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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
 

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897 Posts
Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Wow. All this talk of burnishing, oil, bending the burr over, but you can't dispute those feathery shavings you're getting there. I'll have to give that a try! Thanks for the post and great pics.
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Todd great series of photos. I tell people that if you get dust then you are holding the scraper at the wrong angle. You need to vary your hold until the shavings appear.
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Thanks alot Again for the Info
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Todd, I agree with you 100%. I have been doing the same thing for many years. I have all kinds of different scrapers, including a set of bridge city titanium coated ones. They can only be sharpened in this fashion. Thanks for taking some of the mystery out of this tool. John
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
DOH! I threw my scrapers in a bin and forgot about them because I couldn't get a stupid burr that would give more than dust…...DOH!!!!!!!!!!

Falls back to my mantra…..KISS (Keep it stupid simple)
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Thanks, Todd!

I have been trying all of the same things as Eric pointed out and with dismal results. I am going try it your way, now!
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
I will have to do a video for you guys. But don't hold your breathe - it could be a while.

I am confident that with the given information you guys should be able to figure it out.
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Thanks for the post Todd. Santa just delivered my new set of scrapers. I had an old cheap scraper but it didn't work very well, maybe now I can try this method. It sound easy enough.
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Todd, this is exactly how I do it. If I've misplaced my file (again) I just throw some 150 grit paper on the chunk of granite I use for a honing plate and sharpen my scrapers there. And I completely agree … every time I mention this method, someone starts in about some obscure difference between two types of burnishers.
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
what if you only have one bench?
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Great job Todd, alot of useful info

Thanks for the post

Callum
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Todd I can understand the desire to pull back the shroud of mystery … BUT … with that you destroy one of the mystiques of woodworking. These secret practices are necessary to maintain the illusion of superiority. If you continue to expose the simplicity of some of these things then people like myself will be forced to fall back on the quality of our work for the ooohs and ahhhhs. I'm not sure I'm up to that. ;-)

Yet, it's a good explanation and I may even pull out my card scrapers and give it another try.
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Great post Todd. I sometimes use simple scrap pieces of dsb glass that also makes a fine scraper. No sharpening. Just cut you another one and try not to cut yourself!
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Nice post, Todd. I have always assumed that burnishing was a part of the sharpening process. I will try just putting an edge on with the mill file and see how it comes out.

By the way I am curious how so you sharpen the curved scrapers. I have used set at times, reluctently, since I can't see a way to easily sharpen them, as you can the straight scrapers.
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Shhhh! You're ruining it for scraper Nazis everywhere!

"No shavings for you!"

That's how I sharpen mine, but I use a screwdriver to create a slight burr. I'll have to try it now straight from the file and see if that works just as good. Always looking to save a step when I can!
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Great information Todd. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Amen brother! I feel the same with sharpening methods for plane irons and chisels. In my opinion try a few methods fine what works best for your application and stick with it the more your do the better you get at it and therefore is the best for you.
I cant afford $ 300 Japanese water stones or fancy machines but with a .99 cents piece of 600 grit wet dry sand paper and my trusted slab of marble I can achieve a mirrored razor sharp finish on any blades.
And Greg you have been watching way to much Seinfeld but I like your sarcasm (and they say it is the lowest form of wit… but I don't buy that) Thanks for posting
 

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Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Thank you Todd. I believe we over think a lot of things today. It is ok to use a method that works for you. Your advise is most appreciated in this shop any day.
 
Joined
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13,555 Posts
Cabinet Scrapers Exposed!

The buzz about scrapers…

Lately, talk of the cabinet scraper and the frustration that this little tool inflicts on a character has created some buzz in the LJ community. This simple, inexpensive, and very effective tool also frustrates me, but for a different reason. I see many people missing out on the joy of using this tool because they are fed too much information that clouds the simple truth.

On the other hand…

On one hand I appreciate the histories and detailed accounts of filing, honing, burnishing, and turning the burr. On the other hand, the cabinet or card scraper is made overly complicated.

When I share my method of sharpening a cabinet scraper with other woodworkers, I am most often discounted and pooh-poohed. It's near heresy because it is not mystical and complicated enough. It does not support the shroud of mystery around some lost art of the craftsman which elevates him to the level of mythical proportions.

Pulling down the shroud of mystery…

There is always more than one way to perform tasks in the shop, but here is how I sharpen my scrapers. This post may look long but it is more photos than text.

Here is a look at the collection of scrapers that I use almost everyday that I work in the shop. I use them quite often in my remodeling as well.

Cabinet Scraper Collection

I have no preference of any of them. They are different sizes but they are all basically the same thickness, about 1/32" thick.

Cabinet Scraper Thickness

There is one card that is thinner which gets used the least. I have enough control of the thick scrapers to perform some of the finest work on veneer and inlays. Here I display the difference in the thickness of the scrapers.

Various Thicknesses

Workflow and sharpening…

When I am working at the bench and need to use my scrapers, I leave my mill file clamped in the bench vise just like this.

Sharpening File

I will scrape my project on one bench and then turn around to the other bench to stroke the card a few times to whip it back into shape. I do not use a jig, I simply hold it by hand at a 90 degree angle on the file. To sharpen I stroke it the full length of the file 3 to 4 times, that is all that is needed. Then I flip it and do the other side. This is exactly how I hold it.

Sharpening The Card Scraper

Here is a tip…
One thing I find important is keeping the file clean from the file shavings. I keep compressed air handy to blow off the file. You can feel if the shavings roll under the scraper, this is a sign that it needs to be blown off.

What's your angle?

The easiest way to find the working angle is to hold the card at 45 degrees to the surface. Then stand it back up toward vertical a little more, no more than 1/4 to 1/3 the distance. I don't get hung up on the angle in degrees, it is really by feel. You will get the feel of it as you vary the angle and pressure until it starts to produce fine shavings.

Place your thumbs in the center towards the bottom of the scraper. You can use different areas of the cutting edge by moving the location of your thumbs, thereby applying pressure where you want. You may also pull the scraper applying pressure to the back with your fingers.

This is basically what it will look like.

Scraper Angle

Here is another view showing some real cabinet scraper action on a piece of reclaimed doug fir flooring.

Flooring Sample

Here is the flooring with a good bit of scraping done. This piece of wood flooring had a finish on it and sheetrock mud from a remodel project. The cabinet scraper was sharp enough to cut through all of this and make some of the finest shavings.

Doug Fir Flooring

Here is the result of my sharpening method on a piece of curly maple. This is a difficult piece of wood to plane by hand or machine, but look at the finish and the fine curly shavings.

Curly Maple Sample

The next photo shows the scraper results on a piece of Brazilian cherry with a difficult grain pattern. Notice that once again I get consistently fine "angel hair" shavings.

Brazilian Cherry Flooring Sample

My last photo shows a piece of baltic birch ply that has a maple veneer that I applied. I have total control to scrape the veneer without cutting through it and yet get some nice shavings.

Maple Veneered Plywood

The proof is in the pudding…

Well, there you have it. I sharpen my cabinet scraper with a few strokes on the file and nothing more. I sharpened the scraper between each piece of wood but these are true results for each.

I have no preference as to which cabinet scraper that I use. The cheap Stanley scrapers work just as well as the more expensive Sandvik scrapers.

A balanced point of view…

I will let you know that the cabinet scraper is followed by a random orbital sander in my workflow. I never use the scraper with the intention of the wood surface going straight to finish.

This level of sharpening is very easy to master and then you may find yourself wanting to precede to the next level. I am very satisfied with the performance of my scraper at this level and do not desire to go any further. If you look at my portfolio you can be sure that the cabinet scraper was used in every project and the results speak for themselves so I can stand by my method.

May the shroud of mystery be pulled back and the great Oz be exposed…it is that simple.

Peace, Love, and Woodworking
Nice job,Todd.
 
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