card scraper questions

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JohnnyR

John
Corporate Member
It seems that when I tune up a card scraper it works great, taking wood from an 80 grit to 150 without the dust or noise of a ROS. However it seems that the burr doesn't last long and I end up with dust rather than shavings fairly quickly. Does the heat generated cause the burr to fail? Do you scrape with one edge until your thumbs burn or do you change edges every stroke? It seems like touching up with the burnisher doesn't do a whole lot unless I file it down first.
I've got a cabinet scraper that I haven't had much success with, including some tearout on walnut.
Next question, does anyone put on a finish after scraping without sanding? I never have as some areas seem burnishes, such as around knots, and some times I get streak marks.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Without seeing the burr I can only guess that maybe you are turning too much of a burr that is breaking off quickly or too little burr which dulls quickly. A third possibility could be the metal is a little too soft.

get a 10x jeweler's loupe to examine the burr, try fewer strokes with the burnisher then try more strokes to see if either give a better result. Check with the loupe at beginning, midway, and after using till completely dull so you see, understand, and can easily feel when the burr is optimal.
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
I find my thumbs get tired quickly bending the scraper so I use a holder made by Veritas that keeps it at a bend. I do have to keep removing and rotating the card to get to the 3 other sides this way. The length of time the edge holds up will depend on a lot of things including the hardness of the card itself. I usually use a scraper for touch-ups so tend to sand the entire piece after using it, but I see no reason you couldn't go straight from scraper (or hand plane for that matter) straight to finish.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=32669&cat=1,310 <== Scraper Holder.

Mike D will probably have much better advice than what little I've described here. And even beat me to a response.
 
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Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
It seems like touching up with the burnisher doesn't do a whole lot unless I file it down first.
.
I just noticed this, do you hone the edge beyond the file?
I always hone with my three stones just like I was sharpening a plane blade but with the card square to the stone. Hone both sides and the standing edge to at least 600 grit if not higher. If the wood finish looks like 150 grit sandpapered then the card was not honed to a polish before turning the burr. The scraper should leave a highly smooth surface, not burnished and not even slightly rough, but very smooth like 400 or even 600 grit papered. But, better than sand papered, clean cut and clear grained instead of powdery and cloudy.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
It seems that when I tune up a card scraper it works great, taking wood from an 80 grit to 150 without the dust or noise of a ROS. However it seems that the burr doesn't last long and I end up with dust rather than shavings fairly quickly. Does the heat generated cause the burr to fail? Do you scrape with one edge until your thumbs burn or do you change edges every stroke? It seems like touching up with the burnisher doesn't do a whole lot unless I file it down first.
I've got a cabinet scraper that I haven't had much success with, including some tearout on walnut.
Next question, does anyone put on a finish after scraping without sanding? I never have as some areas seem burnishes, such as around knots, and some times I get streak marks.
Are you sanding with 80 grit before scraping? If so, the grit from the paper may be what is dulling your scraper prematurely. I do not sand before using either planes or scrapers because of this. What little sanding I do is just the final work before applying the finish. If you do sand first, vacuum the surface well before using the bladed tools or scrapers.

When touching up the burr, I first lay the card flat, lay the burnisher flat on the card side and draw the burr back to the edge. I then flip it up and run down the edge a couple times to re-establish the burr. A little light oil on the burnisher makes it work better and smoother.

The sawdust as opposed to shavings indicates to me that either you don't have enough burr, or you are not laying the card over far enough. If you really have to lay the card over, then you actually may be turning too big of a burr, which also makes it fragile, so it will break off and dull quickly. (What Mike said, lol).

Sometimes, I will finish off the prep by honing the card sides and edge to about 1000 gr, and then turn a burr. I then stroke the entire length of the piece, slightly overlapping, and then finish. For large pieces, though, this is somewhat time consuming, so that is when a ROS or sanding block comes in handy.

JMTCW

Go
 

smallboat

smallboat
Corporate Member
I'll have to try this. I've been merrily using my scraper for years with just file and burnish but if honing makes it even better I'll add that to the ritual.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
Just had another thought. When using a scraper, the force should be forward, not down. If you are pressing the edge down too hard, you can deform and dull the burr. It will also cause more friction and heat.

Go
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
I too struggled with preparing my first card scrapers to make shavings instead of saw dust. Brian Boggs demonstrates the points that Mike raised so it may be helpful to you. It was my go to demonstration about 8 years ago and I still use it as a refresher course.

http://www.finewoodworking.com/2005/10/25/tune-up-a-card-scraper

I finally bought the jointer/edger and variable burnisher from Veritas which made my process repeatable (read the instructions links with diagrams even if you don't buy the products).

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?cat=1,310&p=61448

What's a good vertical angle tilt for using a card scraper?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz6EpQu2HRo
 

JohnnyR

John
Corporate Member
Thanks for all the responses. If I have tearout or did a poor job of aligning glue-ups I'll start with 80 grit on the drum sander. Usually blow off the dust before the next step. I do hone the card up to 1000 on a diamond stone although Dan the man makes a good case for just burnishing after filing at least for prep work. Sounds like the most likely problem is too much of a burr. I'll try just a couple strokes. I don't use an excessive amount of pressure.
 

Tarhead

Mark
Corporate Member
As you are more likely to have a cellphone than a loupe in your pocket there are phone apps that allow you to use the camera as a macroscope with the flash LED on. If you're still having problems after trying some of the advice from above and are using a fairly new scraper you might try filing ~1/16" off of one edge to get to non-work hardened steel. They are punched out and the heat and pressure generated can harden the steel around the edges.
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
I'll have to try this. I've been merrily using my scraper for years with just file and burnish but if honing makes it even better I'll add that to the ritual.
Well Smallboat
I have around 6 card scrapers. I keep one in my back pocket all day in the shop. I use it a bunch. Like you, I dress this with a mill file, roll the burr and go to work. Dull? Draw file and roll. 2 minutes max. This is not a final finish step. You are removing wood with a serrated burr and it will not be smooth like Mike and others are getting with a sharp even burr.

You can follow up with the finish scraper after the rough scraping. I might add the card scraper done with the file only will produce shavings not dust. If you card scraper is producing dust, something is not right.

Sanding before planing or scraping is a questionable schedule. Tools dull faster from the imbedded abrasives. You really see that happen when you work spindles on a lathe with sand paper and then go back with a skew to touch things up. That edge is gone in no time. I use sand paper when turning but its usually after scraping not cutting.

In the recent FWW, Curtis Buchanan points out that you will dull the finish on your spindles if you follow well cut surfaces with a skew and then sand with paper as fine as 600grit. I tried this out on a maple blank and he's spot on. The cut surface shines -- the sanded surface just didn't have the same feel or look.
 

Rwe2156

DrBob
Senior User
I agree with Mike the prepping BEFORE you burnish is really most important. Going straight from a file to burnisher is going to create a very ragged edge that may be fine for general scraping but not if you want a good finish.

I still have my issues sometimes with scrapers, but its usually because I'm in a hurry and don't do it right.

I use a little block of wood to keep the edge perp to the stone and I go all the way to 8000 grit.

Also, prior to turning the edge, I lay the card flat and draw out the egde with a few strokes almost parallel.

I can usually touch up the scraper during use maybe 3 times at most.

Also, you have to start with a good quality scraper the metal is rally important.
 
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Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
I agree with Dan on using a file and burnisher for initial work. I do the honing for the fine finish.

But, if your thumbs get hot and your hands tired, another option is to look around at some flea markets and you may find a good Stanley #80 for cheap. My BIL found this one for a dollar (it had a spokeshave blade in it when he bought it), and said to himself "that looks like something Mark would use", so he bought it and gave it to me. A new blade from Lee Valley, a little cleaning on the sole,and I was in business. Sure reduced my need for sand paper. If you notice in the one photo I have a cardboard sheath on the exposed blade edge. The ones from Lee Valley have an edge on each side, and it can cause you to leak red stuff if you aren't carefull.



 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member






Mark
I have a Stanley 80 and would recommend it to any scraper users. Its a good tool. For finish work I pull out the 112 with a Hock blade in it. It really makes scraping a finished surface a pleasure. The tool is something I might have skipped but I use it mostly for toothing prep for veneer work. Its a tool you need if you do a good bit of veneering.

Additionally, it is fantastic for leveling curly maple. Maybe some others have one of these and they'll give their feedback. The one I own is an old stanley but I've seen the newer LN versions and as you might expect.. they are very well made. LN makes 2 versions of this tool. One has the ability to adjust the angle like the one above and the other is fixed. Talking with owners of the fixed type say the have no need to adjust the angle. So.. choices again.

No adjustment LN



Adjustable
one with double knurled knobs


Something
to consider with Christmas around the corner maybe?

 

smallboat

smallboat
Corporate Member
This is all great info- I love the scraper ( as I hate sanding) but clearly I can take it a step or two further than I have been.
As I get further down the road with my first furniture project I expect I'll look back at this thread for guidance-

Thanks all

FWIW I first got into using scrapers on epoxy saturated wood in boats.
pulling shavings beats the heck out of making dust any day.
 

Jim Wallace

jimwallacewoodturning.com
Jim
Scrapers are some of my favorite and most used tools. I happen to have both L-N scraper planes (both bought used). The larger one with the adjustable angle is a wonderful tool, but I prefer the smaller one. Having a narrower blade makes it easier to push, the blade goes all the way to the edge of the plane (like a rabbet plane) which is very handy at times, and I don't really get all that much use out of the adjustable angle on the larger plane. The larger plane is closer to the Stanley 112.
 
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