Low Tech Moulding

To soften the top edges of the stretcher a bead Is run along its length. This could be done with a router but I prefer, where possible, to go low tech and use a steel slotted woodscrew which has been inserted into a piece of beech.

The screw's head then becomes a cutting edge, so has its face sharpened on an oil stone.The width of the bead produced by this tool is governed by how far the screw projects from the piece of wood which acts as the fence, but this isn't infinitely variable as the screw head must be angled so that the slot does the actual cutting.

To obtain a crisp edge to the bead set It in with a cutting gauge before starting work with the screw,cutter, and if necessary finish shaping with a shoulder plane.

Another low tech approach to mouldings is the scratchstock, which has been around since medieval times.This is another easy way to make simple mouldings of a greater variety, limited only by the shapes you can invent, file and grind.

In some instances the scratchstock can be as quick as a router, particularly for a small run of a one-off moulding on a curve - by the time you've made a jig for the router, a scratchstock can be made out of an old piece of bandsaw or hacksaw blade and a piece of scrap wood. It is certainly cheaper than buying special router cutters.

If you want to make an especially smart scratchstock refer to Bob Wearing's book, Hand Tools for Woodworkers, ISBN 0 7134 7223 5, published by Batsford at £15.99.

ABOVE: Low tech moulding device - an offcut and a woodscrew below: Cutting a bead with the screw's slot

LEFT: A de-luxe scratchstock with adjustable fence and curved face

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