Tried card scraping...went OK.

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Forum topic by bbasiaga posted 04-16-2015 06:04 AM 1508 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1199 posts in 1958 days

04-16-2015 06:04 AM

Topic tags/keywords: card scraper scrape question

I hate sanding, so I decided to try a card scraper. For about $40 from Woodcraft I got a set of two card scrapers and a rod type burnisher. I took a scrap of cherry and made a slot in it to hold my file so I have an easy way to joint the card.

I tried the method of burnishing where by you clamp the card in a vice and push down hard on it. I got a burr, but maybe not the best one. Perhaps I’ll try the draw-out method next.

I practiced on a scrap of cherry, and got some results. I was definitely getting more than sawdust, but less than planer curls. The surface was definitely improved, but I would say it is not ready for finishing. Would have still required some sanding.

So for those of you who regularly scrape, should I have been getting big curls from cherry? I’m trying to figure out if I need to improve the edge on the scraper, or if I’m getting what I’m supposed to. The best way I can describe it is to say I got little rolls of small flakes, not long or continuous curls.

Another question I would have is how much bend do you need to put in the card. The larger one I got in the set is a bit thicker, and requires quite a bit of pressure to get a noticeable bend.

At this point, having just got this today and tried it for the first time, I can’t imagine scraping a whole table. For smaller projects maybe. Unless I get a lot better at it and figure out how to get that final finish result from just scraping.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

19 replies so far

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 1855 days

#1 posted 04-16-2015 06:14 AM

Never tried card scraping. To remove dried glue yes, but to replace a sanded finish? I’ll be watching here for inspiration.

Scraping a whole table? I scraped the floor once on a new year’s eve. Ah, to be young again.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View Andre's profile


1775 posts in 1769 days

#2 posted 04-16-2015 06:30 AM

Card scrappers have there place but I find more often than not I depend on my Cabinet scrapper. I have a Vintage Stanley with a Hock blade and a new Vertias but usually reach for the Stanely firist. Saw a jig a while back for putting the burr on the blade edge which looks like something that will find its way into my shop soon!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View jdh122's profile


995 posts in 2780 days

#3 posted 04-16-2015 10:08 AM

Like you I hate sanding. Planing is best, and I find with nice straight-grained wood I can go directly to finishing after planing. But most wood is not that straight-grained and I end up with some tear-out that needs to be scraped. So I use a card scraper a lot. I find, though, that after scraping I still need to do a final sanding (by hand, 180-220) before finishing.
I’m not sure if I’d describe scraping as giving “big curls,” but you should be able to get more than flakes from a scraper, on cherry or any other common North American hardwood.
I always draw the bur by running my burnisher along the scraper, generally along the face. Just a couple times, not with excessive force. Then into the vice to draw along the edge at a very slight angle.
It would be pretty rare for someone to scrape a whole table with a card scraper, and your hands and arms would be ready to fall off after. A cabinet scraper is much better for levelling surfaces, but not as good for final surface preparation.
As for the amount of bend, it depends on how sharp the scraper is, how much hook you put on it, etc. But I do find that the thickest scrapers are hard to use (I have a set of these from Lee Valley,310,41069&ap=1 and find that the 1 mm is too thick).

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View OSU55's profile


1624 posts in 1952 days

#4 posted 04-16-2015 11:09 AM

Sounds like you did pretty well for the 1st attempt. Two things about card scrapers that, for me, make them sort of special use tools – short edge life and they will wear out your hands. Veritas makes a holder that works great, but doesn’t address the short edge life. I use a Veritas scraper plane (reviewed here) that won’t tear out reversing grain and leaves a surface ready to finish. The card scrapers get used in areas either too small or that I can’t get to with the scraper plane. A Stanley #80 cabinet scraper is superior to a card scraper as well. I prefer it to the Veritas or Woodriver designs. My #80 primarily gets used for glue scraper duty, which it is excellent for.

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1193 days

#5 posted 04-16-2015 12:05 PM

I have a Crown and then made my own from an old saw blade. the saw blade works better and holds a better hook.

I would say you should be getting what your hook would cut. If you put an aggressive hook on there you should be getting some nice shavings (more like real fine plane shavings) if you only place a moderate to small hook on the scraper you may be making nothing more than dust. But the question is what are you looking to get?

Go to auto zone and buy a push rod for a chevy 350. $2. hardened steel. turns a nice hook. Sorry to tell you that after you drop cash for one.

I kerfed a 1.5×1.5 block of mahogany and tapped a file in it. that is a good way of flattening the edge.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2653 days

#6 posted 04-17-2015 12:22 AM

I have used shop made card scrapers with a holder that holds them them in a curved position. There have been several of these holders posted as projects.

Last year my buddy (LJ) eddie gave me a totally different type of card scraper from Stewart McDonald Luthier Supply. It is ~ 3/16” thick, sharpened differently, and works MUCH better than conventional card scrapers in my hands. I scraped a big hickory project without sharpening once and it was still making thin shavings when I finished.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View bbasiaga's profile


1199 posts in 1958 days

#7 posted 04-17-2015 03:46 AM

That thing looks nice. I’d need a grinder though. I’m going to have to find some time to mess more with my current scrapers and see what I can do with them.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Aj2's profile


1352 posts in 1761 days

#8 posted 04-17-2015 04:10 AM

Don’t give up too soon on your card scrapers,I use two and there’s nothing special about them one is a crown one is a banco. I’ve been Useing them a lot in the past two months on hickory and the edge is really easy to refresh.
When the card no longer turns a good hook or becomes toothey.Its time to file or joint the edge flat and square.
On a freshly jointed edge I draw the steel out laying flat on the bench then turn the hook.Draw out the edge firmly but turn the first few hooks lightly.If you go too far draw it out straight again.It Doent take much to get a edge too cut.Aj

-- Aj

View bbasiaga's profile


1199 posts in 1958 days

#9 posted 04-17-2015 04:17 AM

I think I will try that method – drawing out the burr by laying the card flat on the table. The method I first saw on youtube was to push down on the narrow edge and get a burr on both sides. Not sure how well that is working for me.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1299 days

#10 posted 04-18-2015 03:15 AM

Look on YouTube for the William Ng video on how he uses water stones to hone the cutting edge and then a burnisher to create the burr. It is a simple method and I’ve had great results stoning the card scraper compared to file jointing the edge. Oh, using just a tad of oil on the burnisher makes it work much easier.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View TheFridge's profile


9249 posts in 1449 days

#11 posted 04-18-2015 03:23 AM

Look on YouTube for the William Ng video on how he uses water stones to hone the cutting edge and then a burnisher to create the burr. It is a simple method and I ve had great results stoning the card scraper compared to file jointing the edge. Oh, using just a tad of oil on the burnisher makes it work much easier.

- ElChe

He got to it before me. William Ng. I don’t use his method to a T, but I burnish it kinda like how he does. Sharpened it and scraped a hardwood 20×48 bench top in 10 min or less.

It’s one of those things that take practice to find a way that works for you. A file, small veritas? burnisher and a 600-1200 double sided eze-lap and I get curlies.

Edit: I don’t bother with using my jig to keep it straight up and down. A couple degrees either way hasn’t made a difference I’ve found.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View waho6o9's profile


8162 posts in 2540 days

#12 posted 04-18-2015 04:51 AM

Good call on the William Ng video ^

View bbasiaga's profile


1199 posts in 1958 days

#13 posted 04-18-2015 05:43 AM

Sigh…10% of the work, 10x the results. I’ll have to try that. I don’t have a 4000grit stone, but I can approximate something.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

346 posts in 2425 days

#14 posted 04-18-2015 01:15 PM

Card scraping will not leave a surface ready for finish, you will still have to sand. I use my scrapers to repair tearout or work a surface with a lot of potential tearout. They are also idea for knocking down a surface after sending a piece through a belt sander… I do this for veneered panels, the scraper knocks down the thicker grits so I can get to a 220 final sanding.

You will not get a decent burr on a brand new card scraper, you have to do some work first. I’d flatten the edges on a water stone on all four edges until you get a consistent color scratch pattern (like you would on a new less than flat bench chisel)- I find this to be a long annoying process, but only because card scraper are cut from rolls of steel and are not flat. Once flat, I’d take a file and flatten the edge then over to water stone and hone to get a consistent scratch pattern, so now the card side and edge are Square to each other, and there is no burr. Then clamp it in the vise and hit the edge with the burnisher….You don’t have to push hard, but be sure to keep you burnished flat and you will start to see the metal give way… Then, tilt the burnisher a few degrees over the edge and hit each side… You should get a nice burr that take shavings.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1898 days

#15 posted 04-18-2015 01:46 PM

I agree on William Ng. That’s how I prep my scrapers. I have sadly found that it typically takes planing, scraping, and sanding to get my projects finish ready. Rarely do even two out of the three do it all. That said, the less I can sand, the happier I am. And card scrapers and planes reduce my sanding time by a lot, so they are worth using in my book.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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