How to Scribe a Piece of Wood

Updated February 21, 2017

House walls are rarely as plumb as they appear. Minor variances in wall construction can make installing cabinets and other built-ins challenging. Scribing is the technique used to fill these gaps along the sides of built-ins. A piece of wood, finished to match the cabinet is cut to fit the wall and attached to the side, providing a flush fitting edge. While the job is fairly simple, there are a few steps that make a perfect scribe possible every time.

Measure the height of your cabinet on the side that will be positioned against the wall. Cut a piece of lumber the same height as your cabinet side. Hold the edge of it against the wall, at the height it will be when attached to the cabinet.

Position a pencil flat against the wall, with its point on the top edge of the scribe piece. Drag the pencil down the wall, tracing the walls profile onto the face of the wood.

Position the scribe on the band saw table. Twist the blade guide release lock counterclockwise and allow the guide to drop onto the wood. Raise it slightly and twist it back clockwise to lock it in place, just above the scribe piece. Start the saw and run the scribe through the blade, steering the piece gently to cut along the line.

Sand the edge of the scribe smooth with 100-grit sandpaper, working to keep the profile the same, only sanding out the marks from the blade.

Apply two coats of latex semigloss, or stain and clear finish all-in-one in a matching colour, using a soft bristle paint brush. Work with the grain, spreading the finish evenly to prevent runs and drips. Allow the finish to dry between coats, according to the label recommendations. Allow the finish to dry before installing the scribe.

Hold the scribe in position against the side of the cabinet, flush with the cabinets face, just under the countertop, and use a bar clamp to clamp it in place. Drive screws through the inside of the cabinet wall into the scribe to attach it.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Scribe lumber
  • Pencil
  • Band saw
  • Finish or paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Bar clamp
  • Drill
  • Wood screws
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published a novel and stage plays with SEEDS studio. Morris specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.