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Cabinet scraper sharpening system?

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  • Cabinet scraper sharpening system?

    Anybody know of a cabinet scraper jig you can make? I'd obviously use a file and maybe an old drill bit right? I swear I saw this once but can't find it. I'd rather make something instead of buy one. They seem to be pricey.

  • #2
    Re: Cabinet scraper sharpening system?


    small jig for file

    one more pictures of a jig on a nother discussion board,
    Last edited by BHD; 08-29-2009, 11:26 PM.
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    • #3
      Re: Cabinet scraper sharpening system?

      Holy crap, thank you very much!!!


      • #4
        Re: Cabinet scraper sharpening system?

        You don't need to spend money on a jig, they're an unnecessary waste of money, and add time to the process. The whole beauty of a scraper is its simplicity and effectiveness... why complicate matters?

        For most material removal scraping, just clamp your scraper in a bench vise (smooth jaw or between two scraps of hardwood) and draw file the edge lightly. Then use your burnisher to form the burr and turn it. As you mentioned, an old dull drill, 3/8 dia or thereabouts, works fine - but I use a piece of hardened drill rod. Make TWO handles, one for each end so you can burnish using both hands - this is easier and gives better control.

        If you're getting dust rather than a nice paper thin curl, try sharpening again. It's an easy skill and worth it to develop the technique. You will be able to get your scraper working very quickly and without screwing around with jigs, and that is a valuable skill. You have to decide if you want to spend your shop time working wood or fooling with tools.

        You don't have to file every time. It just takes time and wears dishes your scraper edge. Your burnisher will restore the edge quickly. Just file when the burnishing alone stops working.

        Do check your flat scraper edge from time to time. They tend to get dished after repeated filing. To straighten it out, put your file flat on the bench and file the scraper with the long edge of the scraper in the direction of the file. Be sure to only apply pressure in the "tip to tang" direction only to avoid dulling your file.

        I rarely stone the edge - only for the finest finishing and even then a filed edge is often fine. Noticeably better than sandpaper. When the filed edge isn't giving a smooth enough finish you can stone the edge. Rubbing scrapers on waterstones will screw up the stone, so use a cheap crystalon stone or a diamond stone if you have one.

        The jig people always want to convince you that you need perfection. You don't, and most of the jigs don't give you perfection anyway.


        • #5
          Re: Cabinet scraper sharpening system?

          Awesome info. Very little left to add.
          The only points I would like to add are that if you are new to scraping you may be surprised how hot the card gets. Until you develop thicker thumbs you can cut the thumbs out of an old pair of garden gloves and slip the cut offs onto your thumbs, the kind with the little rubber nubs are good.
          The other point is that old drill bits tend to be rather beat up. The key to a good edge is a very smooth and hard burnishing tool. If you don't want to spend the money on a commercial tool stop by an engine shop and ask for an old valve or push rod


          • #6
            Re: Cabinet scraper sharpening system?

            I like the valve or pushrod idea. If using pushrods, though, some are hardened and some are not. If you ask for a small block Chevy pushrod (the most common thing in any engine shop) from an engine that uses guide plates (the engine machinist will know what this means) you will be sure of getting a hardened one.


            • #7
              Re: Cabinet scraper sharpening system?

              First, a mill file (one with fine teeth that are parallel, not cross-hatched) is needed to flatten and square the edge. Lowe's sells a Nicholson 6" "General Purpose Slim Taper" that is a perfect size for edging a card. This works equally well on the cheap card scrapers, as well as the harder Lee-Neilson's. Clamp in vice and take a few strokes across the edge until you run a continuous stroke end to end with the same cutting resistance.

              If using it to scrape glue squeeze out, this is all you need to do. The glue will dull it so quickly that rolling a burr on it is wasted effort.

              Second, a sheet of 600 or finer grit (I use 1000) wet-dry abrasive paper is used to smooth out the file marks. Lay the paper on a flat surface ((table saw top, formica kitchen counter, etc) First lay the card flat and pull it lengthwise to remove any remaining burr. Do both sides. Then put it on edge and slide it back and forth to remove the file marks. If you have trouble holding it vertical, hold it up next to a squared piece of scrap.

              Third, a hard smooth burnishing tool is needed. I use a piece of valve stem from a diesel engine set into a wooden handle. (Diesel valve stems will be hardened.) Despite all the pundits on the internet who have never done it, your Craftsman screwdriver shank will not work except maybe on a real cheap scraper that is not worth the effort. A good scraper will cut grooves in the chrome plate and the base metal, stopping the burnishing action.

              Lay the card flat on a bench edge or other flat surface, and draw the burnisher along the edge from the flat face, with the burnisher laying on the flat face. This will pull any remaining burr up as well as any knife edge from filing/sanding.

              Lubricate the burnisher. WD-40 or any light oil works fine, but in a pinch, you can rub it alongside your nose or behind your ear to get some natural oils from your skin.

              With the card set upright in a vise, with about 1/2" above the vise, stroke first as near to flat as you can. then with about three more strokes, gradually tilt the burnisher toward the edge increasingly more until you have about a 15- 20 degree angle.

              Remove card from vise and try it on a piece of scrap wood. If it pulls up fine shavings, then do the rest of the edges (both sides) that you want to scrape with.

              I have seen it recommended to do all four edges of a rectangular scraper. I do not. As I do not use gloves, sharpening the short edges just results in knife slices in my fingers and thumbs, as I both push and pull when scraping.

              Once you get the hang of it, it will take only about a minute to put a good edge on one.

              French curve scrapers are more difficult, but the method is basically the same.

              A sharp square edge will scrape and flatten, but will not shave the wood like a burr can and will be slower. Just using the file may be all you need for cleaning up glue, epoxy patches, or really tough knots until you get to the final few strokes. Putting that satin finish on the surface requires a smooth sharp burr. The finer the wet-dry paper with a good hard smooth burnisher will result in a sharper edge and a smoother finish.


              Last edited by Gofor; 09-06-2009, 09:46 PM.
              Practicing at practical wood working