flatten both sides and joint one edge. After it was flattened (at least along the cutting edge), I used a small ceramic stone to polish it up a bit afterwards. By the way, I love having my old bench to sharpen on. Before I built my new bench, I used to sharpen on the concrete floor of my shop to save my old bench top from metal shavings and slurry. :)

I installed the basic flat cutter into the test piece and used it to scrape a small rabbet in some scrap yellow pine to test out how tight the thumb screw needed to be. I really wanted to test it before I got into shaping the cutter since it seems like there’s a fine line between not tight enough and too tight with this tool.

Next, I freehand drew the shape of the bead I had in mind (about 1/8” wide / deep roughly) with a Sharpie marker. Then, I used a round file to shape the cutter. After the bead shape was cut out, I used a flat file to take the small burr off the sides that the round file created.

I installed the newly-shaped cutter into the test stock, grabbed a few pieces of scrap yellow pine, and started cutting beads. It took a few tries before I got the hang of it. I’ve never used a scratch stock or beading tool before. One thing I had to learn was to start the bead with light pressure and a low angle. This made it much easier to get the bead straight at the start; which made finishing it cleanly much easier. I feel like a dummy for not thinking to go with light pressure and a low angle at first; since that’s the same technique needed to get a clean cut started with a hand saw.

Here are some pictures of my first three attempts at cutting beads. The first two are on opposite sides of the same piece of scrap yellow pine.

The third bead was cut on the side of a larger piece of scrap pine.

Now that I’m satisfied with the basic function of the test piece, I’m going to make the “real” one. I’ve got some larger pieces of scrap hard maple that I hand planed and glued up earlier today. I just need to mill it 6-square, drill the hole, cut the kerf, and thread the thumb screw in. As for the cutter, I’m going to polish it up better using my water stones and clean up the bead’s shape a little with my round file.

6 comments so far

View Dandog's profile


250 posts in 2768 days

#1 posted 03-11-2011 04:40 AM

hey that’s great. If you turn the blades sideways and shortened it you have an inlay tool or change the profile. Cut in half circles out of their. You have another style of beading tool.where to go Jason.

-- life an woodworking is one big experiment

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3283 days

#2 posted 03-11-2011 04:46 AM

very neat idea.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3109 days

#3 posted 03-11-2011 10:29 AM

you have to change the side where the screw is placed
making treads in end grain will never hold

loking forward to follow this blogserie :-)

take care

View JasonD's profile


180 posts in 2856 days

#4 posted 03-11-2011 06:39 PM

Dennis, I appreciate the advice, but I was basing my final design on the ones shown in the links below. Both of them appear to be threaded through the end grain. I’m not trying to argue; just explaining where I got the idea from. This is the first time I’ve ever threaded wood at all. So, I am only going off of the instructions I’ve found elsewhere on the internet.

Scatch stock tutorial

Another scratch stock tutorial

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2687 days

#5 posted 03-11-2011 07:19 PM

Hopefully you’ll get a kick out of this, Jason: when looking through your pictures, I thought, “Ah, this poor chap’s struggling with a small vise on a plywood table”. I then went over to your projects section & saw your massive Roubo executed with handtools. Boy did I have you pegged wrong! That bench is phenomenal & i’ve been wanting to make a beading tool for a while now. Thanks!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3109 days

#6 posted 03-12-2011 12:31 AM

I know you meen it well and not trying to argue :-)
I just happen to have a bench with big wood screws in the vice´s :-)
and have seen the explanaiton on it somewhere on the net too :-)
have you seen some of Roy Underhills vidio´s one of them is about
making wood screws etc.
and click on episode online
on the right side of the page you can find the episodes

take care and good luck

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics