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Sharpen a Card Scraper

Sharpening a Card Scraper

Interested in having another tool to reduce even further the need for sandpaper and to give you more options in creating a pristine surface? A cabinet scraper could be just the ticket. These are simplicity personified. A flat piece of steel onto which we apply a cutting burr and just like that we have a cutting tool. This is how I sharpen my card scraper. I've gone old(ish) school which I'm sure will come of no surprise to anyone who follows along here. My ingredients list is simple. Scraper, burnisher, file, sharpening stone and a rag.

Scraper: In days gone old saw plate would be used or some suitable steel. The steel was soft enough to be worked with a gouge. If you go for some modern hard scrapers you will most likely need one of the extra hard burnishers.

Burnisher: In simple terms the burnisher needs to be harder than the scraper. Imagine the scraper as pastry, if you want to work pastry you don't use a limp raw sausage, you use a rolling pin. A suitable burnisher really depends on how hard your scraper is. A screwdriver shaft, nail punch or a gouge can work as well as a made for the job burnishers (see hardness caveat above). A gouge comes up time and time again in books and I have great results using one on my scraper. If you do choose to try using a gouge use a BLUNT one to avoid injury.

File: Bastard cut file that you use to joint saw teeth will be ideal.

Sharpening Stone: I can't be turned away from my India stone. You use what you have.

Rag: You always need a rag.

The video assumes the scraper is new and a bit rough and ready. If you bought nice scrapers chances are you can skip this part. Pop the scraper in the vice and work the long edge with the file until you feel a crisp edge with a slight burr. This filing "must" be done at "90deg" but really don't sweat it too much. Then remove it from the vice and work the filed edge on your sharpening stone until all the marks fro the file are gone. Lay the scraper flat on the stone and remove any burr. Lay the scraper flat on the bench and hold the burnisher flat against the face of the scraper. Work the burnisher over the face for a dozen times or so to consolidate the edge. Clasp the scraper with the rag and get ready to roll the burr. Draw the burnisher over the edge drawing the edge as you do so. You will only need a small burr, small is better. Do this to all four edges. It's ready.

Sharpened scraper.
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If you have dust repeat the above. When you feel the edge dull simply consolidate/knock back the burr and roll a new one. You will be able to do that quite a bit. When that fails, file and go again. Congratulations! Less dust, less sandpaper, more simple and useful skills under the belt. Result!