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Going to Scrap My Scraper

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by R. Stratenstein, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    I must be an idiot. :rolleyes: Yeah, I know--nothing new, but I found something new to be an idiot about.

    I got a new card scraper, a burnisher, and a fine cut mill file. I also have a diamond stone, some fine emory paper through 1500 grit. I also got a little doo-hickey which is a piece of burnisher rod stuck in a hardwood handle at "the right angle", just made for drawing and turning the hook.

    I've watched about a dozen videos of guys showing how "easy" it is to sharpen a card scraper, then proceed to easily slice large, curly shavings off of wood. One guy uses what looks like a horse rasp and the shank of a file to tune up his scraper in two minutes or less. Mocks me at the end of his video by throwing it down on his workbench and walking off camera, like "you're a bloody idiot if you can't sharpen one of these simple things."

    But me, hell no, I can't make the damn thing work. Best I can do is little crappy bits of sawdust, and skid marks across the wood.

    Anybody know the secret of tuning up these damn things? Or I may just polish it up and drill it for a rectangular control plate on a Frustration-caster. :mad:
  2. Glen Smith

    Glen Smith RIP

    Aug 20, 2011
    Do you know the proper technique for using a scraper? The wrong technique will yield nothing but a bit of wood dust.
  3. Jim Beam

    Jim Beam Tele-Meister

    Sep 25, 2012
    New Mexico
    I've been doing a LOT of scraping lately, and previously. And I find the whole "burnishing" thing to be a bunch of BS.

    I put my fine mill file into the bench vise, level to the horizon. Pull my scraper across it 3 times each direction, on each of the 4 edges.

    To clarify, for each edge, pull 3 times in one direction, then turn it around and pull 3 times in the opposite direction. Repeat for the other 3 sides of the scraper.

    To hell with the burnishing stuff. My scrapers work pretty good. Not great, but good enough.

    I tried all kinds of ways to "burnish" and none of them worked.

    your mileage may vary....
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  5. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    That could certainly be part of it, Glen. I've tried all the methods I've seen demo'd on the videos, push, pull, flat, bent with thumbs, fingers, almost vertical, almost horizontal, and every angle in between--still, dust. It's kind of a chicken and egg thing, tho. You won't know if you're using the right technique unless it's sharp enough to produce the right shavings, but you won't if its sharp unless you're using the right technique to produce the right shavings!:confused:

    So, Jim, you're saying you don't even try the "roll the hook" over thing? Just flatten it and get a good sharp 90-degree edge on the thing?
  6. Jim Beam

    Jim Beam Tele-Meister

    Sep 25, 2012
    New Mexico
    That's exactly what I'm saying. If I run the scraper flat and hard against the file, I get a tiny little hook, it seems to work well. And sometimes I even run the file alongside the scraper and REMOVE that hook, and I still get pretty good results. But best seems to be leave it alone after going at the 90 degrees thing.

    Let me know if that don't make sense.
  7. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    Hell, it makes as good a sense as any of that crapola I've been trying to no result so far--:p I'm hittin the road on business for the next couple of days, but when I get back in the shop, I'm going to give your method a try. Couldn't do any worse, that's for sure. Thanks!

  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    I've been where you are.... and I've had better luck too... as mentioned just taking a mill file across both edges. That filing leaves a sharp , ragged edge, not a burr, but itdoes indeed take off wood. I think it has to be mill filed way more often than one that is sharpened properly....
  9. Picton

    Picton Friend of Leo's

    Feb 7, 2009
    Reading, Massachusetts
    I haven't got much to add except positive vibes; stick with it. Once you get it tuned up and working well, a scraper is an absolute delight. I do mill-file not just the edge itself, but the faces of the scraper adjacent to the edge; it makes everything less ragged and more square before the burnishing.

    Good luck.
  10. Crafty Fox

    Crafty Fox Tele-Holic

    Nov 25, 2011
    Perth Australia
    Think I'll try the Jim Beam method too, as I get mixed results with the burnisher.
    My wife's uncle puts the scraper in his vice and runs a 3/8 drill bit along it.
  11. Codger

    Codger Tele-Meister

    May 16, 2009
    I learned from a master cabinetmaker that I worked for back in the '70s. The trick is to start with truly square corners on the scraper. That's what the file is for, but it also leave scratches in the metal. You can roll a hook that will produce impressive shavings, but if you look close it will be all scratched up. That's where the honing stone comes in. You need to go back and forth between honing the sides and the edge. You should end up with no scratches in the metal, but perfectly square corners. That's the hard part to get the knack of. You need a good flat stone. Then you lay the scraper flat and go back and forth with the burnisher to roll an edge. Then go to the side and roll that edge into a hook. I'll look at YouTube and see if anyone knows what they're doing .
  12. guitar2005

    guitar2005 Tele-Holic

    Oct 22, 2010
    Canada, Québec
    I have the Lee Valley burnisher and it works great. The edge on my scrapers give me nice shavings. On a properly filed scraper (at 90 deg), it works well.

    Without the burnisher and a good hook on your scraper, you're not really benefiting from using a scraper.
  13. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

    Admin Post
    I have had limited success sharpening my scrapers but I always seem to be able to get them to work sufficiently for me.
  14. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 15, 2005
    Chicago 'Burbs
    I have a variety of cabinet scrapers, and they are pretty useful- most of the time. It took me a long time to find the right balance of hook, angle, and technique- probably a few years, on and off. I feel your pain, and lived through it. Be persistent in your efforts, you will come to find a way to make then useful.

    That said, the most useful scrapers I have are both home made..

    One for shaping/scraping tight areas
    One for scraping finish off of binding.
    I also use a cheap straight razor for many tasks, although it doesn't hold its edge as long as I wish it would..
  15. Commodore 64

    Commodore 64 Friend of Leo's

    Mar 1, 2010
    Kent, OH
    For me:

    1. Put big file on workbench.
    2. Scrub the Scraper back and forth.
    3. Use the shaft of the nearest screwdriver to roll the burr to one side.
  16. nosmo

    nosmo Friend of Leo's

    Jan 31, 2012
    Lake Jackson, TX
    I bought a cheap set of scrapers that proudly display "Made in China" on them. They were nice and shiny when I got them, but once I wiped the oil off, they tarnished in about 5 minutes. :eek: I just file the edge flat to 90 degrees and run a screwdriver or drill bit across the edge to make a small hook. Works for me.

    Also made a high tech binding scraper ala Buckocaster



    Took about 30 seconds to make. One cut in the PVC with the bandsaw, slap in a blade & tape the parts you don't want to cut you. It's one of the best tools in my shop :lol:
  17. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    I've found that some cheap card scrapers just aren't worth trying to sharpen. Better ones have steel that's better suited for thepurpose and have smoother surfaces so there's less smoothing to do. Having said that, I like to use either Japanese wet stones or diamond whetstones (the big DMT duo sharps are great, once you save up for them) to make sure the sides of the scraper don't have any grooves that will affect the edge. you really only have to do that once, like lapping the back of a new chisel or plane iron, from there on you don't have anywhere near as much work to do. Then file it square (I hold a file in a homemade jig that has a lengthwise rabbet on it). Then the hardwood-handle angled doohickey to draw the hook.

    Try it with and without the hook; the hook makes all the difference. Also, practice scraping lacquer or even old paint, to get a feel for the tool.
  18. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County
    Make sure that the scraper is held really securely in the vise when putting the hook on it. I have a nice scar from when one slipped once and I jammed my hand into the scraper corner.
  19. henderson is go

    henderson is go Tele-Holic

    Jun 10, 2011
    New York
    I just use a file and a round screwdriver: takes a minute to sharpen and works really well. I clamp the scraper in a vise, file and make sure the file is square to the scraper, and then use a screwdriver to burnish. Took me a few hours to figure out how to do it right, but after figuring it out rough sanding is a thing of the past :D
  20. nickhofen

    nickhofen Friend of Leo's

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