|Above bench, looking down: right front leg proud of top by 2-3 mm|
|High spots at back left, front right and center along slotted strip show up lighter after a couple passes|
I'm fortunate to have a Lie-Nielsen #8 jointer. This beast is 24" long and works fantastically well. I took a few strokes diagonally across the bench and I can see it was removing certain high spots. I also used the plane on its edge to show where high spots were and removed them with a #4.
|Looking for high spots|
After taking the surface down to bare wood and tweaking with winding sticks and a little more planing, I was happy. I've got a brand new surface, reasonably flat. I can probably do this many more times (if needed) before I risk having the top edge of the metal vises coming too close to the benchtop.
I've been wanting to make a scratch stock for years. I've used the Sellers "poor man's beading tool" and that worked OK, but I'd like a tool with a bit more versatility. Bob Easton had a "Google Books" link (somewhere in his blog site) to an October 1999 "American Woodworker" article by Tom Caspar about making and using a scratch stock. My tool is based on that article.
Started with a piece of 1" thick x 5 3/4" long x 2 1/2" wide maple salvaged from a junked table undercarriage. Squared it up and marked out the scratch stock.
|Marked and ready|
|Cut carefully to the lines so very little clean-up was needed|
|Drilled 3/16" holes (and later countersunk) for some 10-24 machine screws|
|Made the holes 3/8" on the other side and chiseled out the shape for the nuts|
|Screws and nuts fitted|
Then I cut the block in half, cleaned up the sawn surfaces with a #4 and did a little shaping to ease the corners and edges for comfort. The underside of the arm gets curved a bit so that the tool can be angled slightly in use.
|Underside of arm (facing up) curved with rasp and file|
For the cutter, I used an old (really crappy) no-name saw that I got from a garage sale a couple years ago.
|Cut off a piece of the saw blade|
|Filed off the teeth and got a flat edge|
|Rubbed it out on sandpaper to clean up the sides|
|Used a saw file to start a V groove, then a round 7/32" chainsaw file to cut a half-round profile|
|Cutter all done|
The cutter was a little wider than I needed and the bolt upper right in the above picture interfered with its placement. So I filed a little cut-out so that it would straddle the bolt and sit at the right location. And here's the first test drive.
|Test cut in pine scrap|
It worked fine, but got hung up a little on the soft and hard growth rings. I'll have to try a harder wood soon. But with a tiny bit of sanding, the bead was looking great! I also tried a stopped cut to do a corner. This time I used a wheel-type marking gauge to scribe a line before using the scratch stock. Probably didn't need that with the grain, but definitely needed it cross grain. This came out OK, but not perfect near the corner.
|A little ragged near the corner|
I noticed that you have to clean the tool often, and I did this with a knife point. Tiny dust-like shavings get stuck in the corner as can be seen in this pic.
|Mound of dust in the corner just above cutter|
And another one from the To-Do list bites the dust. Hoorah!