Planing a Table Top

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    Curt Koutelas

    I had started to cherry desk when I decided to use hand tools as much as possible.  I had the cherry top glued up and had originally planned on using the belt sander and……….you know the drill.  I took a class on tuning up my hand plane as I discussed in a previous forum. But I was still reluctant to take it to my cherry desk top.  Well, today I jumped off the deep end and took my plane to the desk top and had relatively good success other than some minor tear outs when I couldn’t tell what way the grain was going.  Me question is, will a scraper take these out? (Another hand tool I am new to).  If not what’s he best way to fill these tear outs?


    Curt Koutelas

    Sorry for the poor spelling.  Getting used to an IPad…..

    Gary Hodgin

    Yes, a card (cabinet) scraper is good for dealing with tear out. I don’t know if you have experience with scrapers but they aren’t that easy sharpen, but not as hard as they’re often made out to be. I haven’t used a scraper in a while but I never could get the fluffy shaving some get. Luckily even a moderately sharp scraper does a decent job. You will need to hand sand but you should be able to do so with only your higher grits.

    I’m not sure if Paul has covered scraper use and sharpening but there are several good sources on the internet. Google and you tube should help

    Curt Koutelas

    Thanks Gary,

    when I was at the woodworking show in KC I received some 1on 1 instruction on the scraper.  It was very helpful But I’m sure it take practice! It would be great if Paul would have courses on sharpening all tools.



    Hi Curt,

    Paul demonstrates the sharpening of scrapers and the other edge tools on he “master sharpening” dvd of the working wood series. (Trailer)

    2 weeks ago I sharpened the stanley no. 80 for the first time and got the “fluffy [warm!] shavings”. I am a beginner so it prooves that a) the method works and b) it is a lot easier than many people say.



    I enjoy working wood in Germany.

    Steve Follis

    Hey Curt

    I recently made up a table top, 30″ x 60″, from 6 pieces of rough cut cypress 2″ thick.  I used my power planer to first dimension my lumber, then on my final assembly I used my hand plane with really good results.  I also had really good luck with a shavehook in some tough areas, works very much like a scraper but has a handle on it.  I had a bad experience with a belt sander many years ago, and have not used one since, those things can really dig in!

    Memphis, Tennessee


    Hi Curt and guys,

    On the month long course I did with Paul at Penrhyn Castle last year, we made an oak coffee table. Most people finished their tops with the No. 80, and that worked very well. I agree, not too hard to sharpen one.

    Best wishes all,



    This looks like a very comprehensive article on sharpening scrapers:

    I actually get pretty good results by just burnishing the faces, then burnishing the edge. I suspect that filing and honing the edge and faces don’t need to be done as often.

    Adam Magers

    Hey Curt,

    Scrapers are great. I think the most important thing to know with sharpening a scraper is the end goal with what you want to do to the metal. Here is a short video by Tommy Mac explaining sharpening, and about 2:45 seconds into the video, there is a computer generated image of what the edge of the scraper will look like. If you’re new to scrapers, this will help some. Hope your desk turns out great!



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