Monday, November 30, 2015

The scratch stock

After much hard thought about how I would decorate the rails and styles of the medicine cabinet's door, I got around to the scratch stock. As many times before it was mr. Follansbee who inspired me. He had a bunch of examples on his blog and I took one to reproduce.

A simple scratch stock is very easy to make. Just a length of wood with a fence build in on one side. A slit through the centre and some screws to clamp the blade tight in the slit.

The scratch blade is just a small part from an old saw, polished on both sides and the profile filed into the edge. I have hardened the blade (heat it to orange red and plunge it in water) but not tempered, so it remains very hard.

After some practice runs I made the profile on the rails of the door.

I ran a plow plane to make the groove in the middle and the scratch profile is scratched in on both sides.

Well, it did work, but it wasn't quite as easy as I thought it would be!
- Scratching is slow work! In fact, I never reached the top of the large round bulge and sneaked in a bit of sandpaper to finish the work.
- Scratch stocks love to chatter, light cuts are important, and even then... More sandpaper.
- The ends are very hard to do. I read in Follansbee's book that he does the scratch mouldings first and cuts the tenons later. My less then perfect ends would not have been a problem because they would have been cut off. Luckilly I still had some sandpaper around.

So, all in all, I should have choosen a much simpler profile for my first attempt.

But I did end up with two nicely deorated rails.

The styles will get another kind of treatment.


  1. Nice work!
    Did you held the scratch stock under a slight corner? Or 90 degrees on the wood?

  2. I tried everything Raymond! Straight up to almost lying down, pulling and pushing. It depends a bit on the grain angle what works best. I suppose there is a learning curve too. Best to start with simpler profiles. I do understand now why the moulding planes were invented.