Enjoyment by Charlie Rodgers


I'm here to share the enjoyment I get from the lowly card scraper.

I'm in the middle of a project - a small (12"D X 17"W X 12"H) chest & stand.  I'm making it from some air dried (for ~10 years) black walnut.

Before I started, I pulled out a few plane irons to sharpen and, as an afterthought, I figured I should touch up my scrapers.  I have a set of four from Lee Valley, two are thick and quite stiff, two are somewhat more flexible.  I also have one that Pete Taran gave me a few years back, when he was still Mr. Independence Tool.  He said it was a piece of the steel he used for the saw blades.  It's thin and very flexible.

I also have the LV file holder-scraper sharpener jig.  It makes it easy for even me to get a good edge and hook.  I knock the old hook off with a file, joint the edge in the jig, stone the edge to remove the file marks and stone the arises to get them smooth then turn a new hook.  It takes maybe 5 minutes to turn all 8 new hooks on a scraper.

In use, the thick cards are so stiff I can hardly put a bend in them but they really remove material...they're like the scrub plane of scrapers.  The thinner LV cards are pretty easy to put a bend in and they are somewhat less aggressive.  The IT scraper is my scraper equivalent of a finely tuned smoothing plane (like my C&W coffin smoother).  They all produce fluffy shavings (scrapings?) and can be used pushing or pulling.

I cut saw kerfs in a scrap of wood to hold the cards and keep it handy on the bench.  When I get going, I have to change every little bit to keep from burning my thumbs... they really heat up - I figure it's a good gauge of how well they're working.

If you've not tried them, you should.  If you have and don't like 'em, that's okay because I like 'em enough for both of us.

Charlie Rodgers, resting his thumbs in
Clinton, Maryland

Summer, 2006


Edge Tools


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