Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The photo above shows a continuous arm bow with a bead detail. I use a simple scraper blade that I grind to the desired shape and hold in an L shaped block of wood that rides against the side of the bow. The block and blade are pictured below.
The unshaped blades can be purchased separately from any of the companies that sell the more expensive beading tools (the bronze tool shown is a Lie-Nielson beader). These tools are best suited to cabinet type work. I find them a bit bulky for the curves of a chair. I made the rough looking wooden holder about 5 years ago, thinking that if it worked well, I'd make a pretty one. It works so well that I've never bothered.
Scraping blades need to be everybit as sharp as any plane blade or chisel to function properly. The only difference is that I sharpen my beading scrapers so that the edge is 90 degrees to the polished sides. After shaping and polishing all of the surfaces, I turn a small burr to do the cutting.
The scraper in use will take shavings just like a plane, however, it compresses the surface fibers a bit, so I wet the finished piece, let it dry and then knock down the raised grain with 220 grit sandpaper. Sharp scrapers and a light touch can reduce the need for sanding a great deal. After the initial groove is established, using the wooden holder, I remove the blade and use is freehand. I find that this gives me much greater control over the depth of cut and pressure exerted.