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Wood Scale Fabrication


  • Wood milled to 1/8" thickness
  • Rubber Cement
  • Fine point Sharpie or other marker
  • Sandpaper (low grits like 100 and 220)
  • Scale Wedge material (wood, metal, plastic, etc)
  • Wood finish (2 part epoxy, polyurethane, tongue oil)
  • 1/16th Brass or Nickel Silver Rod
  • Size 0 or 0 Wide in either Brass or Stainless Steel to correspond to the rod
  • Scroll Saw or small coping saw
  • Drill or a drill press with a 1/16" drill bit

Making the scales

Step 1

Cut your 1/8" wood stock into two pieces about 1" wide by 6" long for most styles of scales. You might need a larger piece of wood if you need to make scales for some of the older larger wedges. Your cuts don't need to be perfect. You just need to have enough material to make your scales.

Step 2

Coat both halves of wood with a liberal amount of rubber cement and allow them to dry seperated. (Follow manufacturers recomendations)

Step 3

Once the rubber cement has dried (about 15-20 minutes) stick the two halves together and draw or trace your scale pattern with the fine point sharpie or other writing utensil on one side to act as a guide during cutting .

Step 4

Always Wear Safety Goggles.

That sounds easier than it really is but just cut along the line. If that's to difficult for you at least cut outside the lines giving yourself enough material to sand down and get to the final shape. If at any point the sawdust has accumulated and you cannot see the line just blow it away. Go slow and take your time, we want you to keep all of your fingers.

Step 5

Now mark your pin positions on the scale and use a small nail or awl and hammer to put a pilot dimple into the scales for drilling. This will keep the bit in place and keep it from wandering.

Step 6

Now I place some tape on the back part of the scales I will be drilling through. I've heard this helps keep the hole from tearing out as the drill breaks through. Once you're ready to drill the holes, make sure to drill them as square and straight as possible. This will not be an issue if you have a drill press.

Step 7

Sand the sides of the scales smoothing out any marks left by your saw and round the edges of the scales on both sides. I first use the lower grit paper (80 or 100, whatever I have on hand) and finish up with 220 grit paper.

Step 8

Now it's time to separate your two halves. Slide them sideways until you can separate them. Roll the rubber cement off the inside of the scales and sand them lightly with 220 grit to get rid of any remaining residue. Now it's also a good idea to wipe down all sides of your scales with some mineral spirits and a clean rag. This will remove the sanding dust so it does not disrupt your finish.

Wood Finishes


This comes in 2 varieties (Rub on or Brush on) and a few finishes (Gloss, Semi-gloss and Satin). Rub on can be put on using old socks, towels, old shirts, etc as long as they are lint free. Brush on I've found is best applied with a foam brush. You'll need to do several coats (sometimes up to 15 or so on the outside and a few on the inside). Follow the recommended drying times and sand between coats per manufacturers instructions. When done properly you'll wind up with a very smooth and clear finish which is fairly durable and will protect the wood from water.

Pros: Inexpensive, forgiving, you can always sand down and start over

Cons: Takes a lot of time to finish a set of scales. 2-4 hours per coat and 10+ coats.

2 Part Epoxy - Like Glaze Coat

This is available at most home stores like Lowes or Home Depot under a product called Glaze Coat. It comes in 2 bottles; epoxy and a hardener. You'll want to follow the manufacturers directions on mixing it properly - this is very important! I use one of the scraps from making the scales to stir and help apply the epoxy. You'll want to elevate the scales on some cut dowel or screws and allow the excess epoxy to drip off of the scales. Pay special attention to the sides, you can even use the scrap to go around the outside to make sure you got all of it. 20 ml of mixed epoxy is enough to finish one set of scales, once you get more experienced you can cut it down to 14 ml or so and be fine. Cover the scales while curing to keep dust off of them. Once fully cured pull them away from what you've elevated them on and use a window scraper or other type of razor blade to scrape the excess drips from the inside of the scale. Sand the inside down and refinish that section with some polyurethane or some tung oil.

Pros: Harder finish than polyurethane, less time required, less baby sitting, one coat coverage

Cons: More expensive - the kit costs $20 opposed to the $6 or so polyurethane costs, more messy, little bit of a learning curve.

Tung Oil

Provides a more natural finish on scales, less glossy than either polyurethane or epoxy.

Pros: Inexpensive, easier clean up, less coats needed than polyurethane

Cons: Not as protective a coat as polyurethane or epoxy

Wedge Construction

Wedges can be made out of many materials. Really anything that can be cut, shaped and drilled can be used to the wedge end of a set of scales. Regardless of what material you use the steps are largely the same. Keep in mind that if you use wood or any other material that can be damaged by water you'll want to seal it first with a finish. A properly fabricated wedge should allow free movement of the blade in and out of the scales but be relatively close to the blade when closed. Ideally wedges should be tapered slightly with the thinnest section toward the back end of the scales.

Step 1

Mock up the razor to see how big you need to cut the wedge. I always draw a thin line on the inside of the scales to show me where the wedge should come up to.

Step 2

Trace the shape of the wedge on your material (in this instance brass bar) and begin cutting.

Step 3

Finish the shaping of the wedge and once you are finished I use superglue to attach the wedge to one side of the scale.

Step 4

Flip the scale over and drill through your existing hole and through your newly created wedge.

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