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Making a Scratch Stock by James D. Thompson


After participating in a recent thread about scratch stocks on the old tools list, I decided to make one. In the process, I learned a couple of things I want to pass on.

First take a look at the finished stock. It is from a piece of Brazilian rosewood I have been saving for a long time, mostly sapwood. It is about 1” thick by 4” long by
1 ¾” wide. The size doesn’t matter.  It needs a wing screw to hold the blade in place. I used a ¼-20 screw.

It is sitting on my first piece of work using the stock.  You can see the beads on either side of the board.

Next is a picture of the blade I made.  I used this picture so you can see the pattern I ground into the blade.  The pattern means nothing, I just needed to grind something so I could make this tutorial.

Next is a picture of the entire blade with the pattern cut on both ends. The pattern or patterns you choose are a matter of personal choice.

I made the blade from a piece of steel I cut from an old 2 man crosscut saw.  I have been cutting stock off of this old tool for years now.  I use a die grinder with a metal cutoff wheel to cut the saw steel.

This piece is 1 ½”wide by 6” long by .060” thick. The thickness of the stock helps to prevent chattering. I can cut this long piece into 2 pieces when I want more patterns.  I could have bought some 1/16” 0-1 steel for this and avoided the grinding, but the 0-1 would have been soft, while this saw stock is moderately hard.

As you can see, the steel is pitted, and that pitting would interfere with making a good sharp cutting edge.  I used a disc sander in various grits down to 400 to get below those pits along the edges, far enough back so it will not impinge on the cutting edges.  After I had it ground, I used my hard felt wheel to polish it.  Then when I ground the profile it was really sharp.

Next is a picture of the end showing the tapped hole, and a piece of 3/16” brass round stock.  I have never understood why, but the loose piece of brass in the hole makes for a tighter grip when you tighten the screw.  This is probably because the brass is flat on the end and makes good contact with the blade.  I am not sure. I use this little trick on a lot of set screws.

Finally, here is a picture of the side of the tool. I simply sawed a groove wide enough for the blade to slide into. 

This is a really simple project, and the only things new here are making the blade from an old saw, and adding the short piece of brass round in the hole.  I have been wanting to have a tool to make beads along the edges, and now I have one, thanks to the guys on the old tools list.  I am sure I will find more uses for this little tool.

It sure works great!

Jim D. Thompson
January, 2008

Tips from Old Millrat - James D. Thompson

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