Burnished my first card scraper yesterday and tried it on a scrap
piece of pine. The shavings I'm producing are powdery, though bigger
than what I get via sanding, but there are very few identifiable
"curls". It *does* work, though it took 100 passes or so to remove a
small, shallow scratch in the piece of pine. The scraper certainly
doesn't get hot, as some people describe.
I see that some have mentioned that soft woods aren't the best to
scrape, but I don't know what the results should look like. Should I
see something better?
Greg Esres (in email@example.com) said:
| Burnished my first card scraper yesterday and tried it on a scrap
| piece of pine. The shavings I'm producing are powdery, though
| bigger than what I get via sanding, but there are very few
| identifiable "curls". It *does* work, though it took 100 passes or
| so to remove a small, shallow scratch in the piece of pine. The
| scraper certainly doesn't get hot, as some people describe.
| I see that some have mentioned that soft woods aren't the best to
| scrape, but I don't know what the results should look like. Should
| I see something better?
If you jointed the edge and burnished a good hook, you should get at
least some very fine curls. Lotsa work with only powder to show for it
is usually my clue that I need to rework the edge.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
<<Lotsa work with only powder to show for it
is usually my clue that I need to rework the edge.>>
<sigh> I was afraid of that. Three of my four burnished edges
perform about the same. The first one is useless. Guess I'll have to
file them down and try again.
Don't just file the edge. Once you have run a file over it, use an oil
stone on the flats and edge, this will give a much sharper cutting edge
I only use a file every 5-6 sharpenings and a stone for every 2nd one.
Just running your burnisher along the flat a couple of times and then
rolling the edge brings back a good cut.
It takes patience and practice to obtain a good cut. Also vary the angle
you burnish at and the angle you use the scraper at until you get what
As other have said, Once you get there you'll never go back.
I would suggest trying your edge on a piece of harder wood. My own results
with pine have been very variable. Part of the problem is that the
hardness, and therefore ease of scraping varies greatly with pine. When you
get the hang of it, it will become the best tool in the shop.
I found out after a lot of trial and error that there are a few tricks
to getting a servicable edge on the card scraper. I discovered that
when I would redo the old egde (lay it down on the bench flat, use the
burnishing tool to stand the edge back up, then with the card upright,
reburnish the old edge again) I would get a better edge than I had to
start. I then read one guy's method of burnishing a new edge was to lay
it flat first and burnish, then stand it up and burnish the cutting
edge. This seems to work a lot better. Also, the harder the wood, the
slicker the surface will be when you are done. Also do be prepared to
get your fingers blistered. These things get hot.
<<When you get the hang of it, it will become the best tool in the
So I read, but it's very frustrating right now. I was hoping it'd be
I'll follow your and Barry's advice to try harder wood before I accept
that my burnishing is flawed.
You got a good start but need to practice making the hook. DIY
Woodworking occasionally shows David Marks scraping a board with
beautiful fine shavings rolling off the wood. A blunt scraper that only
raises dust also has its uses. Broken glass also makes a good scraper
of that type.
What you describe sounds typical for pine. Planing is reputed
to produce a better surface on softwoods and that's how it
seems to work for me too.
Try some maple, cherry, and poplar. In my experiencs poplar
both planes and scrapes beautifully.
Scrapers are also supposed to be problematical on extremely
hard woods but I've no experience scraping ebony or rosewood.
A scraper can be tuned so finely that it will remove one layer of
lexposing another layer underneath, or course enough to take the knife
marks out of a cutting board with a dozen strokes or so.
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