Cabinet Scraper Gumming Up

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Forum topic by aghoras posted 04-11-2017 04:21 PM 482 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1045 days

04-11-2017 04:21 PM

I’m trying to use a cabinet scraper to remove the finish from a 100 year old dining room table (red oak).
I first used a chemical stripper to “soften up” the old finish. Then I rinsed the surfaces with mineral spirits and let them dry for a couple of days.

But it seems like no matter how much care I take when I sharpen the scraper, it stops working after two or three strokes.

Prior to using the chemical stripper, I hard tried scraping the finish with similar results.

It seems to me that the hook is gumming up even though I clean it by wiping the scraper with a soft cloth.

Does anyone have any tips or ideas as to what’s happening here?

P.S. I’ve been using cabinet scrapers successfully for a couple of years.

- Thanks

2 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


622 posts in 1254 days

#1 posted 04-11-2017 05:38 PM

Been a while since I stripped a finish, but it sounds like the hook on your scraper is to fine for the task. I’d switch to a paint scraper. It may still gum up a bit, but a couple of swipes with a file usually restores the edge. The paint scraper will be a little aggressive, so use a light touch until you get the hang of it.

My old favorite refinishing scraper was a piece of broken glass. Just about any old glass will due. The broken edge of glass is extremely sharp and more than a little fragile. Once you add some tape to protect yourself and develop the “right touch”, it is extremely effective and surprisingly long lasting. Another good thing, your don’t get “hot thumbs” like you do from a cabinet scraper.

-- Sawdust Maker

View JayCee123's profile


200 posts in 1399 days

#2 posted 04-12-2017 12:44 AM

I had a similar problem during a refinishing job this past winter, try this:
Straighten the edge(s) on your stone or long fine file, keeping the scraper 90 degrees to the stone.
Stop. Don’t draw the edge out with a hardened steel dowel and don’t add a hook to the edge(s), keep a plain square edge.
Now put a real bend in the scraper as you make your pass. More of a bend than normal. Its difficult to keep the scraper bent for any period of time so I’d suggest purchasing a scraper holder. The holder allows you to bend the scraper and keep your thumbs from burning up :)
You will remove material and it will mushroom up the face of the scraper but wont “ball-up” as much at the edge, making it easier to remove the waste.
I wouldn’t use my cabinet scraper because as you already know the waste is a mess.

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