Sharpening Cabinet Scrapers

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Forum topic by pyromedic602 posted 06-01-2008 02:49 AM 2245 views 1 time favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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164 posts in 3744 days

06-01-2008 02:49 AM

I just bought a new set of cabinet scrapers and have tryed sharpening them a few times today. I used a the mill file and squared up the edges and a burnishe to form the hook. Unfortunatly I am only getting saw dust when using them, I can not get the hook right to get shavings. I need suggestions to correct this or possibilities of what I am doing wrong such as using wrong technique when using the scraper. This is my first experience with them and I dont know what I dont know. help please.

-- Pyromedic602, free wood is always good wood

15 replies so far

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 3706 days

#1 posted 06-01-2008 03:28 AM

what are you using for a burnisher? does it have a small radius that you can use or is it only a rod? the small radius will allow more psi to form the edge. It has been a while since I sharpened mine but I think i went over it square to edge, then again at a slight angle to form hook I am sure there are others with better answers, how about it jocks?? Use lotsa force! but dont slip!

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 4081 days

#2 posted 06-01-2008 03:30 AM

Hey Pryo… It took me a few times to get the hang of it too. I found that after you mill file the edge, take to a sharpening stone and touch up the flats and the end. The use your burner. If you don’t have a burnisher, use a round shaft screw driver.

When you use it, be sure and put presure in the middle of the scraper and tilt it forward. It can take a bit of downward pressure to get a good bite. the tilt will vary a few degrees depending upon the curl you creat with the burnisher. Like a lot of things, it takes some practice. I know it took me a while to get the hang of it.

If you would like to discuss, just private message me and I’ll give you my phone number. Or you could just get it from Adrian.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#3 posted 06-01-2008 08:20 AM

I posted a little blog entry on this topic a ways back…not sure that it’ll help any, but…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View John Fry's profile

John Fry

74 posts in 3696 days

#4 posted 06-01-2008 03:39 PM

Sharpening a card scraper is like learning to ride a bicycle. You will struggle for quite a few times then “BINGO”, it will all come together, you will nail it, and then you’ll wonder why you ever had any difficulty.

Lee Valley has a great set of instructions they put out with their scrapers.

-- John, Chisel and Bit Custom Crafted Furniture,

View Derek Cohen's profile

Derek Cohen

370 posts in 3964 days

#5 posted 06-02-2008 04:48 PM

Try this article I wrote:

Regards from Perth


-- Buildiing furniture, and reviewing and building tools at

View pyromedic602's profile


164 posts in 3744 days

#6 posted 06-02-2008 05:24 PM

Thanks to all for the help. I use a burnisher that I purchased from woodcraft at the same time as I purchased my scrapers. Greg I have not tried using a sharpening stone on the edges yet just a file. Do I need to use it on both the long and short sides or just the long sides.

-- Pyromedic602, free wood is always good wood

View Joey's profile


276 posts in 3811 days

#7 posted 06-03-2008 02:36 AM

What works for me is squaring the edge with the mill file. use a sharpie to mark the edge, then use the mill file. when the sharpie’s color is gone you’ve done enough. lay the scraper flat and slide the burnisher back and forth the draw out the bur. then use the burnisher to start turning the bur back down into a hook.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms

View Don Mitchell's profile

Don Mitchell

40 posts in 4132 days

#8 posted 06-03-2008 03:22 AM

All I do is hold it against my support on the stationary belt sander, touch it to the sanding belt a couple of times to flatten the edge, then hook the bur with the stem of an old valve from a chevy truck! Its not fancy and I’m sure some will gasp in horror with my technique but its quick and effective.

-- Don

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3710 days

#9 posted 06-03-2008 04:13 AM

I’m having some trouble sharpening mine, too… I’m glad you posted this!

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View kycorvair's profile


5 posts in 3693 days

#10 posted 06-03-2008 04:37 AM

I also had great difficulty in sharpening a scraper until I saw a tutorial post on WWA Info Exchange posted by TMS.

I went from very fine sawdust to wide, very thin shavings after my first attempt. See this tutorial post at:

-- Dale, Owensboro, KY

View mattm's profile


27 posts in 3642 days

#11 posted 06-04-2008 05:14 AM

This is an issue I’m currently facing, as well. I have been able to get a burr, but I’m not exactly sure if it’s “big” enough. Also the little booklet I got with them from Lie Nielsen says to be careful not to cut myself on the burr. However, running my finger along it with some pretty good pressure assures me that no one is in danger of being cut by it. So, guess I will try some of the advice I’ve found here and give it another go (or three).

One other question, though. The booklet also says to oil them up between uses. What kind of oil am I supposed to use on them? Thanks much!!

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4093 days

#12 posted 06-04-2008 05:24 AM

A nice video in this topic is “Handscraper - The Ultimate Finishing Tool - Schwarz” if learning by video is your thing.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1892 posts in 3668 days

#13 posted 06-04-2008 06:08 AM

I’ve always admired the way that David Marks can just scrape a 12” long gossimer thin shaving with a cabinet scraper. I admire it so much, I try every time to follow his procedure, with the exception of using a waterstone to polish the edges. I use an Arkansas stone, with a water based lubricant. I’ve also tried to draw the burr first, then try to roll it over according to his procedure. Sawdust for me also. I’ve found that if you remove the old burr with a file, then polish the edge, and flatten the sides on a fine stone, then clamp the scraper in a vise, between 2 pieces of wood, about 1/2” above the vise jaw, then use the burnisher and apply extremely heavy pressure along the polished edge until you can feel the burr with your finger, you can achieve shavings. Hope that helps!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 3993 days

#14 posted 06-04-2008 07:14 AM

mattm – Lie Nielsen sells Camelia oil, so they’re more than likely referring to the use of some kind of oil to protect the steel from rust…

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4093 days

#15 posted 06-04-2008 07:59 AM

For burnishing, oil behind your ears….

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

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