Reply by docholladay

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Posted on Card scrapers vs. sanding

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1287 posts in 3055 days

#1 posted 08-24-2010 07:06 AM

I use card scrapers frequently. Also, I recently aquired an old Stanley #80 Cabinet Scraper. I really like the control that this tool gives to the use of a scraper. It is basically nothing more than a tool that holds a card scraper at a fixed angle. Once I got it tuned up nicely, I was thoroughly satisfied with the surface that it leaves behind. I don’t use scrapers (or planes for that matter) a lot on soft woods. The surface just isn’t as polished on softer woods as it is on a hard wood. However, on most hard woods, the surface left by a well prepared plane or scraper is ready for finish right off of the blade. The biggest reason that I prefer scraping, or planing to sanding is the dust. I hate the dust created by sanding and it is amplified many times over by power sanding. I am also much less likely to accidentally round over an edge or something like that with a scraper than I am with a power sander. The important thing is the preparation of the scraper. It really is a bit of a mis-nomer to call it a scraper because it really does not scrape the wood. If you were merely scraping, it would produce dust much like that of sanding. However, a well prepared scraper produces very fine shavings that are actually cut. This, to me, is the key to the effective use of a scraper. I also think it is important to note that there are card scrapers and then there are the scraper tools used for scraping glue squeeze out or possibly scraping paint off of wood. The later tools are scraping tools. They do not really cut the surface as much as they are designed to remove things adhered to the surface of the wood and to help get down to the bear surface of the wood. The surface left by these tools is not acceptable for finish, in most cases. However, the properly tuned card scraper is actually a cutting tool like a very finely set smoothing plane would be and therefore is cutting a new surface and not simply scraping or smoothing the surface that is already there. It will not obscure the grain with dust as some sanding operations can do.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

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