I am currently in the process of drawing up plans for a couple nightstands. One of the elements I am going to include on the outside corner of each leg is a bead. Beads are a very traditional design element, and sure they are decorative, but there is more to it than that. Beading the corners of furniture, especially Pine furniture, has as much to do with decoration as it does with longevity. Making beads is a simple process and can be done with many tools including: scratch stock, dedicated beading planes, the Stanley No. 66, and even things called router bits.
But, why use a bead?
You ever take a nice square corner and bang something into it? It doesn't look very good after that, does it? No. Because a corner is a very exact detail and it doesn't take much to destroy that nice clean edge. This is why we round table top corners, make profiles on edges, even if it's just a little. The damage is even more apparent when it comes to soft woods.
I don't plan on abusing my furniture, but stuff happens. So why not take the extra time to protect those corners with a nice little bead detail.
The more you know.