Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tiny Scrapers

Scrapers, sharpening, and scratch stock changed my life as a woodworker.

Scrapers get you out of sticky situations with difficult grain and allow you to smooth curved or otherwise non-flat surfaces; learning to sharpen is (in my opinion) the single most important skill in woodworking; and making scratch stock opens up a new world of creativity.

So when I ran into trouble trying to flatten the background on a small relief carving, all three came to the rescue.

With the help of some brainstorming friends, I decided to reshape two dental tools into mini scrapers.
I used a dremel tool to grind the ends. Then I filed a flat on the cutting edge the same way that I sharpen scratch stock: square to each surface and with no burr. This creates two very sharp
micro edges where two surfaces meet.

Then I honed the top, back, and edge of each tool on my 8,000 grit waterstone.

They may look like tiny garden hoes, but they work great at smoothing out a once-rough surface, both with and against the grain. Tiny peels of shavings, not sawdust, come off the edges.