Cabinet Scraper Honing Guide

Cabinet scraper honing guide WWMC Keyframe

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Getting a crisp 45° bevel on your cabinet scraper can be tricky. Paul shows how to make and use a honing guide that gives you a guaranteed angle every time.


  1. Shane MacMillan on 19 March 2018 at 2:04 pm

    Perfect timing! I have been struggling with this.

  2. BlindMan60 on 19 March 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Paul great video my question is this technique only for the #8scraper? What about regular card scrapers I can never seem to get the burr so it will take shavings I only get sawdust. Thank you Sir…

    • JIM CHALOUPKA on 19 March 2018 at 3:50 pm

      You are possibly creating the burr over the edge at too great of an angle,
      causing the cutting edge to not meet the work surface when the scraper is presented to the surface being scraped.

    • Philip Adams on 20 March 2018 at 4:36 pm

      Hello Scott. It can certainly be used to file the top of card scrapers.

    • Mic van Reijen on 4 April 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Yes, but wothout the 45 degree angle, right?
      Btw, there’s a video out there where Joseph shows how to sharpen a card scraper..

  3. joeleonetti on 19 March 2018 at 3:19 pm

    Thanks Paul. Any chance you could list the common problems most beginners do when working with this tool? I will spend some time working with mine based on this video.

    • sidreilley on 19 March 2018 at 3:34 pm

      Is that English mesquite? 😜
      Thanks for the project.

    • Paul Schrank on 20 March 2018 at 3:48 am

      What I have found when burnishing my scrapers is DO not over work the metal. Just go back and forth with the burnisher 5 or 6 times, anymore and you can split or crack the metal which can gouge the wood. Also, after extended use, if you find that it is hard to get any kind of burr on the edge it is because the burnishing actually chances the density of the metal to a small degree. All you need to do is sharpen or grind (using water to cool) more off the edge to get back to the softer metal.

  4. larryl49 on 19 March 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Great jig.
    Regards Larry.

  5. Gary Mercer on 19 March 2018 at 3:32 pm

    I am immediately making this! A brilliant way to clamp the scraper blade.

  6. Gary Mercer on 19 March 2018 at 3:33 pm

    So exited I forgot to say Thank You!

  7. joeuu on 19 March 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Should one drill a hole at the end of the saw kerf to help prevent it from splitting?

  8. beach512 on 19 March 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you for the clear demonstration for an easy method to sharpen this blade. I will definitely try it.

  9. David Oakes on 19 March 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Thanks Paul, another item for my ebay wish list.
    I wonder if there is a correlation between your tool videos and ebay prices spiking as everyone decides they need one…? 🙂

    I’m looking forward to the car-boot sale season to start again (what do they call these in the US?)
    I’ve had some luck in the past, you just need to get beyond the ubiquitous rusty files and screw drivers that have been used to open and stir paint tins.

    • cdouglas1942 on 19 March 2018 at 10:24 pm

      UK=boot sale
      USA=garage sale, yard sale, estate sale, swap meets, gun and knife show(always some tools for sale)

    • Eric Lundholm on 20 March 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Various parts of the US have different names here in Arizona they are called swap meets. it is so dry here that the tools only have surface rust if any.

    • Jonas Shantz on 4 July 2018 at 4:02 am

      Junk in the trunk in upstate NY

  10. willis on 19 March 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Perfect timing for me! I have yet to get my cabinet scraper working correctly and need it for a project.

    Thank you!

    • SharpPencil on 19 March 2018 at 5:32 pm

      Paul can I please say that it is important the blade does not protrude more than a bare minimum before filling or the iron will wear away too fast

      • George Harris on 19 March 2018 at 7:10 pm

        I was thinking the same thing.

        Also possibly worth pointing out that the grinding doesn’t need to happen with the file every time? I’m sure I remember Paul saying in a blog or video that developing a new edge is only needed every few burnishings, seems to work for me and my scrapers.

  11. shea633 on 19 March 2018 at 11:00 pm

    I don’t think the question was answered above. Can you use this technique to sharpen a # 8 scraper (I don’t have one!!!!) to sharpen regular card scrapers??

    • Craig on 19 March 2018 at 11:42 pm

      What is a #8 scraper?
      Paul is sharpening a #80 scraper.
      You could definately use this guide for a card scraper if the slot were cut 90* to the surface.

  12. Augusto Campos on 20 March 2018 at 1:48 am

    Hi there from Portugal (country where that BAHCO file was made :D)
    Thanks Master P.Sellers and team 😀
    One more project to the TODO List 😀

  13. aanghelescu on 20 March 2018 at 3:42 am

    An old blog post somehow resonated with me: “The old man I was working with was in his 80’s and he pulled out a 1” gouge, stuck it in his mouth and whipped it along the scraper edges half a dozen times with quick successive strokes. Then he peeled off two dozen shavings a foot or so long and the job was done. ” (excerpt from

    I’d been trying so hard to get the angles just right, yet I still hadn’t been able to develop a good edge. Then I remembered the post above, and I decided to do it more freehand and about as nonchalantly as I could. It has been working ever since.

  14. tomleg on 20 March 2018 at 4:13 am

    Excellent! Been struggling.

  15. pauline2165 on 20 March 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Great Video Paul.

    Thank’s again.

  16. bytesplice on 21 March 2018 at 1:55 am

    Thanks Paul.
    In your No. 80 cabinet scraper video, you consolidated the edge under the bevel 30 to 40 times with the burnisher, then consolidated the bevel 25 to 30 times and then turning the edge. Have you changed your technique?

    • Philip Adams on 23 March 2018 at 3:57 pm

      Hello Frank, the edge doesn’t need consolidating to that extent shown in the previous video every time, but can be. When turning the edge it sometimes takes more strokes to get a viable edge. The consistency of bevel from the honing guide often means this isn’t necessary.

  17. stevenrey56 on 21 March 2018 at 3:28 am

    The only problem is when I start using my no. 80, it’s so much fun I don’t want to stop.

  18. Will Smithee on 22 March 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Excellent video. I didn’t think I would learn anything new but was pleasantly surprised.

    Thank you!

  19. Richard 1941 on 23 March 2018 at 11:36 am

    I use a similar process on the blade I use to scrape oboe reeds. Razor edges work well, but they don’t last. A burnished scraper edge last longer, probably due to strain hardening.

    It was shocking to see Paul Sellers use a modern electric drill-driver!

  20. Paul philip on 23 March 2018 at 8:53 pm

    What brand is the file you use?

  21. hphimmelbauer on 26 March 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Brilliant! For me this Video came just in time, quite on the spot. Having a Faithfull No 80 (Stanley replica), which does not keep the iron very good in place (another story, which I managed to get solved), I never had nice shavings. Now I have. A livesaver for the livesaver for the furnituremaker.
    Thanks for this simple, but excellent working tool. I am happy, Mr. Sellers, really happy. I am smiling like the surface now is shining.

  22. Michael Higgins on 29 March 2018 at 5:28 am

    Hi Paul,
    Great video as always – one question – what kind of cut is on the file?


  23. Mic van Reijen on 4 April 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks, i too was struggling with this. As a bonus I see it doesn’t matter at all if the scraper has only a couple of inch left in length.

  24. Keith Walton on 11 April 2018 at 4:39 pm

    Are jewelry burnishers the same as the type used in scrapers?

    • Larry Geib on 11 April 2018 at 10:30 pm

      Straight jewelry burnishes with the oval cross section are used by some woodworkers. Others prefer a round rod.

      Either will work as long as their steel is harder than what you are trying to burnish and they are smooth enough.

      • Keith Walton on 11 April 2018 at 10:36 pm

        I have round rods and triangle shaped burnishers. Each feels too long to me. All of the shorter oval shaped ones I’m finding are labeled “jewelers” burnishers and I’m having trouble finding an exact hardness, but are described as being able to polish metal.

        • Larry Geib on 11 April 2018 at 10:40 pm

          Polishing metal is a broad category. Burnishing brass or silver is a lot different than burnishing O1 or A2 tempered steel.

          You can burnish softer metals with bone or ivory.

  25. Larry Geib on 11 April 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Some online dealers have the rod available separately. You can add a handle and make them any length you wish.

  26. windigo on 30 April 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Thanks for the excellent information here.
    I worked through the process and got a good ‘hook’ on the cutting edge.
    When I assembled the cutter in the holder I was not sure which way to line up the bevel but assumed it was on the side of the adjusting screw and not on the side of the securing screws.
    At first I got a juddering cut and interpreted this as a sign the cutting ‘hook’ was set too deeply. After re-setting it slightly higher I got very good shavings. Should Paul do similar videos like this on other tools could he show how to set and adjust the edges and include a demonstration of how to recognise and correct the problems likely to be encountered when using the tool. I am a willing apprentice but need to be guided by the experienced teacher while using the tool.

  27. stefanolah on 7 May 2018 at 11:59 pm

    Thank you.

  28. Harvey Kimsey on 8 May 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Just found four oak table legs in someone’s trash and used my #80, sharpened and honed according to Paul’s method, to remove the paint finish. A couple of passes and I was down to bare wood!

  29. Matthew Salisbury on 5 June 2018 at 10:47 pm

    Could a similar jig be made for a chisel or plane iron? I put together some scraps and made a ramp that sat 30 degrees to a level platform. The iron lay on the ramp and the stone (diamond) moved, creating or refining the edge as needed. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

    • Philip Adams on 11 June 2018 at 11:15 am

      You could do that. We might be more likely to make something similar to the spokeshave honing guide we made in the past. Buying or making a basic honing guide can be useful when learning to sharpen, but we see them as training wheels to learn the correct angle or to correct bevels. With practice, doing it without a guide becomes very intuitive and more efficient.

  30. steiner on 9 August 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Great video. I haven’t made the guide and don’t plan to yet. But this and the other video in cabinet scrapers did get me going with one last night.

    I’ve discovered the magic of the cabinet scraper. And I’m hooked!

  31. Pheroz Tengra on 7 September 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Brilliant video – What was the purpose of the small block that got screwed in. It seems to me if the blade is cinched when put in the vise, then what does the small block serve ?

  32. Wayne Niemi on 30 November 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Like many, I’ve been wrestling with my cabinet scraper. So this is great. But I have a question. Why wouldn’t I just skip the filing and take it to my lowest grit diamond stone?

    • Philip Adams on 3 December 2018 at 1:47 pm

      The file removes the steel a little quicker to get you beyond the old burr and a fresh start for the new steel. The diamond stone then gets you a smoother surface ready for the burnisher.

  33. Scarlett McCalman on 20 April 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Your videos are endlessly helpful. What about sharpening a regular card scraper? I assume that technique would be slightly different. I’ve watched a few other videos about it but I always get the best results after watching yours. Thank you so much.

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