When woodworking you constantly come across new tools with unique purposes. I was recently introduced to such a tool, the humble cabinet scraper. A small rectangular bit of hardened steel that you can use to hand scrape the surface of timber. Until I had a go at this simple tool myself, I was dubious as to its benefits weighed up against a modern orbital sander. Not only is it easy to use once you get a handle on the technique, but it is also versatile and leaves no scratches in the timber in the way that sanding does.
To use a hand scraper, you need to bend the scraper to create a C shape, using your thumbs at the back and your fingers wrapped around the front of the scraper and push your thumbs into the back until you get a curve in the blade. You then apply pressure across the surface of the timber with a slight forward angle on the blade. You can also pull the scraper towards you by reversing the technique and in certain situations you may even scrape with the blade flat.
It takes a bit of practice to get the technique perfected but it’s worth it. I love the feel of using a scraper on the timber. When sharp they can produce shavings like a plane blade, yet they are more forgiving than a plane. Scraping also has the added benefit of sealing the timber pores and leaves a smooth surface ready to take your choice of finish. Most woodworking suppliers will stock cabinet scrapers. They come in different thicknesses and the thinner ones I found to be easier on my wrists. You can also buy curved scrapers, which are handy for scrapping curved projects.
Cabinet scrapers have brought peace and pleasure to my workshop and revolutionised my practice.Subscribe to this blog