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A Cabinetmaker’s Toolchest part seven

Veritas Wooden Beading Tool and James Krenov Smoothing Plane

Veritas Wooden Beading Tool and James Krenov Smoothing Plane

In this clip, the seventh of the cabinetmaker’s toolchest project,  I begin smoothing the interior of the carcase panels in preparation of finish and glue.

I’m using my James Krenov smoothing plane for this job. He made this plane for me back in 2006 and it’s still one of my most prized possessions. I’m frequently asked about this plane -just when and where I use it. Having a number of choices when it comes to which plane to use where, I tend to keep this one for this exact job- the final smoothing before finish and glue.

I say smoothing but I think polishing may be a more accurate term. The blade has a heavy camber and I’m taking whisper thin shavings.  The feel of ‘wood on wood’ is wonderful and this cherry is finishing beautifully.  I’ll rub a few coats of oil/varnish on the interior panels and get ready for the glue up once complete.

The second detail covered in the clip is scratching beads in the panels. This is a decorative touch and one I enjoy using on just about everything I make. I find a hand scratched bead is an instant sign of hand work. The slight variations and fluctuations are impossible to achieve with a power tool. The bead, when scratched into a surface by hand, leaves a sign for generations to see that quietly states- ‘made by hand‘.  At least that is my intention and hope.

There are a few choices out there as far as beading tools go but this wooden model made by Veritas is still my personal favorite. I noticed they came out with an advanced version a couple of years ago but I still like the size and balance of this earlier model the best. Again, a wooden tool is such a nice feeling in hand and in use.

When you work wood with wooden tools there seems to be a friendliness about it. Krenov often wrote of this feeling, whether stated or written somewhere between the lines.  It’s hard for me to describe but, those of you reading will surely know what I’m talking about if you had the pleasure and the moment was there. Maybe it’s a secret? Maybe it’s one of those fleeting moments that quietly occurs in the solitude of the wood shop. When tool, material and maker find that sweet balance in the work-

The allure of the unplugged woodshop, these are a few of those moments.

Enjoy ~



Here are some links to a few of the products used in this video:


Lee Valley Plane Hammer

Veritas Wooden Beading Tool


  1. Posted by stephen melhuish on Feb 28th, 2013


    fine words….the Krenov eh!….many times copied, much admired and so greatly missed, but the great guy lives on through us all talking about him. Constant night time reading for me, his simple words define an age that is timeless. Those who read his words understand deeper the not just the man behind them but help us to get closer to our own work too, he had that magical ability of saying what we all feel.

    Tom you’re so lucky to own that plane, make good use of it on many projects to come, it’s in good hands.

  2. Posted by tom on Mar 1st, 2013

    thanks Steve,
    I am lucky to own this plane and am reminded of that every time I use it.


  3. Posted by David Gendron on Mar 1st, 2013

    Well done Tom!! Well said Steve!

  4. Posted by tom on Mar 2nd, 2013

    Thanks David-; )

  5. Posted by paul on Mar 3rd, 2013

    I was curious on any advise you may have on sharpening the inside curve of a curved card scraper, since you can,t true or square that edge with a stone or file before turning the burr how would you handle this prosses
    thanks paul

  6. Posted by tom on Mar 3rd, 2013

    Hey Paul,

    thanks for the question. I often use curved scrapers and have dressed the edges as follows. I begin by dressing the sides on a 1000 grit stone and then move to an 8000 to polish. (same as any scraper ) From there I work on the thin edges- I use a diamond file on these and then roll a burr as per normal. I don’t think the edge is as good as I get on a straight scraper but it works. The diamond files have a flat and convex side so you can get into the inside round on say a ‘goose-neck’ style card scraper.
    Hope that helps and all the best

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