Success With Scraper Planes


Understand and tune up one of the best weapons in the war against tearing.
By David Charlesworth
Pages: 42-45

From the June 2010 issue #183
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Scraper planes are some of my favorite tools, excellent for avoiding or removing tear-out whilst maintaining a flat surface. Card scrapers will remove tear-out, but there is an overwhelming tendency to concentrate on the problem areas, which will become hollow. This does not usually become apparent until the finishing stage. In contrast, the sole of a scraper plane obliges us to take sets of shavings, maintaining a flatter surface.

Scraper planes also excel at smoothing veneered surfaces if sharpened with a hook. I used a Stanley No. 80 for many years. In the beginning I thought veneered surfaces could be planed, but soon discovered the error of my ways. If you encounter a small hollow blister where the glue has not taken, a chunk of veneer will be ripped out and probably lost on the floor. This does not happen with a sharp hook on a scraper plane.

Recently I was intrigued to watch Deneb Puchalski of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks demonstrating the company’s scraper planes sharpened without a hook. Shavings were produced from difficult wood, but this is not the same shaving formation that we get with a hook. If you consult Bruce Hoadley’s “Understanding Wood” (Taunton Press), a hook produces “Type 2” shavings (which are sheared from the wood), while the edge without a hook conforms to his description of “Type 3” scraping action (which compresses the wood and sometimes results in fuzzy grain). I think the hook will be more successful on delicate veneered surfaces and is a true cutting edge.


From the June 2010 issue #183
Buy this issue now