Woodwork Tools Blog

Mar

23

Welcome the Wood Scraper, Card Scraper or Cabinet Scraper to my Woodwork Tools

So, about 8 months after the birth of my 4th daughter, I have finally managed to get back to my workbench, and spend some of my precious time with my woodwork tools again.

My first attempt at building a stitch and glue kayak (based on the plans in this excellent book, also worth checking out the new edition), although successful (in that I got a boat that actually floated), clearly demonstrated the fact that I have absolutely no experience (or natural skill) in working with fibreglass and epoxy resin. As a result of a number of amateur mistakes, and a general lack of knowledge on how to work with epoxy, I ended up with a boat that I was forced to christen “Old Dribbles”, due to the large number of runs of epoxy that highlight the finish.

I decided it really was time that I cleaned these up, and so I started into it with a few sheets of sandpaper and a sanding block. This didn’t last long…Sanding has never been my favourite pastime and sanding epoxy seemed to amplify my dislike for it, so I started thinking of other ways to attack it. I had tried using my block plane in the past, with some success, but I thought this might be a good opportunity to try out a wood scraper (also sometimes called a card scraper, or a cabinet scraper). The wood scraper is a tool that I have always shied away from, as the process for sharpening seems so laborious and precise.

I happened to have an offcut of stainless steel lying around which already appeared (to an amateur card scraper user such as myself) to have the desirable qualities of a card scraper – the metal is quite hard, and it even already had a bit of a burr which must have been put there when it was guillotined. Not having any idea of how to sharpen it properly, I thought I would give it a go as it was. I must say, I was very impressed. The small burr on the edge of the card scraper was quite efficient at removing the excess epoxy, and yet it still removed small enough quantities that I didn’t feel there was any danger of cutting too deeply into the epoxy, or through the epoxy to the wood.

After my initial success using the card scraper on epoxy, I turned it to another of my least favourite tasks – removing paint from recycled timber. Again, I was very impressed with how effective the scraper was at removing a fine layer such as paint.

After a while experimenting with the card scraper, I could tell that it was losing its edge, and so I turned to my old friend google to get some information on how to sharpen it.

There are any number of sites that will show you how to sharpen a card scraper, and the process can seem quite daunting to a new user, indeed, as I mentioned before, the process of sharpening a card scraper is one of the reasons that I have shied away from using a card scraper in the past.

After checking out this site: http://woodgears.ca/scraper/index.html, I was feeling the same apprehension as I had previously, particularly as it reminded me that I didn’t have a burnishing tool to sharpen my card scraper.

I then stumbled across this site: http://woodtube.ning.com/video/the-easy-way-to-sharpen-a-card which has an excellent video on the rough and ready way to sharpen a card scraper. The method described in this video will not suit everyone, but it was perfect for what I was looking to use the card scraper for at the time, and is so quick and easy that it should be enough to convert anyone who has been hesitant to try a card scraper because they weren’t confident they could sharpen it.

Following my experimentation, I would highly recommend that everyone have a go at using a card scraper – particularly if, like me, you don’t particularly enjoy sanding. Whilst I am still in the beginning stages of appreciation for the card scraper, the results were so impressive that I am already planning on investing more time in this tool so that I can get beyond the rough and ready method of sharpening, and get to the point where I am confident with sharpening it in the traditional method.

Look out for me down at the tool store – you’ll find me checking out burnishing tools…

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