A Better Way to Sharpen Scrapers

We compared 14 methods to find the fastest way to prepare this useful tool.
By Christopher Schwarz
Pages: 40-44

From the February 2007 issue #160
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?Scrapers are one of the most misunderstood but useful tools in a woodshop. A scraper in its basic form is simply a piece of hardened steel with a small hook that is created by pressing on the tool’s edge with an even harder rod of steel. This tool is capable of making tear-out free cuts in hardwoods that no plane can manage.

But how to sharpen a scraper is a mysterious or confusing process for many woodworkers. One reason for the confusion is that there are many different published techniques out there, many of them offering conflicting advice.

So I compiled a list of 14 different techniques for sharpening this rectangle of steel that have been published since 1875. All of the 14 techniques basically agree that there are three steps to sharpening a scraper: Filing the edge of the tool, removing the file marks with a sharpening stone and then creating the hook (sometimes called the burr) with a hardened rod of steel, usually called a burnisher.

After trying these techniques, applying my own training and talking to an expert on steel tooling, I think I’ve found a 15th way to sharpen the tool that doesn’t require a lot of equipment, and is fast and is easy for beginners.

From the February 2007 issue #160
Buy this issue now