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No. 81 Scraper 1

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Let me just say it straight out–I love hand tools.


They're quiet, fun to use, and connect me with woodworkers of long ago. But most importantly, they often get the job done faster and better than power tools.


That's right: faster and better.


One of my favorite types of hand tools are scrapers. They smooth wood that's too awkward or difficult to plane.


If the grain reverses on a board, I use a scraper. If the grain is curly, I use a scraper. If boards that are glued together have grain that runs in opposite directions, I use a scraper.


Pretty handy, eh?


The first scraper I was taught to use was the Stanley No. 80. It's a great tool to begin with; more on that later. I just bought a different version of the same tool: the Stanley No. 81. Wow.


Over the next few blogs, I'll show you how to tune it up, how to sharpen it, and what it can do. First, a quick tour.




This is a pushing tool. The iron is piece of mild steel, bedded at 67-1/2 degrees, similar to a No. 80. The body is nickel-plated.




The sole is a piece of rosewood screwed from above to the tool's body.



The blade is held in the tool by a cap that pivots in the center.  There is no depth of cut adjustment mechanism to this tool.


In the No. 80, the depth of cut is set by a thumbscrew that bends the blade. Not so with the No. 81. The blade remains straight.


The challenge with a No. 81, then, is to sharpen the blade with a slight camber, then set it's depth of cut by hand.


In the next post, I'll show you what must be done to the body of the tool first.


If you have any comments or questions, please scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, below the ads.





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