Sunday, November 29, 2009

Scraper or Sandpaper?

I grew up with the notion that sandpaper was the way to finish a wooden project, and later learned that steel wool was also the way to go.


So there is a better alternative to the dust and fine particles from sanding.

The “cabinet scraper”, correctly sharpened can produce a better finish than even some Japanese finshing plane, especially in highly figured or gnarly and knotted woods.  The blade requires some special attention – firstly the width of the blade’s diagonal edge, needs to be approximately 1.5 to 1.7 x the thickness of the blade.  Knowing this, the angle is evident.

The blade is a Hoc scraper blade, which cost about $45 and really makes a difference.  The blade is 2” wide and best sharpened this way.

Firstly hold the blade on the edge of a table top, and use a bastard file to get the initial edge.  Do not use a wheel grinder, the bastard is a good tool to get a flat edge.  Once a nice bur is obtained move to the diamond stone.  Progress to bester, then to polishing stone, all the time paying attention to a flat back and a good flat forward angle.

The final part is to properly use a Jewler’s Burninshing rod tool with some 3in1 oil work the sharp edge into a curl of steel – this is the very secret to the tool taking off fine shavings regardless of grain direction.  Even the Japanese can’t do this.

So given that there are no sanding partilces only shavings and no noise and expensive sandpaper, give me a scraper any day!

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