Friday, July 31, 2009

2 Housings for Scratch Stock

There are benefits to making both small and large housings for your scratch stock, including making multiples of each.

The small body is merely a block of wood with a kerf, threaded insert and thumbscrew, and it takes about half an hour to make. The small size fits comfortably in your hand and can be used with just one hand. You are, however, limited in the size of the profile you can make since the scratch stock is only supported on one end.

Conversely, the large body can hold a longer piece (larger profile) of scratch stock, because the "arm" supports it along its entire length. Two drawbacks: you need to use two hands with this housing, and the fence (the part that rides along the edge of your workpiece) is not as wide as the one on the small body. The larger body also takes a little more time to make, but is still very easy.

With both housings, you can alter the shape of the fence to match a set curve. You can also bevel the fence on the large body so you can follow any curvy edge.

Making sure the threaded insert is seated squarely in the small body is the trickiest part, but there are methods to ensure it's done accurately (search online for "installing threaded inserts"). I just used a T-wrench and went very slowly.

Now back to making multiples of each. Once your scratch stock is positioned perfectly in a housing, you don't want to remove it until your project is finished. But in the meantime, you might need to add a different profile with a different piece of scratch stock to another project. Rather than remove the original scratch stock and risk not being able to reposition it, just make another housing.

It's the same idea as using multiple routers while working on different jobs at the same time. And how many routers do we hybrid woodworkers have? Mine amount to all the digits on one of my hands. (Hint: I still have all my fingers. Knock on wood.)

If anyone finds an error in the illustrations, please let me know so I can correct it and repost. You can experiment with the position of the screws on the larger body— another arrangement might work better for you.


Dave said...

I love reading about this meathod of working but sadly I never have the ability to pull it off.

I always get ticked or in a hurry and mount up a small router. Maybe one day?!?

Chod Lang said...

Your passion for what you do is evident in every post. Your work reminds me of an old saying: "a laborer works with her hands, an artisan works with her hands and her head, an artist works with her hands, her head, and her heart". You are an artist.

Bob Tinsley said...

Those are some seriously good-looking housings, Kari. Nice work!


Jonathan Hartford said...

How are you cutting down the card scraper stock to size?

I tried cutting one down and wore out a hacksaw blade!

Kari Hultman said...

Dave, you can do this! You just took a class with Steve Latta, remember? ; )

Chod, thank you for the kind words. :o)

Bob, thanks!

Jonathan, I use a hacksaw to cut up old bandsaw blades and it is very hard to do. My arm gets tired! Recently, a friend offered to cut a bunch of blanks for me with his jigsaw using metal cutting blades. He broke two blades to cut 8 blanks for me. If you find a better/easier/less painful way to cut them, please let me know.

Bob Tinsley said...

Score a deep line in the steel with a triangular file. Put the blade in a vise with the scored line just above the top of the jaws. Grab a pair of pliers, vise-locks are good, put on a heavy glove and eye protection, grab the blade above the score, clear all nonessential personnel from the area, and break the blade. BE VERY CAREFUL!! As a little added safety I bend a piece of cardboard around three sides just leaving an opening for my hand.

It works for me. Standard disclaimers apply.


Kari Hultman said...

Thanks, Bob, I'll give that a try.

Corey said...

Bob has the right idea, that's the way I was taught by Garrett Hack. The only thing I would do different is wrap the stock with a rag and then strike it with a hammer. The rag helps contain any shrapnel. The hammer just makes the job a bit easier.

msiemsen said...

Nothing to do with your recent post but have you been practicing for the Olympics?

Kari Hultman said...

Corey, thanks for the tip. I'm anxious to try this technique. I know it will be easier on my arm!

Mike, good heavens, no! I'll be behind the camera, not in front of it. I'd rather keep my dignity. ; ) Now, if they have a World's Slowest Handcut Dovetails competition, I'm in!

msiemsen said...

There may be a prize for that! Keep in mind that just competing makes you eligible for some swell prizes, DVDs, Books, Tools. Just think how cool it would be to win one of those Blue Spruce mallets just for trying! Or a Bad Axe Tenon saw? I will work on you while you are there until you capitulate!

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