Scratching out the details
After I fit the thwart risers, I decided to dress them up a bit, before pre-finishing the back sides.
I have almost always used routers and shapers to create moldings in the past, but as I am trying to go traditional on this build, I thought a "scratch-stock" would be a more appropriate way to give the risers a bit of handmade detail.
The scratch stock I have made is capable of creating crisp lines in a hurry on curved parts. It is also capable of varying depth in a single pass, something a noisy dangerous electric router has a hard time with.
I started by filing the inverse shape of the one I wanted into scraper. Next, I shaped a small wooden body, into which I cut a slot that would receive the cutter. The shape of the body seems to be important, as it is both fence and depth stop. Easing a slope into the "bed" toward the cutter is important, as it allows the shaving to have a place to escape. I next installed T-nuts into holes in the wooden body, so I would be able to tighten the slot in the body against the cutter, as any movement of the cutter would be a disaster. A little wax on the wooden body, and I was making a custom bead with very little effort.
It's interesting to me that this traditional wood shaping technique isn't more popular, as it is cheap, easy, and allows more variation in design, outside the stock router bits found at your woodworking supplier.
I like small details like this, it could easily have no embellishment, but I feel the time taken to add that "extra something" will enrich the character of this handmade vehicle for years to come.