Card Scraper Newbie

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Forum topic by Walnut_Weasel posted 09-03-2009 03:52 PM 1821 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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360 posts in 3220 days

09-03-2009 03:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: card scraper

I have been working on teaching myself how to correctly “sharpen” and use a card scraper. After a lot of research and frustration I finally was able to get a nice burr turned over last night. Come to find out, I think I was pushing down far too hard. Regardless, I was able to make nice fluffy curls from a piece of cherry. However, when I then looked at the passes, there were small horizontal lines left in the pass that looks like the scraper was “chattering.” Is this a result of the burr still not being formed correctly, or because of poor scraping technique?

-- James -

14 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3647 days

#1 posted 09-03-2009 04:06 PM


did you feel the scraper chatter when you were operating it? it WILL chatter if held in certain angles, and pushed in certain directions of the grain – the more experience you get with it, the more familiar you’ll be with the angling of the edge of the scraper to avoid those chatters – you’ve got to find that “sweet spot”, and the rest will follow

as for physics (to confirm that it’s not the blade burr) – if your edge wasn’t burred properly, you’d have LONG lines IN THE DIRECTION of your scraping – not perpendicular to it (which is what the chattering IS). OR – you wouldn’t even get ANY shavings at all (or they would be narrow, and have cut lines in them)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4245 days

#2 posted 09-03-2009 04:14 PM

Todd Clippinger made a video on the subject, I don’t know how to find it unless maybe look under Videos up top. It’s a great informative video and you’ll be a pro after watching it. Mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Sam Yerardi's profile

Sam Yerardi

244 posts in 3893 days

#3 posted 09-03-2009 04:26 PM


You might not be arcing the card as you use it. One method is to curl your fingers around the card sides and press with both thumbs such that the card arcs slightly away from you.

-- Sam

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3820 days

#4 posted 09-03-2009 05:52 PM

Here is Todd Clippinger’s video on sharpening and using a card scraper that Mike was referring to. It is a two part series that is well produced and is a good tutorial on getting started using a scraper.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4159 days

#5 posted 09-21-2009 06:22 PM

and here is one by Blake

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3332 days

#6 posted 09-23-2009 06:03 PM

I agree with Sam that putting an arc in the scraper with your thumbs helps if you are using it in a pushing motion. However, you have to be careful that you don’t plow a furrow into the surface. It also helps to hold it at an angle to the grain similar to using a handplane. If you are pulling it towards you, you need to put outside pressure on the face with the fingers of your right hand if you are right handed, also at an angle. Todd Clippinger’s video was excellent, but only applies when you will be finish sanding the surface after scraping, as he says a zillion times in the video. Another little tip is that if you back up the scraper with a piece of leather you won’t feel the heat as much.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4098 days

#7 posted 09-23-2009 06:32 PM

My video has a lot of visual, unstated information as you watch the scraper in action that may help. I talk a little bit about how to hold the scraper, the angle, and placement of the thumbs.

Flipping and manipulating the focused on the cutting edge will help it run cooler. I talk about this in the video as well.

Are the apparent chatter marks running perpendicular to the travel direction of the scraper?

Could they be left over from sending the board through the power planer? Remember, the scraper is not a handplane and takes off less per pass. It would take several passes to clean off the power planer marks.

The light material removal is a benefit because it makes it difficult to screw up a piece of work.

Notice the board in my video has some lines in it left by the scraper. These are very shallow and come out quickly with the random orbital sander. I don’t bother with burnishing the fine burr onto the edge.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Walnut_Weasel's profile


360 posts in 3220 days

#8 posted 09-23-2009 07:17 PM

Thanks for the additional information. I do need to try your technique at some point through right now I have been focused on using a scraper with a burr. (I am chasing the dream of little to no sanding that I have heard hard-core hand tool users preaching)

Long boring story short – I have very few tools – including a proper area to work. Because of this when scraping the card was very close to my body at the beginning of the stroke preventing me from getting good leverage onto the scraper. The scraper would hang slightly from time to time. Each time that it would hang up (even just a fraction of a second) it would make a very small chatter mark. I have since re-orginized things a bit so that I can have a much more secure stance and in turn, have a nice smooth stroke from beginning to end and that seems to have fixed the problem.

I have also been trying to learn to use a hand plane. The lack of work space is compounded even more…making the process very frustrating. Bottom line is I need to get a good sized, stable workbench that I can use either clamps or dogs to secure the piece and get my body behind the stroke to stabilize it.

-- James -

View DaleM's profile


958 posts in 3382 days

#9 posted 09-23-2009 07:38 PM

James, I’m fairly new at using a scraper myself and have been using the file method that Todd and Blake use. You said you are focused on using a scraper with a burr. The file does put a burr on the scraper, and a very sharp one at that. The difference is, it’s a straight burr, very close to 90 degrees to the scraper, not a curved burr curled away from the edge and probably won’t be as uniform as a burnished edge.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3647 days

#10 posted 09-23-2009 07:51 PM

James – you got that right – a good workbench/worksurface is essential, otherwise everything else has to compensate for it , and you’re getting into a cycle of fixing something with something else that shouldn’t have had to be fixed in the first place.

using a card scraper (I burnish mine, and haven’t seen a sander/sand paper in a long time) requires you to find the “sweet spot” – at the right angle, with the right pressure, and the right curve – it takes some practice, but it’s well worth it. the only time I pick up a sand paper is to clean metal blades, or 400/600grit between coats of poly finish. never need to clean my planing/scraping surfaces as they are glass smooth.

practice practice practice

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Alan's profile


443 posts in 3402 days

#11 posted 09-23-2009 08:10 PM

OK, I putting a set or card scraper on my Christmas wish list. I hate sanding.

-- Alan, Prince George

View Walnut_Weasel's profile


360 posts in 3220 days

#12 posted 09-23-2009 09:58 PM

Everyone has me curious. I need to compare both sharpening methods and post what differences I find…if any.

-- James -

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 3691 days

#13 posted 09-23-2009 10:44 PM

I have rolled an edge on a card scraper and like the finish. It really was a “finished” surface. The problem is that I found that my card scraper didn’t hold its burr that long and the process was too long to roll a new one.

I used Todd’s method and it worked but the finish still needed to get a final sanding( just like he said it would). The thing is Todd’s method is so quick and easy that I can keep a usable card scraper handy and even be aggressive with it if I want to. I can get down to that last little bit of roughness real fast and then get my ROS with 220 real quick and I’m done. Its a different concept on how to use a card scraper but its fast and it works.

I’m still on the fence though. Some guys claim that a sliced fiber finish is smother than a sander finish.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View laflaone's profile


59 posts in 3679 days

#14 posted 09-25-2009 02:36 AM

Todd Clippinger’s earlier post has it dead on. I don’t bother with a burr, just use the method Todd has in his video, and I get great results. Plus, the sharpening is quick. Trying to roll a burr is time consuming. Why bother with it if you don’t need it?

-- "non illegitimis carborundum"

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