Using a card scraper... the wrong way?

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Forum topic by jdcook72 posted 06-19-2013 08:16 AM 1368 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jdcook72's profile


12 posts in 1842 days

06-19-2013 08:16 AM

Topic tags/keywords: card scraper use technique question

Hello all,
I’m relatively new at woodworking and I’m slowly building up my cache of tools. My most recent purchase has been a couple card scrapers and a burnishing rod. One of the scrapers (Bahco) showed up in the mail today and made me very curious about something. It arrived with a protective plastic sleeve, in a re-sealable zipper storage plastic bag with branding and pictures indicating usage. The illustrations indicate the proper method is to draw the scraper toward you with fingertip pressure and NOT to push away with your thumbs. In every video demonstrating the use of a card scraper, I’ve always seen it used as counter-indicated. Anyone know why this might be?

Here’s a picture of the packaging (yes, that is my mug holding up the scraper, it did not come with a convenient handle):

5 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4878 posts in 3893 days

#1 posted 06-19-2013 11:21 AM

Push me, pull you. Doesn’t matter ‘cause either way will work as long as the scraper is well sharpened.
Also, there are zillions of ways to sharpen. Google card scraper sharpening and spen an afternoon watchin’ all the different techniques.
Good tool to have.


View JohnChung's profile


401 posts in 2007 days

#2 posted 06-19-2013 05:02 PM

I would say push is not desirable due to the strain on the thumbs. The card scraper should be hard in this case. Most cases a card scraper is sharpen and a burr is created on the edge for shavings. When there is a burr then shavings is created through pushing it.

I started carpentry through scrapers. It was used to remove old lacquer. Much cheaper than sandpaper and more efficient.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18662 posts in 2500 days

#3 posted 06-19-2013 05:22 PM

The typical process I use is to flex the card, which means you have to push. There is always more than one way to skin a cat.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View mds2's profile


310 posts in 1877 days

#4 posted 06-19-2013 05:23 PM

I’ve always got better results pushing. But I pull them too sometimes. As long as you have a nice burr, not too big, and the correct angle you will get good results. A scraper is one of my favorite tools.

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3581 days

#5 posted 06-19-2013 05:30 PM

you pull in order to:
  • achieve a more consistent (aka flatter) surface
  • reduce stress (and heat) on thumbs and scraper.
  • get finer cuts
you push in order to:
  • remove more material more aggressively
  • remove specific marks/areas on board (and then come back and flatten/blend with rest of board using pulls)
  • address only a pin pointed area of the board (flexing the scraper and creating a single point of scraping as opposed to entire edge of scraper)

use whatever works for each time you use the scraper for. no need to do only one.

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

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