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    Hugo Notti

    I am working on a desk, that certainly had a beautiful shellack finish 100 years ago, then got hit by window glass, veneer repaired with several patches and partially completely new, rested in the basement with flower pots on top and worse, until there were bad stains, some ripples and cuts in the veneer etc. A first try to remove the finish with a scraper was bad, it cut too well. then I remembered, that a straight square edge is able to remove fine shavings from hard wood, so it might remove even harder shellack. Well, it does, and it mostly glides on the pre-finished wood underneath. If was a pleasure to see, feel and hear the coating crumble into fine dust.

    While this might be a completely inappropriate method to restore an antique desk, it works fine for me and I can tell, that I hardly reduced the thickness of the veneer. Instead, I got a smooth surface, ready to apply some layers of shellack.

    I also tried this on an old model sailing boat with a horrible paint job. Unfortunately, the wood underneath is balsa and therefore quite soft, so it is less efficient. But it leaves a very smooth surface, so I might not need to remove the paint completely.

    I think, the main point is to get a clean sharp edge with a consistant angle (i.e. square). I spent some time polishing the surfaces, but didn’t go beyond 800 grit or even less (my finest stone). I didn’t use a strop because I am afraid, it could round the edge. It dulls as fast as a normal scraper, but re-sharpening is much faster, because there is no burr that needs to be removed.

    It would be interesting to lear, what others think of this.


    Matt McGrane

    No burr is developed on many or most (all?) scratch stock cutters, so I’m not surprised that this worked on your scraper. Personally I would use a burr to cut more efficiently, but go carefully so as not to cut through any veneer. Scrapers take only very thin shavings so that is a good way to ensure success.

    BTW, good call not using a leather covered strop – that would definitely round the edge a bit. Maybe if the strop was just some stropping compound on a hardwood block it would work.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016:

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