Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Scratching a Simple Molding 101

A scratchstock is one of the restorer's best friend when a portion of molding is missing. A scratchstock is simply a piece of shaped metal clamped between two pieces of wood which is then drawn along a wooden surface to cut (or scratch) the profile. Unbelievably simple and unbelievably effective.
The following is a walk-through on one of the simplest molding replacements a person is likely to run into. Enjoy...

Here's the missing section.

And it's neighbor from which I will match the new one.

Since this other one was loose, I took it off for easier working.

Pressing Sculpy onto molding.

Carefully pulled it off so as not to squish the shape. Then heated it with a hair dryer until it was moderately hard.

Cutting an approximately 1.5" x 1.5" piece of scrap steel for a cutter. (from an old handsaw.)

Held in vise grips, the cutter piece is ground flat on both sides using my Work Sharp grinder.

Then honed with waterstones.

When the cutter was finished on stones, I sliced the hardened Sculpy in half exposing a perfect profile of the molding.

Traced out the profile onto the edge of the cutter, placed it in vise grips, which in turn is locked into my front vise.

Worked with small metal files until I reached the desired shape. Test fit on original piece.

Once cutter was fine tuned, placed it in hardwood stock like shown. Screwed it down tight when the profile was exactly to the edge.

Tested on scrap first, then prepared mahogany blank for shaping.

Began scratching shape slowly, tilting it forward with each pass.

After it was glued into place, added color, patination, and top coating to match surrounding area. What do you think? Close enough?

Ahh. What satisfaction.


  1. Wow! Awesome! Can't tell the difference.

  2. Thanks, Marilyn. I appreciate the feedback. Welcome to The Diary. It's a pleasure to have you. Hope you enjoy the entries.

  3. Thanks! I really like the play by play. It's fascinating to see how you did this.

    PS. I found your site via Kari Hultman.

  4. neat trick, Josh ! Website and blog are very interesting - I will keep poking around. It looks like theres a lot of good stuff here

  5. Thanks, Colin! Read on and enjoy.

  6. This is an EXCELLENT tutorial! Thank you!

  7. Fredrico,

    Thanks for the compliments. I am glad it was helpful to you. Thanks for stopping by.