by James McConnell
There is no doubt in my mind that a chair scraper from BearKat Wood should be in every chairmaker’s tool chest. Card scrapers have long been the secret clean-up weapon of woodworkers, and it’s clear that this one was designed by someone with an intimate knowledge of the challenges that arise from working wood in complex, curvilinear forms. Everything about this tool makes sense and solves a real-world problem. With a straight edge on one side and varied radii along the back, flats are no problem, and inside and outside curves from seats to spindles are covered.
The .025″ thickness has just enough “give” to make it effective at targeting trouble spots, and the 1095 tempered spring steel holds a nice hook while being easy to sharpen and to turn a hook.
My favorite thing about this scraper is how it fits so naturally in my hands. The shape (coincidentally resembling a bear) offers a nice compromise between the geometry of a curved scraper and the size and control of a rectangular card scraper, providing a wide and comfortable gripping surface.
Because so much of the effectiveness of card scrapers comes down to how they are flexed and manipulated in use, it’s nice to have something that responds reliably without inducing hand cramps. Oh, and don’t let the name fool you. This scraper might have been designed with chairs in mind, but it’s a true workhorse for any kind of curved woodworking.
It comes shipped in a handy, reusable cardboard storage sleeve with full directions on how to properly tune it for use. At $15 (plus $4.20 shipping) adding this lifesaver to your tool arsenal is a smart move.
From the December 2017 issue, #236