Chris Schwarz's Blog

The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 3

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We woodworkers work hard to put stuff together. But we suck eggs when it comes to taking things apart.

Every woodworker – no matter how skilled – needs an “iron crow.” It’s a thin-bladed pry bar that can actually get inside of cabinets and lever parts apart. I used to have one made from an old automobile spring. But I don’t know where that went.

The pry bars at hardware stores are too thick and big to be helpful in woodworking. You need to sneak into tight spaces and slip into a hairline gap.

And that’s why I was thrilled to see this stainless steel pry bar at the checkout counter at my local Rockler. It’s 9” long and is ground to a thin profile at both ends. I use it all the time.

When I bought the tool last year, I think it was $5 or $6. Rockler has a set of them on its web site for $16. And… ah-ha, here is the 9” one on Amazon for less than $5. If you want to do a web search for a better price, look for the “Grip” brand. They are stainless steel and 9” long.

— Christopher Schwarz

Want to read Day 1 of my gift guide? Click here.
Day 2 is here.

8 thoughts on “The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 3

  1. CWAndrews

    When I worked in a cabinet shop as a teen-ager, we used these as a card scraper. We sharpened the hook end and put a burr on it to scrape out belt sander marks etc. (I never even knew what a card scraper was until I slid down the hand tool slope!) In an all power tool shop these were about the only hand tools ever used other than the occaisional hammer. They were also used for scraping glue joints, and as Chris points out, they make a very handy pry bar as well. I don’t think ours were stainless steel, so I’m not sure how well these would take a burr for scraping.

  2. koldsteel

    These tools are also known to beekeepers as a “Hive Tool”. They can be found at beekeeping suppliers as well. Mann Lake sells one of sping steel that has a very thin profile that is excellent.

    1. rbill

      +1 on the hive tool. And it’s half the price from beekeeping suppliers!
      My bees are quiet while it’s cold. They’ll never know. :-)

      And Rockler’s website currently says the pry bar is out of stock (oversold). Schwarz Effect in action.

  3. bsrlee

    Strangely enough, I bought my home renovating neighbour one of these for X-mas last year after he expressed envy of mine. It gets used a lot for scraping glue & old paint as well, something it seems to excel in – maybe they changed the temper of the steel?

  4. deric

    This is a decent pry bar with a few faults. The first thing you have to do is flatten the back on both ends. I started with a DMT course grit then worked my way down to a translucent Arkansas followed by 50 strokes with the green stuff. Honestly, the bevel side is even worse. Getting rid of the burr is a never ending chore as the SS is kind of gummy. Can’t wait for LV and LN to come out with dueling $129 models which I don’t need to waste my time doing all that tuning. I’m thinking that powdered metal LV uses would make an awesome pry bar. I’d pay an extra $10 for that.

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