How to Use a Scratch Stock

Hi all;

So if you read my post on “how to make a” It occurred to me just after writing it that there may be someone at some time who thinks “yeah, OK, but what’s it good for?” or “How do I use it?”

well, “What’s it good for” is making moldings without using a screaming router and without spending an arm and a leg on a hundred different molding planes. Also: with a scratch stock you can make a molding that starts and stops.. something you cannot do with a molding plane and has limited molding styles for a router.

Cautionary note.. it does not work as fast as a router or a molding plane. but it does work!

here’s a sketch to name the parts of one so that If I say “body” you will not be wondering what that means… etc

scatch stocks 10

And here are a couple of mine to show a few profiles that I use…



So the guide face runs on the edge of your work. You hold the body and the bar in your hands/fingers. The bar never needs to touch the work. The blade should be sticking out a little more than the depth you want to go to. You stop when you think you are deep enough.

the tool is worked forwards and back with two hands, I can’t take a picture without using one hand ūüėČ


So: a nice bead anywhere you want it, start and stop anywhere you want it. Use as is or carve into peas, or any of the bead based carvings. And the shape of the scratch blade can be anything!

be well, have fun.


How to make a Scratch Stock

Hi All;

The subject came up of how to make a scratch stock, so I decided that would make a good post!

Scratch stocks have been used for a very long time. Indeed scratching and scraping to make things from wood has been a technique forever.

You can search the interwebs and find all sorts of fancy ones. sometimes I think people invent fancy ones just to put something in a magazine that doesn’t look like junk you should toss in the fire.

here are some of mine:


They pretty much all look like something that should be tossed. BUT they all work just as well as any that anyone else has ever made… and they are simple and easy and fast to make. Having a bandsaw and a drill press will make this faster but are NOT necessary to make a good one.

I make 2 types: one made from one piece of wood. and one made from 2 pieces of wood.

the one piece type: take any scrap, 3/4″ or thicker. ¬†1 1/2″ wide more or less, 4″ or 6″ long or somewhere in there. (I hope you are getting the idea that none of the measurements are important)

Layout something like this….

scatch stocks 1

Stand it up on edge and saw the line up the edge first. you can use a handsaw or a band saw. doesn’t matter to me.

Then saw the other two lines and end up with something that looks like this:

scatch stocks 4

take a bit of old scrap steel from any sawblade (handsaw, ¬†hacksaw, bandsaw, I use a broken 1″ bandsaw blade for stock because when you have such a blade you have a lot of stock for these and other scrapers),and cut out and file a blade to the molding profile you want to make. Make sure that the profile is made/filed clean and square with very sharp corners, any rounding of the edge and it will not cut.

Insert it into the slot that is the first saw kerf. position it @ where you want it. you will be using the face of the step as a guide fence.

scatch stocks 7

and insert a screw or two if necessary. (at least one is usually necessary).

You are ready to go!

The other way I make them is a bit more complex, and it helps to have a drill press but that is not vital…

Take 2 pieces of any stuff (I usually use 1/2″ stuff for this) and clamp them together, face to face. Drill 3 holes to pound 1/4″ dowels into.

scatch stocks 2

Pound the dowels in, you want a tight fit. no glue! use a hand plane to dress up the outer edges if they are not lined up.

Saw out a step like you see in the sketch, just like the other ones. Do not take the 2 pieces apart to saw out the step, just saw right through both at once.

Add the cutter (you’ll need to use a chisel to pry the two parts open a little), add screws just like before.

scatch stocks 8

And again! You are good to go!

scatch stocks 10

have fun, be well

count your fingers!


Triangle Stool part 1.5a

well! I put this out in the wrong order, sorry…

And I’m moving right along! made a long “V” block to drill the holes. made holes 7/32″, made the swivel thing out of 3/16″ rod. one part bent 120 degrees, the other with a 1/4″ dia eye. it’s getting more and more like a stool.


You can see that¬†I guessed where I wanted the holes… I guessed wrong. but I don’t think I’ll have lost enough strength to be concerned about.

more and more like a stool…IMG_0271

held together with rubber bands here.

Hmmmm when I look at the photo’s I like that seat stitching better.


be well and count your fingers.


Triangle Chair part 2

A few posts ago I wrote about making a fold up seat… here’s the rest of the story….

I used 3/16″ bar stock to make the spider… the angle of the bent piece is @ 120 degrees and the other piece is bent into an eye with a 1/4″ diameter inside. The holes are drilled 7/32″.

triangle chair spider

I drilled the holes in the wrong place… well, the place I thought would work well but it didn’t….


so they stuck out too far, so I just re-drilled them in a better place…


cut the spider down to a good amount of wiggle and use a washer and a cap nut to secure each end in place. Then tacked the lower flaps in place.

All done! I made it for, and took it with me to, Greenwood Fest. Boy was I ever glad I did, even being able to sit whenever I wanted my feet were still beat at the end of the day. It held up very well (for only 2 days of use). We’ll see how well it lasts.

count your fingers


Greenwood Fest 2016

Hi all!

For those of you who didn’t know; Up in Plymouth Massachusetts there is a group of handcrafters that call themselves Plymouth Crafts ( They consist (mostly but not wholly) of People who used to work for Plymouth Plantation.

This Year they set up a sort of woodworking conference. It was AWESOME!!!!

Nearly a dozen instructors, all working with green wood and hand tools. Not a Power tool to be seen! @150 participants (myself included), all invaded Pinewoods Dance Camp outside of Plymouth Mass..

Lots of spoon whittlers, some bowl carvers, some bowl turners, and a few furniture makers.

I mostly wanted to meet Mr. Peter Follansbee, I’ve been following his work for several years now. but I also wanted to see if I could try out a springpole lathe (I did).

STORY TIME: I went up to Plymouth on Thursday. The Google said that it should take me @ 6 hours….. 11 1/4 hours later I finally get there… somewhen on the “cross Bronx expressway” my muffler blew and the engine started knocking.. I pulled off in ¬†New Rochelle to check it, added radiator fluid and oil. And continued on my very noisy way.

I met up with my good friend Kate Field that evening to split a room so we would be rested. we had a great dinner at Mama Mia’s on the Plymouth waterfront.

The next morning we traveled the last 16 miles to the site and were promptly kicked out!! They weren’t allowed to let anyone on site before 11:00am but things were supposed to start at 12:30…. so we pulled out and parked in the lot of a nearby church.. we gathered quite a crew there. and several of us got out chairs and tools and sticks and started sharpening and whittling and talking and introducing and etc etc (and we had a great time sitting there on the group W bench)

And the mass of us pulled in right at 11:00

So: pictures or it didn’t happen!

Our cabin:


springpole lathe on stage at “Newbiggen”


Miss JoJo¬†Wood (from England) looking a mite bit lost…


they had these large purple lady slippers in clumps all about the woods…


a cute little red squirrel scolded me


some shots of the participants waiting for lunch…

and for desert at lunch!!!! OMG Schnickerdoodles!!!! My Favorite!!!


the next morning saw a little fog over the pond…IMG_0325

and a chipmunk…


and in most of the toilets something like:


Obviously a mad marble race maker got loose in camp one summer… they all contain some kind of chime for the marbles to bump against and ring..

breakfast and morning announcements…

The food was fabulous! fresh baked bread every meal (except breakfast).

Friday was “wander around and meet the instructors” day. I got to try out Jared Stone-Dahl’s lathe. (sorry I forgot to take a picture)

So I hung out at Peter Follansbee’s morning demo And attended his hands on activity in the afternoon.

That was my main reason for attending after all.

Saturday night they had a Hoedown… and I went to bed “early”.

On Sunday I spent time with Tim Manney showing ladderback chair making and with Derrick Sanderson making bowls on the springpole lathe.

By the time I left my head was full and my hands were itching… closing ceremonies at lunch on Sunday (it was actually the middle of the day).¬†Paula Marcoux and Peter Follansbe there joking around.


I should mention that the majority of the attendees were avid spoon carvers, as are Jogge Sundqvist, Peter Follansbee, and JoJo Wood ( I wish I had time to also see her carve spoons and make a clog), they all seemed to have a blast too. And there were instructors for hewing beams! Pret Woodburn and Rick McKee! There was simply too much to do!

So (to sum up): Lots to do, Great food, Good people, Gorgeous camp…

Well I have gotta go do something now.. there’s just too much in my head, gotta empty it ūüėČ

count your fingers



things I am doing…

Hi again; I’m finally getting busy! a couple of weeks ago I came across an ash tree (white) that was being taken down in the neighborhood.20160513_123242112_iOS

they let me have some:


And yesterday and today I spent some time making some leg blanks:


and a pile of shavings: do not look at the cobbled up repairs to the shaving horse…


And soon after I got the ash I came across an extensive cutting of “tree of heaven” (aka Ailanthus) in the abandoned cemetery where I now have some bees. I contacted the group who is trying to take over and maintain the cemetery asking if I could have some. they said “Yes. Please take as much as you want!!” ¬†so I went and got some. I will get some more in a while.. a day or three. ¬†my bees:


and where the downed trees are:


you can’t really see there are logs of it all over here, the weeds have grown up just enough to hide them. there is so much you can’t walk 4′ without tripping on one. I split the first one I came to.. talk about straight and flat and splitting well……

I gathered up a few and came home, tarred the ends.stacked them up,

one of the biggest I got at that time is going to be the bed of a spring pole lathe.

Hmm the lines don’t show up. I’ll update that when it is done:

I also, finally, got around to making stake legs for my outdoor workbench (from the Ailanthus)


which had been on sawhorses for two years. the legs are at @ 20 degrees with tapered square sockets for easy disassemble and travel.

So with the good weather I’m finally getting my s#!t together!


see you around

count your fingers


go devils


These small scrapers have other names, but I know them by the name of G0 Devils, because you can go like the devil with them.

2 spokeshaves and 3 go-devils

You can buy some really nice ones (rosewood and brass) from Veritas Tools, but I obviously made my own and that is what I am going to talk about today. I made these before anyone was making them commercially, did a little research, they are no harder than the spokeshaves to make. And you don’t need to buy any purpose made blades.

first the flat one…

You’ll need a piece of wood, something nice and hard, about 11 x 1 x 5/8 inches. I used Osage Orange. the Handle shape is not critical. You could leave the whole thing rectangular if you wanted to. I just happen to like this shape.

Since it is a hooked scraper type of action on the cutting blade we can make the blades perpendicular to the bottoms. We’ll tackle the flat bottomed one first:


Here it is disassembled.I made a recess to fit the throat plate. And a further recess to very closely fit the blade… but just a Hair shallower than the thickness of the blade so that the throat plate will clamp it down well. I drill and tap holes for the machine screws in the body. Then squirt some CA glue in there and re-tap when the CA sets up.

The tricky part is the throat plate. at the mouth, it needs to be @ 1/32″ open. nice and close, if it’s too wide the shavings will fold over and jamb up. If it’s too tight same thing. just right and they flow up and out the throat. you can also see there that the throat is wider at the top. It doesn’t want more than a 10 degree slope. just a bit to prevent friction from again causing a jamb.

Keeping the same throat geometry on the rounders is a bit trickier.


If you look at the Photo you will see what i mean, you still need to keep the throat @ 1/32″ all the way around or else it will jam up. But because of the curve, the throat ends up looking a bit odd. and because the curved cut wrinkles the angle needs to be a bit steeper

Once the body and front plate are done you can cut a piece of sawblade to fit. (if you didn’t start by doing that) and blue or magic marker it , clamp it in place and scribe the curve onto it. I use a Dremel tool to cut out the curve, file and burnish the edge. and you are good to go!

be well. count your fingers!