I just finished an 8/4 cherry mantel for a women that wanted a
traditional hand planed look, and boy did I spend some time with my
cabinet scrapers! The boss did the bulk of the actual planing, and
then cut me loose to clean up the wild grain. Unfortunately we don't
have a scraper plane. (LV here I come...when I get more $$$ this is
on its way - http://tinyurl.com/29qz5 ).
As such, I put my existing LV scrapers/jointer/variable burnisher to
work and knocked down the rough spots with thumb power. They worked
phenomenally well, and I wore my best "I told you so" look for those
that had been giving me disparaging looks while I took 15 minutes to
get them all honed and hooked properly.
A couple of observations. The first rule of scraping is to tune your
scrapers. The second rule of scraping is TO TUNE YOUR SCRAPERS!!
Once you get them sharp, things go much easier. I started by looking
for areas of obvious tear out, and went at them with a fairly thin
scraper so I could really localize my efforts without killing myself
keeping the blade flexed.
(Note: While the jointer/burnisher from Veritas worked excellently, I
abandoned their scraper holder for this task, as it didn't allow me
enough control for really localizing my work - which I wanted to do to
avoid too much flattening out of the wavy plane marks.)
Once the deeper divots were removed, I'd take a couple of longer,
wider passes to sort of even out the crater, so to speak. You've got
to play with the angle of attack as well as the direction of scraping
to really get a clean cut, and you can't be timid about it. I try to
really get the scraper moving and then ease it down into and then out
of the workpiece. The learning curve was steep for me, thank god!
Once I'd gone over all of the obvious dents, dings and gouges, I moved
along to the noticeably rough areas of raised grain. These I attacked
with a somewhat thicker scraper, using a few longer, harder passes.
When using a fresh edge, it cut like a dream, and the was really all
it took. After that, I took a break.
Upon return, I took some 220 and lightly went over the whole thing.
This revealed other, less noticeable rough spots, which I handled the
same way as above. Again, be careful of the grain. With knot holes I
generally found the working from the center out was the best, but
there were exceptions. You'll probably get it *close*
to perfect a
couple of times, only to ruin it with just *one more scrape".
After the surface was smoothed, we finished it off with some 220, and
then oiled it. It looks EXCELLENT! What a beautiful piece of wood.
I swear if I fondled LOML the same as that piece of cherry I'd get
breakfast in bed every morning.
IMPORTANT PART: Scrapers have 8 edges, all of which_can_be used. I
found that I prefer to slightly round off the corners, as the long
edges are bowed anyays, and with with the shorter ones (which I really
don't use) you don't want to snag the corner and create a groove.
What I do is put a piece of tape on each side, and mark the hook angle
setting I used on the variable burnisher. I found that if I went over
6 or 7 degrees it just grabbed too much, so all were done from 2 to 5
degrees. I also marked each of the long edges 1 through 4. This
worked excellently for me, as I didn't have to fumble around trying to
find a sharp edge each time. I'd just start at 1, and when it got
dull I'd flip it to 2 and so on. What I'lll probably do is get a
dozen or so different scrapers, number each edge with an etcher, and
also mark the hook angle I'm keeping it at. When I really get
organized, I'll label each thickness as well. Then I can just mark in
my journal that the "0.6 mil 4 deg hook scraper took out knot marks
like a champ on Mrs. Havisham's cherry mantel". When I get truly
insane, I'll even mark the hardness of the scraper on there.
How satisfying to see that first coat of finish bring life to that
mantel. <sigh> I believe I've found my calling....
.6m 4deg Rc50