A bit of a scrape

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Blog entry by Div posted 05-18-2010 10:45 PM 1658 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Yesterday I had a client walk in the shop with some clear Pine boards and the request to joint it up into an L-shaped kitchen countertop, 24” wide. Work is work and I told him to come and collect tomorrow. In between other work, I planed the boards and noticed they were somewhat resinous but didn’t give it much thought. This morning I took the tops out of the clamps for a few passes through the drum sander. When I noticed sticky dust on the exit side, I knew I had a problem.
When I opened the machine, the paper was completely gummed up. Not wanting to waste another length of expensive drum sandpaper, I thought I would finish up with the orbital sander. My word, I was gumming up discs faster than I could change them! I had 60 grit paper on the drum sander at the time, so there were some serious scratches on the top. No ways was I going to get rid of them by sanding (unless I used up a box full of sanding discs; goodbye profit!)
In desperation, I hauled out my trusty Stanley no.80 scraper plane. What! On soft wood? I had never done that before. Anticipating problems, I gave the blade a real keen edge. When these fluffy shavings started floating from the mouth of my plane, I smiled pretty wide. The battle was won. What counted in my favor was the fact that the boards were all quarter sawn. Still, it was a first for me. Never before had I even considered using a scraper on soft wood. I wonder if any other LJ has.
Oh, and don’t ask what kind of Pine, I don’t know. Only a few species are grown commercially here (Loblolly (Pinus taeda), Slash (Pinus elliotti) and Monterrey (Pinus radiatta)) and we don’t have any indigenous Pines.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

5 comments so far

View skeeter's profile


233 posts in 3580 days

#1 posted 05-18-2010 11:16 PM

i want a scraper plane. I couldn’t think of a worse countertop than Pine. Hey your getting paid and it’s not going in your house.

-- My philosophy: Somewhere between Norm and Roy

View AaronK's profile


1507 posts in 3703 days

#2 posted 05-19-2010 12:25 AM

the first time i tried to use a scraper, it was on poplar. worked OK on some spots, horribly on others. Little did I know that

1. poplar is notoriously fuzzy
2. like you say, scrapers on soft woods dunt work to well

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3816 days

#3 posted 05-19-2010 02:55 AM

good save

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3225 days

#4 posted 05-19-2010 03:55 AM


I hate pine, I hate it so very much and after I finish my bed, I’m going to try very hard to avoid working with it. It’s the sap that kills me. (and my sandpaper)

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Dave Pearce's profile

Dave Pearce

108 posts in 3911 days

#5 posted 05-19-2010 03:55 PM

Never had much of a problem using the cabinet scraper on pine, although like you mention, I’m sure it depends on the type. I’ve found taking a light cut works best, as you’ve noted that pine can be relatively soft. It’s slow going, but does help get the job done. Sometimes I’ve had to “pick” the hook a little bit to reduce the angle for softwoods. Just run an awl or the tang of a file underneath the hook a couple of times to pull back the hook angle slightly, and it should work fine.

I’ve got the Veritas version of the No. 80, as well as their handy scraper holder, I usually start with the 80, then finish off with the scraper holder. If you’ve got a smoothing plane tuned up to the max, sometimes you’re able to get by with just that.


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