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Modeling Topic – Scribing

From: Jim Bates <>
Subject: Scribing
Date: March 16, 2017 at 12:05:02 PM PDT

Hi all,

One of the many skills I’m subpar at is rescribing.  I’ve got a Corsair on the go and need to scribe the panel lines along the lower part of the fuselage.  I had heard great things about the UMM-USA scriber so many years ago I bought one.  But it really isn’t very sharp and while I can see in theory why so many love it, I don’t find it all the useful.  So, anyone have suggestions on how to sharpen the item, or a local knife shop that might be willing to do it for me?  Maybe if it was sharp it would cut better?


From: “STom Seanet” <>
Subject: RE: Scribing
Date: March 16, 2017 at 12:48:56 PM PDT

Hi Jim:

Thanks for starting this – I had a similar discussion a while ago with a couple of the folks in the group.  For me, the key (and it was emphasized in the conversations I had with some of the folks ) – is starting with very light pressure.

The best – for me, at least – seems to be one of a couple of dental probes / scrapers – There are several varieties.  The problem is that I bought mine from UW Dental Stores when I was working at the School of Dentistry in 2003, and I think they kind of did me a favor with that, I think, so I haven’t tried to do it again.  I am guessing, however, that you might have a couple of friends who are dentists, so that might be a way to go.  One other possibility is a dental hygienist school, like Shoreline CC.

The back of the #11 blade also works.  The only issue is that if can get awkward doing curves with it.  If you are doing long, straight lines, sometimes a razor saw makes things a little quicker.   I have a few tools that you can try, if you wish.

Now, if we get away from the tools, I have a couple of questions to add for the group to augment this discussion:

·         How do folks knock down the raised edges of the groove?  (sand, carefully cut, etc.,)
·         What technique / material do folks use to fill in the screw-ups?  [I usually fill with Miliput or Tim Nelson’s Magic Putty…)
·         How do people deal with scribing curves?

I don’t like a lot of the Squadron tools.  The scriber is way too thick, and I have had trouble with the sprue cutter also (doesn’t cut…)

Hope this helps.


From: Russell Bucy <>
Subject: Re: Scribing
Date: March 16, 2017 at 1:06:39 PM PDT
To: STom Seanet <>

I’ve bought several commercial hobby scribers over the years, all of which never really did the job as advertised.  So I’m with Spencer, I ask my dentist for old dental scrapers and probes, and even drill bits (all autoclaved of course) which she is more than happy to give me, as she would just have to dispose of them herself.  I’ve used a couple of probes I’ve made myself by cutting them down with a Dremel, then working on a whetstone.  I’ve got some really tiny dental drills with sanding and buffing tips too.  Try asking your dentist for some of these discarded tools.  I recently read an interesting article on LSP about making a scribing line tool out of styrene and 2000 grit paper for clearing and refining scribed lines.    Ask your dentist, you might be surprised.  I have a couple of extra probes you can experiment with if you can’t get any.
VR, Russ

From: “” <>
Subject: RE: Scribing
Date: March 16, 2017 at 1:17:56 PM PDT

Hi Jim – you might wait for a response from Tim Nelson, who has had success with UMM’s tool.  I don’t scribe much, but I’ve seem that tool used as is (without sharpening) by the dude himself at the Nationals and it worked really well, coiling the plastic thread right out of the groove as he went.  He demostrated each of the 4 or 5 surfaces of the tool.  Perhaps there is a video online.  My point is, I think the issue is technique, not sharpness.  Thx E

From: “STom Seanet” <>
Subject: RE: Scribing
Date: March 16, 2017 at 1:50:51 PM PDT

Dang, I forgot about that – I have a small UMM Scribing Tool.  It’s wonderful.  It’s amazing how little pressure you need.    Spencer

From: “Gerry Nilles” <>
Subject: Re: Scribing
Date: March 16, 2017 at 3:33:07 PM PDT


I have tried several scribing tools over the years and have had reasonable success with a dental pick styles scriber also. However, and being a tool that you pull, sometimes I have found it hard to scribe areas that are at an odd angle. What I do in cases of this kind is use a pin vise holding either a cut down hand sewing needle or a shorter sewing machine needle.


From: Woody <>
Subject: Re: Scribing
Date: March 16, 2017 at 6:26:34 PM PDT

You can use Testor’s liquid cement to smooth out the edge of the groove.


From: Morgan Girling <>
Subject: Re: Scribing
Date: March 16, 2017 at 9:36:16 PM PDT

Re: cleaning the scribes after sanding down the raised edges… Has anyone tried using a Water Pic? (I don’t own one, and I’m too cheap to buy one just to experiment, but it seems like it might work.)

Morgan Girling

From: Morgan Girling <>
Subject: Re: Scribing
Date: March 16, 2017 at 9:41:11 PM PDT

Jim, for the bulk of my scribing, I use one of the larger 45-degree blades (I’ve no idea what number it is) backwards, using a machinist’s ruler most of the time for straight edges, or demo tape or a thin stainless steel straightedge for curves.  For things like access panels, doors, etc., I have a set of about 0.005” stainless templates (Emil has had them) and a machinist’s marking scriber. This scriber has a circular tip, so it will work well in all directions against the inside of the template.

I’ve some dentist’s probes and a similar scriber from MicroMark, but I find that they’re too directional for me.

Morgan Girling

From: Paolo Marcucci <>
Subject: RE: Scribing
Date: March 16, 2017 at 11:16:09 PM PDT

I have the Tamiya scriber for straight(ish) lines, but I found that using a pin in a 0.5mm cheap mechanical pencil provides a very neat tool to do hatches, circles, etc, when used with thin steel templates.


From: Russell Bucy <>
Subject: Re: Scribing
Date: March 17, 2017 at 8:55:48 AM PDT

Folks,  here’s a link to the LSP article about cleaning up scribed panel lines. The author’s call his device a “slotting file”. LSP has a couple of articles on tools and scribing as well. Some of these “heretic scale” techniques might even work for you “one true scale” folks.  Also, the best You-tube videos I’ve seen on scribing are on Paul Budziks  website. I particularly like his technique of scribing panel lines in paint– check out his Boeing 314.
Paul is a long time accomplished modeler and nationals winner, and a dentist.  Many of you probably know of him already.  Here’s a link to his web site.
VR,  Russ


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