Block plane or cabinet scraper?

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Forum topic by banjomanaic posted 01-14-2021 05:46 PM 412 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 10 days

01-14-2021 05:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: clocks question

Mist of the things I make are on the smaller side such as a desk or mantel clock.
A lot of the time I have issues with trying to get a smooth finish here and there. To avoid disc sanding (or sanding in general), would a cabinet scraper or block plane be a better solution?

13 replies so far

View drsurfrat's profile


391 posts in 161 days

#1 posted 01-14-2021 05:59 PM

Both, you can get them relatively cheap, and use to see which works best for you and each project. There is one advantage to a card scraper, it can get into corners. You don’ necessarily need a ‘cabinet’ scraper, just the iron plate flexed by your thumbs.

The bot leave a different surface than sanding, so experiment.

They both need to be sharp in order to leave anything like a nice finish. Learning to sharpen is a project in itself.

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

View Loren's profile


10938 posts in 4622 days

#2 posted 01-14-2021 06:15 PM

I’d go with the card scraper.

If you want to get into planes you’ll need some sharpening equipment. Card scrapers need sharpening too but it’s easier to do it and the equipment is simple.

You can try out scraping using a single edged razor blade if you have one. A flexed card scraper is more aggressive.

View Andre's profile


4124 posts in 2780 days

#3 posted 01-14-2021 06:21 PM

Either or, even a small scrapper plane, L.N. sells one a #102, I am surprised how many times I use mine.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View PBWilson1970's profile


170 posts in 367 days

#4 posted 01-14-2021 06:51 PM

I love how a freshly sharpened scraper can save so much time and reduce so much dust compared to sanding. I’ve finally got my scraper prep down after using the Brian Boggs method using a block of wood to keep the scraper at 90 degrees to the stone. Mike Pekovich has/had a nice youtube video demonstrating this method.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View SMP's profile


3192 posts in 879 days

#5 posted 01-14-2021 07:08 PM

Yeah a card scraper would be better than a cabinet scraper for what you are building. However, i would grab a good low angle block plane as well.

View Foghorn's profile


925 posts in 360 days

#6 posted 01-14-2021 10:07 PM

I use card scrapers a lot including curved ones. They are an indespensable tool around my shop. A block plane is great but if I had to choose, it would be card scrapers for what I do.

-- Darrel

View therealSteveN's profile


7009 posts in 1548 days

#7 posted 01-14-2021 10:29 PM

Can’t choose between them. I use both on every woodworking venture at one time, and usually several one times.

My vote is buy the block plane, get a Lee Valley or LN, and then you will have a tool. Find an old handsaw with a plate not totally rusted out, and cut out some cards.

The only difference between making your own, and buying some is that initial rough edge, a hand held grinder makes that gone in a very short time, then you still have to burnish them, and roll an edge.

Plus there is something special about using a tool you made.

-- Think safe, be safe

View bandit571's profile


27510 posts in 3657 days

#8 posted 01-14-2021 10:30 PM

Used to use just a piece of single pane window glass…..easy to sharpen, just cut a new edge. Can be cut to match simple shapes…..They throw out scraps at the local glass shops….ask before reaching into the dumpsters, though..and wear some good leather gloves…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View BurlyBob's profile


8283 posts in 3239 days

#9 posted 01-15-2021 02:47 AM

I agree with surfrat. I use both at various time. It just depends what the situation calls for.

View Ocelot's profile


2804 posts in 3612 days

#10 posted 01-15-2021 05:21 PM


You mentioning the glass reminds me of a guy I read about that made axe handles. He made hundreds or thousands of them and mostly made them with glass scrapers from smashed jars of various kinds. Just break a mayonase jar and pick the pieces that fit (now it comes in plastic gars you’ve got to use something else.) A dozen pint canning jars is less than $10 and makes a lot of scrapers. I’ve never tried it, however. That’s definitely an old-school poor man’s tool! There’s still enough things packaged in glass that you don’t have to buy jars just to break ‘em.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View OSU55's profile


2716 posts in 2963 days

#11 posted 01-17-2021 05:13 AM

Planes and scrapers will definitely reduce sanding. For me they do not eliminate it. I sand all surfaces with 220 or 320, depends on desired result, to get the same surface everywhere for finishing. I dont use sandpaper below 220 for flat work, only cutting/scraping tools. Card scrapers are hard on the hands. Cabinet scrapers, scraper planes, or card scraper holders are ergonomically superior, where they can be used – cards get used where other tools dont fit.

View Sylvain's profile


1166 posts in 3473 days

#12 posted 01-17-2021 10:08 AM

I don’t use block planes.
I use a #4 plane, scrapers and a cabinet scraper.
The surface obtained with the smoother plane is too smooth for a good adherence of the finish; a very light sanding with 220 grit is recommended.

Straight card scrapers are hard on the hands but one can put a camber on it (search Crucible card scraper to see what I mean).

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View tvrgeek's profile


1145 posts in 2623 days

#13 posted 01-17-2021 10:47 AM

I find a scraper to be better than paper as it leaves the grain open and clean. Some master craftsmen do not use paper at all for anything.

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