Where and how do you use scrapers?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Deed_Poll, Sep 30, 2021.

  1. Deed_Poll

    Deed_Poll Tele-Holic

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    Hello all,

    Another general woodworking question for you!

    I've never really taken the plunge into scrapers, but recently have found myself coming up against some limitations with sanding (many of which might be the result of technique that might be improved).

    Most notably, when sanding woods that have variable density between the grains (like ash or poplar), I am forced to use a sanding block and to proceed by hand whenever I am sanding out contours (for example). No matter what powered sander I use, there always seems to be too much padding / give between the force of the sander and the paper, and that's resulting in too much of the grain showing (for my liking) in the shaping. Am I just pressing too hard?

    It's irritating, because a lot of what I'm doing is sanding out CNC machining marks, which tend to be concentrated in these contoured areas in particular, and I'm having to eliminate these almost entirely by hand with a block, and this is becoming strenuous on my wrists.

    I'm wondering whether using scrapers might be an approach that better suits the challenge. My contours are "curvilinear", after a fashion - it is theoretically possible for a perfectly straight edge to contact all of the contour in a single motion - but I don't really have any experience with scrapers. Do you have experience using them? Can you offer advice to give a beginner like me a leg-up? Where and how do you use them? What to buy and try first, any techniques?

    Many thanks, as always!

    Dan
     
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  2. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    There's quite a learning curve to using a scraper, and they can be quite hard on the hands and arms to use. They don't sound like the right solution here.

    I think you may be sanding too hard with your power sander. In general, you don't want to press hard at all. Let the weight of the machine do the work.

    What grits are you sanding with? That might be the problem.
     
  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use edge cutting tools a lot and a scraper is just one more tool in the quiver. My favorite one was given to me by an old cabinet maker and most importantly, he taught me how to sharpen it (file the edge flat, then turn a burr with something like a hard steel rod. You should feel the sharp burr). I have a couple of flat scrapers, a couple of curved ones and I also use box cutter blades as very small scrapers for bindings and such.

    I'll use the scraper after planing or sand to take out all the scratches. Some people feel that a cut surface takes glue better than a sanded one, I'll frequently run the scrapper across the seams when I'm join plates.

    A scraper pulls sanding dust out of the wood - I'll always scrape light colored wood like spruce or maple before finish. I scrape my bindings to make them nice and bright, particularly when I have contrasting lines.

    Here are what will be sides of an acoustic guitar. I hand planed them to final thickness and scraped them before bending

    IMG_6382-1.jpg

    For the final shaping of the recurve on a carved top you can't beat a scraper. I would think it would be perfect for removing your tool marks from CNC - flex the scraper between your hands and pull at angles to the grain.
     
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  4. nnieman

    nnieman Tele-Meister

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    The short answer is no - not really.
    Scrapers dont work for getting large areas flat.
    They excel at getting squirrely grain that hand planes would tear out.

    I use scrapers a lot for after the chisel when I am carving tops.

    I also use a scraper when carving a neck - after I rough out with a rasp.

    A scraper really shines are knocking down the little flats left by the teeth of the rasp - so it might work for knocking down the ridges left by the cnc.

    I mostly use a thin card scraper that came free with a subscription to fine woodworking.
    Similar to these but without the fancy accessories
    https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/sho...apers/61448-veritas-scraping-set?item=05K3320

    I also use the curvy one that lee valley sells for scraping binding/smoothing carved tops.
    https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/sho...pers/32644-burnisher-scraper-set?item=05K2031

    You use them by flexing them with your thumbs and pushing or pulling....so you are not using the whole edge of the scraper, just a bit in the middle.

    Nathan
     
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  5. Peegoo

    Peegoo Doctor of Teleocity

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    A scraper is great for flat surfaces and detail work on curved surfaces. I use them pretty much only on figured woods to increase the "3D" effect created by open pores. Sandpaper doesn't work as well for this because it folds over (abrades) the ends of the pores. A properly burnished scraper slices the wood.

    When I'm sanding contours on wood with varying hardness (swamp ash is a big one in this category), I fortify the soft/open grain with water-thin CA before I hit it with the paper. The CA soaks in, sets up, and sands perfectly flat with minimal pressure. You can certainly do it without the CA, but it takes a very light touch and a certain level of finesse that only comes with lots of practice and experience.
     
  6. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

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    Scrapers are great tools for woodworking, but still is a strain on your hands. The best way to learn how to use one is have a cabinetmaker or woodworker show you. You can have perfect technique, but if you can't draw a burr properly, you are scrod.
     
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  7. WingedWords

    WingedWords Friend of Leo's

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  8. nnieman

    nnieman Tele-Meister

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    Have you tried using a block plane to knock down the cnc ridges?
    That might save a bunch of hand sanding.

    Nathan
     
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  9. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Afflicted

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    I've gone to using scrapers almost exclusively, unless it's 120 grit to remove/shape material.
    Scrapers are cleaner (less dust) and leave a better surface - what's not to like ?
    I use carpet knife or utility knife blades almost exclusively for guitar-scale and gun-scale work.
    To create the burr: Lube up a wide sharpening stone or waterstone, stand the blade on it's cutting edge perpendicular to the stone, tilt the top away from you about 20-30 degrees off vertical, and push the blade with your thumbs along the length of the stone.
    Only moderate down pressure needed.
    Repeat about 3-4 times.
    Then scrape away.
    It's all in the angle of the blade on the wood, it's easy to get the hang of it, by feel, and results in nice clean shavings.
    A given blade can be re-burred about 3-4 times, then toss it and grab a new one.
    But this is mostly for creating a finished surface - I feel scrapers are not ideal for removing material efficiently, and they can actually exacerbate irregularities depending how you orient the blade to the dips and bumps
     
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  10. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Afflicted

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    I like scrapers for the best finish. As one old guy put it, "You gotta scrape after you sand. Even 600 grit leaves 600 lines per inch."
     
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  11. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    My problem with scrapers is when I lose concentration and they chatter

    I have a zen like idea about woodworking, that any route to the final shape is a legit technique. Rasps, surforms, paper, axe: so long as it finishes right, I like going the unexplored path
     
  12. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    I use them for neck contours after rough shaping. I find they take away the minor variations and get the surface more even. Plus they remove a lot of file marks. I use a utility blade for binding.
     
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  13. old wrench

    old wrench Friend of Leo's

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    Scrapers are not really the tool for bulk material removal.

    There are better tools for that purpose.

    But for some finer operations - they are the best tools.

    It's also possible to scrape a large surface area down to dead flat - it's an old procedure that's not limited to just woodworking - it was even employed by metalworkers.

    The art of scraping is sort of like the art of filing - finding the best angle and pressure to achieve the goal.

    It's definitely a technique worth learning - and learning to maintain a proper edge on your scrapers too.

    Another arrow in the quiver ;)

    A scraper blade is like a very fine wood plane - only with better accuracy :)


    .
     
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  14. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's

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    Where? On windshield every winter
    How? Jabbing the ice as hard as I can! ;)
     
  15. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Scrapers can be an indispensable tool in the shop for exactly the things that you are fretting about. (pardon the expression...) In addition to the more traditional thin scrapers in all kinds of shapes, I'm really enjoying the thicker scrapers that I got from StewMac awhile back...they actually get a lot of use on non-guitar projects.
     
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  16. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted

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    The old-time furniture makers only had scrapers sandpaper was not around. The real trick in scrapers is learning how to get the proper edge, I'm still working on that. A good scraper will give you a surface that you just can't get with sandpaper.
     
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  17. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I’m in the process of restoring an antique chopping block, splitting it into 12 slabs of glued wood. I am under the tutelage of a German cabinet maker at his shop. So far, all I can say is using a scraper is hard work. I have already seen the light of how good it works, but it takes time and practice to get good at it and actually the sharpening of the scraper is half of the techniques to learn.
     
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  18. Rustbucket

    Rustbucket Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like to use scrapers for bigger cuts and then a smaller blade for finish work.
    6FCB6BCE-7221-4C39-9ADE-BEFFE31DF36E.jpeg
    665005E3-28CC-4C62-B152-E25CF675B27D.jpeg
     
  19. I_build_my_own

    I_build_my_own Friend of Leo's

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    For necks and carve tops
     
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  20. ChicknPickn

    ChicknPickn Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    They work beautifully on the sides of the Tele, following the contours. Sometimes, they do a better job of flattening a lacquer drip or sag than sandpaper.
     
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