It Looks More like a Pigsticker than a Burnisher - Popular Woodworking Magazine

It Looks More like a Pigsticker than a Burnisher

 In Chris Schwarz Blog, Handplane Techniques, Handplanes, Woodworking Blogs

My head is deep into preparing card scrapers these days. I’ve vowed to try to make sense out of all the conflicting information we read about sharpening them. And so I’ve been turning burrs with gouges, chisels, push rods from 1970s-era cars and other odd shop bits.

After looking under a lot of interesting rocks, I’ve discovered a few shiny items. One of them is this burnisher (also called a ticketer) made by Buck Brothers. It doesn’t much look like a burnisher from a distance, but it has some unusual features.

The smooth metal shaft is 3-1/2″ long , that’s a might bit shorter than most commercial burnishers I’ve encountered. The cross section of the shaft is also intriuging. It is decidedly football-shaped. The flatter faces of the tool turn a less aggressive burr; the pointed faces turn a burr that is grabbier.

The point of the burnisher is curious. The guy who turned me onto the tool, John Walkowiak, picked it up from furniture maker extraordinaire Phil Lowe. The idea is that the point of the tool can be used to adjust the burr of the scraper after you have turned it. If you turn the burr too sharply, you simply run the point under the burr to lift it up a bit.

I’ve been working with the tool for about a week, and it works well on all counts. First, I like the tool’s overall compact size; it’s more balanced than my longer burnishers. It’s lighter in weight and therefore easier to wield. The point does indeed allow me to adjust the burr. For fun (yes, this is fun) I turned some heavy 15Ã?° burrs with gorilla-like pressure on some card scrapers. These burrs were good for stripping paint. Then I ran the point of the burnisher under the burr. It made the burr much less grabby. It’s a nice bit of control to have , just in case.

I still have a lot more questions than answers about card scrapers, however. The English scraper holders are curious to me. They seem to hold the tool flat, preventing it from flexing. Most Americans flex the tool to work localized areas of tear-out. I’d like to see these English scraper holders in use.

– Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 2 comments
  • Brad Woods

    Is this a vintage tool, or is it one that is currently available? It looks great.

  • Mike Hamilton

    I have one Stanley made in this shape. I’m happy to have your insight into its uses. I’ll be waiting for your future discoveries.


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