One tool that has been in my shop for decades is a little box of single-edge razors that I use as scrapers and – occasionally – as a save-your-butt tool when finishes go bad.
Scrapers don’t have to have a “hook” to scrape. Early scrapers were pieces of shattered glass. I use my chisels as scrapers all the time. So, you can remove one of the razors from the box, bend its back a tad so the blade curves and use it straight away to scrape small areas of your project.
It won’t be as aggressive as a card scraper with a hook, but that’s the point. These razors are great for scraping small areas that require finesse.
If for some reason you need a hook, these razors will take a hook just fine. Clamp it in a vise and turn the hook with a burnisher.
As mentioned earlier, these razors are also great for finishing, especially dealing with runs and sags. These little guys are sharp enough to slice away runs and sags cleanly in film finishes and paint. Most of the time, I can get a clean enough cut with them that they are good as-is. But even if the cut isn’t perfect, I’ve removed the offending material and don’t have to sand it away before adding another coat of finish.
My hardware store sells them in boxes of five for about $1. A box of 10 is $2.99. A box of 100 – enough for a lifetime – is $7.99.
— Christopher Schwarz
Read other entries in the Anarchist’s Gift Guide.