Foolproof Scraper Sharpening
Make Shavings Like a Pro With Our New Sharpening Method
By Tom Caspar
Purchase the complete version of this woodworking technique story from AWBookstore.com.
I couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I saw John Erickson, the woodworker I apprenticed with, scrape a piece of walnut. How could a mere piece of steel work so quickly? John didn’t have to go through five grits of sandpaper to get a smooth surface. He’d take a board right from the jointer, scrape a few strokes, lightly sand with the finest paper, and that was it!
What You Need
A card scraper is a rectangular piece of flat steel. Like a
handsaw blade, the steel is soft enough to be filed, but hard
enough to hold an edge. Scrapers have four cutting edges
shaped like miniature hooks. The hooks are almost too
small to see, but you can feel them with your fingers.
Click any image to view a larger version.
The Sharpening Kit
File: The handiest tool is a
10-in. combination mill file
with a built-in handle.
The double-cut side
of the file has two
of teeth for fast
stock removal. The
single-cut side has a
single row of teeth.
This side cuts slower
but leaves a smoother
surface. Actually, any 8- or
10-in. mill file will work, as
long as it’s sharp.
Honing Paddle: A diamond
paddle cuts fast and
stays flat. You can substitute a
slipstone or small oilstone, but
they’re slower and score too easily.
An extra-fine grit paddle is best,
but a fine will work.
Burnisher: A burnisher is nothing
more than a hardened and polished
3/8-in.-dia. steel rod. Most come with a
handle, but you really don’t need one.
File Card: A file card cleans your file. If
you don’t routinely clean your file, metal
debris caught in the file’s teeth will put deep
scratches on a scraper’s edge.
Oil: Honing oil lubricates the burnisher. Household oil (such as
3 IN 1) works, too, but leaves your hands smelly.
See Sources, page 6, for information on where to buy