What card scraper burnishers do you guys and gals recommend?

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Forum topic by Millo posted 12-06-2010 07:49 PM 9630 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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543 posts in 3077 days

12-06-2010 07:49 PM

I assume this has been asked before but upon searching on the subject I don’t I found comparisons between specific burnishers in the usual ww tool market…

The TRi-burnisher rom Lee Valley? The Lie-Nielsen? Crown, Two Cherries? For the Hock I’d need to purchase a handle to fit as well.

Thanks for your help!

18 replies so far

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3187 days

#1 posted 12-06-2010 08:01 PM

> “purchase a handle”

Blasphemy, you can simply make your own, even if you don’t own a lathe.

Triangle over the round ones, and the harder, the better. Sorry, I don’t have model #s or mfrs.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3037 days

#2 posted 12-06-2010 09:57 PM

The burnisher is simply a metal rod that’s harder than the scraper metal. You probably don’t need to worry too much about differences between burnisher brands – it’s more a question of whether you want to buy a burnisher or use some kind of metal rod you already have laying around.

Personally, I have a Crown and it works just fine.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3077 days

#3 posted 12-06-2010 10:25 PM

rance: hahaha, I assumed someone would throw that comment in. I’m a newb and would rather get a burnisher w/ a handle, although it’s an idea.

Hmm, I don’t think I have any polished metal rods, except for crappy screwdrivers. I’ll look around. However, if the Crown works fine, I might go that route.

How about curved scrapers?

Also, has anyone actually tried that Tri-burnisher?

Thanks everyone!

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3101 days

#4 posted 12-06-2010 11:04 PM

I have difficulty figuring out what features would distinguish one burnisher from another. Some may be longer than others and the diameter of the rod may vary a little and some may have a nicer handle than others. However, when it comes to doing the job they are designed to do, I doubt that any one does a significantly better job than the others.

I have a used one that I bought used some time ago. I do not know the brand, but the word “India” is stamped on the handle. I assume it was made in India. It words just fine.

Before I picked this burnisher up, I used the back side of a bowl gouge I use for turning. It worked fine, but the large handle made it a little awkward to work with.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3077 days

#5 posted 12-06-2010 11:23 PM

richgreer: I have the same difficulty, LOL!

I guess hardness of material would be one of those features. The Veritas Tri-burnisher is Rc 58-60, while the Hock is a bit harder at Rc 64. I have the Lynx set sold at Woodcraft, most of them are curved except for one card scraper. For reference, the Lie-Nielsen scrapers are Rc 49-51, and ones I’ve seen at LeeValley are Rc 51-53 and others 48-51, etc…

I can only assume the crappy screwdrivers I have, which I do not remember as being nicely-polished are softer than the card scrapers… maybe not.

View swirt's profile


2786 posts in 2999 days

#6 posted 12-06-2010 11:28 PM

If you follow Chris Schwarz at all (editor Popular Woodworking) he is a guy that when he recommends a tool, the price on ebay jumps measurably. He rarely condemns a tool. The only tool I’ve ever noticed him speak specifically about by brand as being poor is the Crown Burnisher. (well that AND the crazy chisels with the rasps built in LOL) I think I also remember reading something David Charlesworth wrote where he suggested the Crown burnisher was not up to snuff.

A burnisher has to be two things. Considerably harder than the metal you are burnishing and highly polished.

There are a pair of videos from a presentation Chris did on card scrapers that is long, but worth watching (together they are over an hour long, so better make some popcorn) You can find them both at the very bottom of the page here.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3142 days

#7 posted 12-07-2010 12:33 AM

its also a matter of you prefer the round type ot the triangle type
the triangle type do a great job but can dig in if you ainĀ“t carefull enoff
and take a little time to get used to speciel on a gooseneck scraper
on that I will recomend using a round type on inside round cardscrapers

good luck with the travel into the scraperworld :-) remember its just a tecnic that has to be learned


View TheDane's profile


5441 posts in 3690 days

#8 posted 12-07-2010 12:55 AM

I have a round ‘Swiss Made’ (don’t recall who I bought it from and it doesn’t have a brand name in it).

It does the job just fine.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 4051 days

#9 posted 12-07-2010 01:01 AM

I have been generally disappointed with Crown steel. My personal burnisher is made from a HSS drill bit set in a handle – works great!

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3101 days

#10 posted 12-07-2010 01:14 AM

A burnisher needs to be made with a harder steel than the steel in the scrapper being burnished. That principle is accepted by all. The question I have is does it matter how much higher. Does an Rc 64 perform better than an Rc 60? I really don’t know, but I suspect it makes no difference.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Paul C.'s profile

Paul C.

154 posts in 3272 days

#11 posted 12-07-2010 01:18 AM

I have and love the lie-nielson burnisher. I prefer it to the LV one…

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3101 days

#12 posted 12-07-2010 01:34 AM

Paul C. – I’m just curious. Can you explain what makes an LN burnisher better than an LV burnisher?

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3077 days

#13 posted 12-07-2010 08:10 AM

Thanks a bunch for all your help, guys.

Swirt: I actually had seen that page and was looking for it! Thanks! Tons of info plus links, great stuff!

Like richgreer, I have that question regarding the difference in four points in the Rockwell scale—is this difference significant, and is it evident when burnishing?

Re: Crown… I have the typical gent’s saw. I have seen real pros making dovetail joints in a heartbeat with a sharp, “de-set” Crown saw. My particular saw is bent from the spine down. I hadn’t noticed this until after I went to the one-day course where this aforementioned pro used the Crown, and I used another one as well. Judging by this tool I guess it’s easy to believe that with many manufacturers generally considered “good” making scraper burnishers, the Crown might be subpar. I have officially scratched it from the list.

I haven’t even touched my gent’s saw in a while but UPS is bringing soon Chris Schwarz’s DVD on sawing, which I will watch and then get to practice some cuts w/ it.

View Paul C.'s profile

Paul C.

154 posts in 3272 days

#14 posted 12-07-2010 05:50 PM


It is carbide, rather than whatever the LV is made of, so it is harder, I think. I find it much easier to turn a burr with it. To be clear, almost all my hand tools are from LV, so it is rare for me to prefer someone else’s tool. :-)

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4949 posts in 3987 days

#15 posted 12-07-2010 05:56 PM

I solved the problem. I made my own from an engine wrist pin. Ain’t gonna get any harder, and it is chromed. Handles on both ends. Free of cost, and it works.


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