My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Questions about tools and jigs you want to buy/build/modify.
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DJ Parker
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My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by DJ Parker »

I'm just throwing out my delight in using a scraper. I just can't think of a better, simpler tool to have in the arsenal. When they are sharp that is! :) I'm interested in any techniques or tips that the building public may have.
Regards,
DJ
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Alan Carruth
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Alan Carruth »

One of the reasons I prefer heavy hard scrapers over the more usual card scraper is that they're easier to sharpen. I really don't know of any tricks that make turning the burr on a card scraper easier or more reliable except for practice. Some folks seem to have good luck with the scraper sharpeners that hold the burnisher at the correct angle, but I'd already learned to get the burr right before I hear about those.

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Barry Daniels
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Barry Daniels »

Learning to properly turn a hook on a scraper was difficult for me. As a backup, it is good to know that you can sharpen a scraper with a fine, single cut file. Clamp the scraper in a vise with the cutting edge up and sticking above the clamp by approximately a quarter inch. Run the file flat over the scraper while holding the file skewed at a 20 degree angle to the left of the path of travel. Don't let the file wobble. A couple of strokes will be enough. A scraper sharpened like this will be a bit rough, and will leave some scratches in the work, so it is more for rough work. But it will cut through material quickly. Finish off with a honed and turned-edge scraper, or sandpaper if your not there yet.
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Waddy Thomson
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Waddy Thomson »

I have had no luck with the burr drawing specialty tools. My best success has been with a block with a slot cut in it, that keeps the scraper vertical while honing on a stone. Then laying the scraper on a piece of plywood flat, and burnishing the edge with a burnishing bar ( I use an old knife sharpening steel with no striations left on it - a screwdriver shaft would work), Always add a drop of oil before burnishing the edge. Then holding the burnisher at an angle to the edge at about 10 to 15 * off vertical, lightly turn the burr. The burnishing pulls a slight lip off the edge, which is turned easily. I made a little video of the process, here. http://s267.photobucket.com/user/waddyt ... sort=9&o=1

Excuse my belly, the most prominent part of the video! :D

Michael Lewis
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Michael Lewis »

Waddy, I notice how you angle the scraper when you draw it along that piece of maple. I found a less acute angle (closer to vertical) will hold the edge much longer so it doesn't have to be sharpened or burnished so often, at least for the way I sharpen MY scrapers. I probably don't pull so much burr on the edge as you do, but as you well know, using these things for long enough we tend to learn from them how they want to be worked. You made a pretty good video for folks that are learning.

Wayne Brown
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Wayne Brown »

Waddy, thanks for video! Some of the time I get a good edge and some times not. It's frustrating! I believe it must be the drop of oil I am not using. ;)

Alan Carruth
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Alan Carruth »

I used to tell new students that it would take them a year to learn to sharpen a scraper. They'd all get that little 'not ME' smile. A year or so later they'd mention that they were finally starting to get the hang of it...

David King
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by David King »

Am I the only person here who doesn't draw a burr? I just pull them at 90º on a mill file and hone the face with a small stone. I get two sharp edges that way. What am I missing?

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Bryan Bear
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Bryan Bear »

David, I do that too sometimes too. I really am not great at setting up a scrapper but that is mostly because no mater what I do to them I can get them to scrape. Sure, I'm certainly nit getting the fine results more experienced woodsmiths are but I do okay. I guess I'm not picky enough yet. I will admit to being jealous of some of the videos I have seen of people using them much more effectively than I. . .
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Michael Lewis
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Michael Lewis »

Bryan, if you want to have some fun with a scraper try scraping some Bz. rosewood or cocobolo. It scrapes almost like creamy hard plastic if your scraper is sharp.

The reason for different approaches to sharpening scrapers are many, but the important ones are dependent on the job at hand. For example, rough material removal likes a coarse and maybe even ragged edge, but for finish surfacing wood you need a much finer and smoother edge, I use card scrapers for leveling finish, especially for drop fills, and for this you need a very smooth and sharp edge. Stone the edges square with a fine stone and then do the edge drawing and roll the hook over. For the fine edge you don't need much hook, and hold the scraper as close to vertical as you can get it to bite. This keeps the cutting edge supported so it lasts longer.

Adam Savage
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Adam Savage »

Possibly a little bit of a tangent into sharpening, but does anyone have any tips for sharpening curved scrapers? I am quite happy with the straight edged variety, but never seem to obtain a satisfactory edge with the curved ones.

Cheers,
Adam

Alan Carruth
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Alan Carruth »

Bryan, you aren't the only one who doesn't always draw a burr. On the hard scrapers you can't: the scraper itself is fully hard tool steel, so it would be a question of whether the scraper or the burnisher would give up first. The cutting edge on those is the burr left from sharpening them. Usually I sharpen a hard scraper on the wheel, with the tool rest set at 90 degrees to the central plane of the scraper body. This gives a hollow edge with two equal burrs. For fine work I dress off the surface to get rid of the old dull burr, as usual, and then stand the scraper up on an old fine diamond stone. It's worn tot he point where it cuts slowly, and leaves a very smooth edge. By alternating between the grinder and the diamond stone I keep the flat side of the scraper really flat.

You can actually sharpen any scraper like that, although with the softer spring steel in the usual card scaper you don'r get as much of an edge, and it doesn't last as long. Curved scrapers work well when sharpened on a wheel. Again, level the faces on a flat stone and then just grind the edge perpendicular.

One of the drawbacks to the hard scrapers is that the steel is brittle. The edge last a lot longer if you hold the scraper upright, as close to a 90 degree angle to the surface as you can get it to cut. This is, of course, mirrored in one of the little frustrations of card scrapers: the 'best' cutting angle will vary a bit from one sharpening to another, depending on the exact angle of the burr. Over time you get better control over that, of course.

John Sonksen
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by John Sonksen »

David King wrote:Am I the only person here who doesn't draw a burr? I just pull them at 90º on a mill file and hone the face with a small stone. I get two sharp edges that way. What am I missing?

I did it that way for probably 15 years and it does work fine, but I found that using a screwdriver shank after I file allows me to draw a more consistent edge down both sides of the scraper. Generally, it seems like when using a file I would get one side a little bit sharper than the other, probably as a result of the direction of the file, so this let me roll that burr over on both sides if that were the case.

I usually go ahead and flip the scraper over when I've got it in the vise and do the opposite long edge so that I end up with 4 burrs when I'm done. Not sure if everyone does that, it's just a habit I've developed from working upstairs at my shop while the vise is downstairs and a couple hundred steps away....

Jason Rodgers
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Jason Rodgers »

I've tried all of these techniques, with varying success with each. Scrapers good.

Here's a dumb question: why can't you use a kitchen knife hone, with the fine grooves/ridges, to burnished a scraper? You can get those things for a buck at Goodwill or Value Village, instead of the $20-$30 burnishers at Woodcraft.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.

Michael Lewis
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Michael Lewis »

The flexible curved scrapers are sharpened just like rectangular card or cabinet scrapers.
1. stone the flat sides smooth
2. stone the edges square to the flat sides
3. lay the scraper flat on a hard surface and burnish the flat side along the edge to draw a burr
4. burnish the edge to roll the new burr over so it sticks out sort of perpendicular to the flat side
5. do this to the other side too

If you carefully stoned the scraper with a fine stone you should now have a sharp scraper that will leave a smooth surface as it cuts, and you should get clean shavings, not dust and crumbs.

John LaTorre
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by John LaTorre »

This is a tool I've come to use all the time:

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Ty ... isher.html

t's really a "last step" tool for setting the hook. Most of the real work in sharpening scrapers, like sharpening plane blades, is truing up the surfaces. The flat surfaces are polished just like a plane blade. Then I clamp the scraper between two pieces of wood, to ensure that it's perfectly perpendicular to the stone as I sharpen it. If both sides and the edge are perfectly flat and mirror-smooth, putting the hook on is easy.
John LaTorre
Sacramento CA

Craig Bumgarner
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Craig Bumgarner »

For a burring tool, I use the shank end of a 1/4" all carbide router bit, tape over the sharp edges, best I've found. Most tool steel is not hard enough to draw the burr quickly and sharp. Not all card scrappers are created equal, I've found the Bahco brand to sharpen quickly, take a burr easily and hold the edge reasonably well. I use a flat file to start the sharpening process, then a diamond plate stone to finish. Burnish the flat side of the edges with a couple swipes of the carbide bit, then into the vise, roll the edge, voila.

I have one of Al's rigid scrapers, works well for certain things. To me it is not either-or, I'm glad to have both.

David King
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by David King »

I have a lot of dead carbide endmills that have super smooth polished shanks. I wonder if 1/4", 3/8" or 1/2" dia would work best?

Craig Bumgarner
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Craig Bumgarner »

David King wrote:I have a lot of dead carbide endmills that have super smooth polished shanks. I wonder if 1/4", 3/8" or 1/2" dia would work best?
I doubt the diameter of the burnisher matters much, it is going to be point contact no matter what isn't it?

Joel Brown
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Re: My new favorite tool - the Scraper!

Post by Joel Brown »

Any advise on a good starter set of scrapers?
I was considering this set:

http://www.lmii.com/products/tools-serv ... ndscrapers

or maybe this:

http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Ty ... apers.html

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