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Foolproof Scraper Sharpening Keene NH

A card scraper is a rectangular piece of flat steel. Like a handsaw blade, the steel is soft enough to be filed, but hard enough to hold an edge. Scrapers have four cutting edges shaped like miniature hooks.

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Foolproof Scraper Sharpening

Foolproof Scraper Sharpening

Make Shavings Like a Pro With Our New Sharpening Method By Tom Caspar

I couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I saw John Erickson, the woodworker I apprenticed with, scrape a piece of walnut. How could a mere piece of steel work so quickly? John didn’t have to go through five grits of sandpaper to get a smooth surface. He’d take a board right from the jointer, scrape a few strokes, lightly sand with the finest paper, and that was it!

I was only a young apprentice in his shop. When it came time for me to sharpen my own scraper, all I got was dust, not those long shavings John made. How did he do it?

Although the old man never shared his sharpening system with me, I’ve developed my own approach using some modern twists. The best thing about it is that anyone can get great results. Once you get the hang of it, you can put a fresh edge on a scraper in five minutes, tops. All you need is some basic sharpening equipment (about $48), the world’s simplest jig (a plain stick with one beveled side), a vise on the front of your bench and the patience to take the process one step at a time.

What You Need


The Scraper

A card scraper is a rectangular piece of flat steel. Like a handsaw blade, the steel is soft enough to be filed, but hard enough to hold an edge. Scrapers have four cutting edges shaped like miniature hooks. The hooks are almost too small to see, but you can feel them with your fingers. 

In the steps that start on page 65, we only tackle the top side of the scraper, making two cutting edges. To sharpen all four edges, flip over the scraper and repeat each step on the bottom side. 

The Sharpening Kit


File The handiest tool is a 10-in. combination mill file with a built-in handle. The double-cut side of the file has two crisscrossed rows of teeth for fast stock removal. The single-cut side has a single row of teeth. This side cuts slower but leaves a smoother surface. Actually, any 8- or 10-in. mill file will work, as long as it’s sharp.


Honing Paddle A diamond paddle cuts fast and stays flat. You can substitute a slipstone or small oilstone, but they’re slower and score too easily. An extra-fine grit paddle is best, but a fine will work.


Burnisher A burnisher is nothing more than a hardened and polished 3/8-in.-dia. steel rod. Most come with a handle, but you really don’t need one.


File Card A file card cleans your file. If you don’t routinely clean your file, metal debris caught in the file’s teeth will put deep scratches on a scraper’s edge. Oil Honing oil lubricates the burnisher. Household oil (such as 3 IN 1) works, too, but leaves your hands smelly.


The Jig This beveled stick is all you need to hold the file, honing paddle and burnisher at the correct angles.

Step 1:


Flatten the Dull Hooks S troke the burnisher back and forth over each edge of...

Click here to read the rest of the article from American Woodworker