The scratch or router is an exceedingly useful tool for working the small beads and hollows now so much seen on furniture, and is also available for forming small mouldings, chamfering, and a variety of purposes. Although there are many improved forms, or what are said to be such, of beading routers, the rough, homemade thing may be as serviceable as any, and has advantages which they do not all possess. For one thing, it is cheaper than any, for its cost is merely nominal, while the difficulty of making is very slight, so that it would be inconsiderate to those who wish to fit themselves out economically not to refer to it even if others prefer the more ornamental tool supplied by dealers.
The complete tool is represented in Fig. 58, and consists of two pieces of wood, shaped as seen, fastened together and holding between them a small steel cutter, or rather scraper, with its bottom edge filed to the desired form of bead or hollow. The trouble of making lies almost entirely in these cutters, for on them depend the shape and appearance of the beads, etc, formed by them.
The stock is formed of two pieces of any kind of wood, though hard is better than soft. They may be of 1/2 in. stuff, and say about 9 ins. long. The wide or handle end is cut out square with the narrower position, and works against the edge of the wood like the block of a gauge, to the action of which the scratch is very similar. The lower edge of the two pieces is best when rounded off slightly on the part which works on the wood being beaded. The narrow portion may be about 3/4 in. wide, and the other anything in reason. Screw-holes are bored through at intervals to receive a couple or more screws, between which the cutter is held at any place required. By screwing up tightly the cutter is firmly fixed, and can be removed for the substitution of another by doing the reverse. The cutters themselves require more attention. Any number or variety may be made as wanted, but as the action is a scraping one on the wood they should be kept of moderate dimensions, as to use them over \ in. or § in. wide would entail a considerable amount of labour. Although each cutter should be narrow, bands of beadings can be made of any reasonable width without much difficulty by altering the position of the blade. Thus with a cutter shaped as in Fig. 59, a single bead or reed like that shown on Fig. 60 would be produced, and by altering the position of the iron several beads may be worked close together, as in Fig. 61, while by substituting another in place of the bead a hollow may be worked, as in Fig. 62. The shape of the cutter to form this hollow is of course round, as in Fig. 63. A large hollow may be worked with a cutter shaped as in Fig. 64. Only half of the hollow is formed with it at once, but to make the other it is only necessary to reverse the iron. If there is any irregularity afterwards visible in the centre of the hollow through the cuts not exactly matching, a rubbing with glass paper, held in this instance over the edge of a piece of wood rounded to match the hollow, will remove it. Scratched beads generally want cleaning up with glass paper, and care must be taken not to rub them away too much. It should always in such cases be used over the edges of wood, either cut quite thin or to correspond with the beads, etc. By having several irons, and altering their combinations, an almost endless variety of beadings and members can be worked. For chamfered edges a plain edge cut on the skew is all that is necessary, it being placed close in the corner of the stock as in Fig. 65, or as in Fig. 66.
Fig. 58 - Scratch or Router.
Fig. 59 - Cutter for. Bead.
Fig. 60. - Bead.
Fig. 61 - Rows of Beads.
Fig. 62 - Beads with Hollow between.
Figs. 63 & 64 - Cutters for Hollows or Flutes.
Figs. 65 and 66 - Scratch for Chamfering.
To work mouldings - only small ones, or rather small members of mouldings, for a large moulding may be entirely composed of small members - the cutting irons may project to any required depth instead of being close up, as when scratching plain surfaces. Speaking generally, the cutters may be fixed in the position deemed most convenient to accomplish the work intended.
As material from which to form the cutters, nothing is more suitable than pieces of broken band-saw, but in case the reader may not know anything about these, let it be said that metal about the thickness of a scraper is suitable. It must not be so thin and weak as to bend, but nothing is gained by having it inordinately thick.
To shape the ends of the cutters, a few fine files will be needed. The cutters are filed straight across, and not sharpened like an ordinary cutting blade. At the same time the edges must not be round, for to make them so would render them almost useless. To lessen the labour of filing, the steel should be held in a vice. It may convey a useful hint to say that the needed shape can be filed out with more confidence by fastening the steel between two pieces of thin wood, the ends of which have been shaped to that wanted on the cutter. Some are in the habit of sharpening the cutter much as if it were a scraper, while others smooth away any roughness with oil-stone slips. Either of these courses is troublesome, so that many content themselves with just using the file. Those who are accustomed to work in steel will no doubt think fit to prepare the blades before filing, and then harden and temper them afterwards. Such treatment, however, is not necessary, so that no directions about it are called for here.
Many other little odds and ends in the shape of wooden appliances are occasionally seen, but the principal, and those which are almost invariably found in use for general purposes, have been named. The others are more or less fancy tools, or are only used for special purposes. Any such, like the veneering hammer, will be found described elsewhere in connexion with the work to which they belong or which may be facilitated by using them.