Small beads – 1/4”, 3/16” and 1/8” – are ideal for creating shadow lines and transitions between flat boards. The classic example is with tongue-and-groove backboards. If you add a bead on the face of every board with a tongue, the back will look finished, instead of something that has oddly spaced cracks.
But beads aren’t just decorative. They also protect corners. If I have an arris (a mid-falutin’ word for “corner”) that is vulnerable to damage, a bead can strengthen it.
Shown above is a classic example: These runners in this tool chest are going to get a lot of wear, and their corners are going to get whacked by tools and wood. By beading each corner, it is much less likely to splinter in service.
The beads also look nice.
And now that I have three beading plane sizes, I can even scale my beads – wider ones at the bottom and smaller ones at the top. Joy! Nerd!
— Christopher Schwarz