Cruved surface scrapers

First off -- I'm new to wood working of most any kind, so please be gentle.
I've been messing about with the making of wooden bowls. I'm doing the work without a lathe and won't be aquiring one. This is hobby not a business and a limited number will be made. The object is as much the doing of the project ast it is getting it done quickly. I've been using a Dremel tool and assorted rasps, files grinders and sandpapers so far. Concave and convex surfaces on the inner parts of the bowls are a challenge, especialy on the harder woods and I've been looking at various scrapers as a solution for getting the surfaces smooth and free of gouges or uneven rolls in the surface. I've been looking at the following two items from Lee Valley Tools. I don't wish to spend a lot of money as this will not be a high use item.
Burnisher/Scraper Set 05K20.31
Mini Spoon Scraper 50K01.01
Could some of you more knowledgeable people comment on which of the two might be the more versatile item or suggest alternative solutions?
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Probably the fastest way to remove material from the inside of a bowl (without a lathe) is to buy a nice wide carving gouge and practice with it.
You would use the gouge like a chisel. Then switch to a smaller gouge to refine your shape a little more. Finally you could move to scrapers and various sand paper grits.
Hope this helps
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Gregory Paolini - Roycroft Renaissance Artisan
Handcrafted Custom Furniture & Cabinetry
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Broken glass makes excellent scrapers. When the edge wears out, break another piece. You should be able to get all the material you need for free at a glass shop, hardware store, or lumber yard that cuts glass. You might wear gloves, though I have never found it to be a problem not to.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net

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Scrapers are a gentle means of getting a surface smooth and glossy, when properly prepared. Severl recent publications have presented good instruction on the proper tuning and use of scrapers. You'll likely want to spend some time with them.
Curved scrapers are good for what you describe. Just be patient, and don't try to take off too much wood too quickly. One of our local gurus sands to 80 grit, then scrapes, then finishes. He does very nice work.
But consider taking a class in lathe work, before ruling it out.
Patriarch
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Considering the price of a decent starter lathe like the Delta Midi, versus the hours involved in gouging, scraping and smoothing, I'd have to second that.
Besides, an addiction to turning isn't terribly expensive when you consider the alternatives...
djb
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The Lee Valley mini scraper is a GREAT buy! I have one that I have used for spoon finishing. PLEASE don't waste money buying a burnisher; an old engine valve pushrod will work very well and the cost is zero from any engine rebuilder.

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Dennis Lougheed wrote:

I've done a fair maount of bowl/tray carving with nothing but handtools (some examples at: http://www.swt.edu/~cv01/bowls.html ), and I use gouges to remove the majority of the waste and then followup with scrapers with various contours for the finish work. I have taken scraper stock and put custom profiles on them for this purpose. They work just fine.
The mini spoon scraper looks like a nice idea, but in use isn't so great. I have found few instances where it is the solution, and even where it does help, I still have to come back with one of my custom scrapers to get a nice finish. It mostly works to take off some of the ridges left by the gouge.
Finally, if you plan on doing some large bowls, you might want to consider the dogleg gouges that Drew Langsner sells on his website. These are handmade by a fellow named Hans Karlsson, and are the best tools, bar none, that I have found for handling the areas where the grain converges in bowl sides/bottoms. You can see them at: http://countryworkshops.org/toolgouges.htm They are models HK-08 and HK-24. They are meant to be used by pushing, not hammering, and are not for heavy stock removal, but rather for getting a close to final finish without tearout.
Anyhow, a good sturdy gouge (I like Pfiel myself) can do the majority of stock removal and then something like the dogleg gouge to smooth out the surface, followed by scrapers is the way I go.
I finish the inside first and then shape the outside with saws to remove the majority of the waste, and spokeshaves for the final shaping. You'll have to play around a bit with clamping arrangements, but I've found the LV Wonderdogs (tm) to be great for holding the blank while I work the inside. Then I use a wood block in the center of the bowl (use a wood that's softer than the bowl, and round any sharp corners, DAMHIKT) to extend the reach of my clamps while I hold it for final shaping.
Chuck Vance
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