A question for folks who do NOT use card scrapers (or were reluctant at first)

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Forum topic by Brian Havens posted 12-03-2009 01:08 AM 3427 views 0 times favorited 42 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Brian Havens

196 posts in 4110 days

12-03-2009 01:08 AM

Topic tags/keywords: scraping card scraper question

I have been doing some research on topics for new videos, and I may need a reality check on one topic: card scrapers. I am under the impression that the reason many folks do not use card scrapers has nothing to to with the virtues of using scrapers, and has more to do with some barrier to using the card scraper, perhaps because they have tried and have been unsuccessful, or perhaps because the whole subject seems rather intimidating and mystical. Am I on track here? If you do not use card scrapers, is there some barrier keeping you from using them? Or if you started using them at some point, what got you over the threshold?

I ask because I want to do a video on card scrapers, but I do not want to simple regurgitate what is already available. Instead, I am more interested in removing the barriers that keep folks from using them, and motivating folks to try card scrapers.

Let me know.


-- Brian Havens, Woodworker

42 replies so far

View SNSpencer's profile


133 posts in 4118 days

#1 posted 12-03-2009 01:43 AM

I tried for a bit but my results were less than rewarding. I am pretty sure I was doing it wrong.

Barriers for me:
Keeping the piece from becoming “cupped” when using a scraper.
Slipping and beveling an edge of a piece of work.
Bringing and inlay flush with the surface (I currently use a sander for this, sometimes a plane)

Hope that helps…

-- Jef Spencer - Refined Pallet -

View Padre's profile


930 posts in 4494 days

#2 posted 12-03-2009 01:49 AM

I have found I achieve better results using a plane.

To me, card scrapers are really high maintenance for a short “sharpness life.” I also cut my knuckles quite a bit scraping with them.

-- Chip ----------- 6:8

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 4148 days

#3 posted 12-03-2009 01:50 AM

The first time I had ever heard of a card scraper was just last week on this site. I believe it was Todd Clippinger (I hope I didn’t mangle the name too bad). What is it used for? I mean, is it supposed to replace a plane, be used for glue excess, or like SNS says, bringing an inlay flush?

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4275 days

#4 posted 12-03-2009 01:58 AM

I’ve never had much use for one that I know of….(most likely out of habit then due to any antagonism towards them) I use different scrapers when lathe turning….and on flat stuff I go to the trusty plane and then sanders. I’ve read a few things now and then on the card type scrapers…but just haven’t found the need to incorporate them in my arsenal….

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Craftsman on the lake's profile (online now)

Craftsman on the lake

3698 posts in 4442 days

#5 posted 12-03-2009 02:09 AM

I have and like scrapers but I’m still using window pane glass.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View westside's profile


77 posts in 4120 days

#6 posted 12-03-2009 02:43 AM

I just bought one at woodcraft last week. I have been practicing with it for a little while. It seems to give a nice smooth feel and look to the wood. it takes time to master it I guess. For now though I will keep practicing.

View eastside's profile


97 posts in 4266 days

#7 posted 12-03-2009 02:53 AM

OK I’m going to jump in here and probably rub some of you the wrong way. I have never used a card scraper without putting a hook on the edge and infact I never heard of not putting a hook on until I joined this site. So when I seen that a lot of fellow L J don’t use a hook I just had to try it. Well for me it didn’t work at all. I mean I was really disappointed. Maybe I’ve been using a hook so long that I’m used to the aggressiveness of it (if I card scraper can actually be aggressive). So to answer your question, maybe someone trying it for the first time without a hook will not get the results they hoped for. Just a thought.

-- Mike, Westport MA.

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4293 days

#8 posted 12-03-2009 03:03 AM

when i firs saw them David Marks was useing them and the wood seemed to rool up during use i thought cool that must be real sharp to do that and mabee easy to resharpen too.then i got a set and found out everything i saw on TV was not like that unless u tune it up so then i found info on tuning them (sharpening) and figured hey that sounds easy enough so i tried it but no luck so i tried again still nothing then i put them down for awhile and saw some more info with a guy just useing a file to sharpen them so i tried this too with no luck then after getting fed up i made my own method all i did was use a file flaten the faces then the edge then used a burnisher a rod type to draw the burr out and finnished with a veritas burnisher adj. to 7.2 deg. or about there and bingo i got it now i use them on some projects depends what im doing though like scraping away the wax from turning stock before i mill it on other machines or hand planes and when i have to bring an inlay down to the surface i get it close then i sand the rest mainly for delacate stuff is what i use them for in my shop.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4467 days

#9 posted 12-03-2009 03:08 AM

I use them sparingly. They burn my thumbs…

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5223 days

#10 posted 12-03-2009 03:15 AM

It definitely takes some practice to sharpen a scraper properly (with a hook), and develop the right technique to get satisfying results. I like using them now in certain situations, but I can’t say they have replaced sandpaper in my shop.

Anyone interested in getting started with scrapers might want to look at this set from Lee Valley. It has everything you need, and makes proper sharpening pretty simple.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View thiel's profile


410 posts in 4297 days

#11 posted 12-03-2009 03:30 AM

Never used one. The idea of the sound of SCCCCCCCCCCRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPEE!!!!! makes the hair on my neck stand on end. :-)

-- --Thiel

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5102 days

#12 posted 12-03-2009 03:31 AM

Compared to sanding you need to have the proper supporting tools to sharpen, master sharpening techniques and then the techniques of using the scraper. I think you have to be motivated to get all 3 done and have that aligned with actual project need.

Sounds like your planes solve some of the issues above (burned thumbs and cupping)

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 4718 days

#13 posted 12-03-2009 03:35 AM

I normally stock and use sandpaper for my ros up through 1500. So what does a scraper have for me ?

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5102 days

#14 posted 12-03-2009 03:37 AM

No dust and probably speed…

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View doorslammer's profile


108 posts in 4574 days

#15 posted 12-03-2009 04:07 AM

I’ve recently got my first set and after reviewing all the videos and articles I could find, I did not find it very difficult to produce a burr that would produce nice shavings, but I am a little disappointed in how quickly they seem to dull and need to be re-burnished. Also not sure how many times I can get away with re-burnishing before having to back to the stones.

-- Aaron in TN -

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