Using Scrapers

Using Scrapers

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Ever struggled with your scrapers, unable to achieve the results you where hoping for? Hoping to pick up a few tips on how to scrape awkward grain? Paul shows us various techniques he uses to get the desired finish.


  1. Nir on 1 May 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks again guys for another great presentation !
    That, for me, cleared a lot of confusion about the use of the cabinet scraper.
    You know what’s coming next don’t you ? Ebay prices for the No 80 are about to skyrocket 🙁

  2. Jamie Duff on 1 May 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Another excellent video, always struggled with cabinet scrapers ..

  3. Eddy Flynn on 1 May 2014 at 8:45 pm

    thanks Paul / team i know this will come in useful

  4. bsddude on 1 May 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I am glad I got my no. 80 a while ago. It has been a life saveron several jobs already. The sharping instructions in Pauls book and then the video really made the difference.

    I loved what it can do to tiger maple.

  5. John Moore on 1 May 2014 at 9:08 pm

    I love my pair of NO. 80 scrapers. I love the thin card scrapers on spoons, walking sticks, and canes.

    Great stuff on this video!

  6. Andy Lovelock on 1 May 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Excellent video Paul. Thank you.

  7. whitneyturk on 1 May 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Awesome. So much more useful for its thoroughness than other videos I’ve seen on scrapers. Much appreciated.

  8. Salko Safic on 1 May 2014 at 9:37 pm

    I’ve learned the hard way that not all boards can be planed take for example that clock I posted in the forum. Camphour Laurel sometimes can plane beautifully but most of the time the grain will switch on you just like in that oak you showed. To me the most logical conclusion was to pull out my cabinet scraper but I do have 2 questions for you Paul every lumber I get are rough sawn and slabs if it’s camphour. What can I do to flatten the boards before scraping it, if I try and plane it the tearout isn’t small pocket holes but large chunks.

    Also my 80 cabinet scraper since I last sharpened it I must of created a massive hook because it’s impossible to scrape with even with the knob loosened completely off the blade it’s extremely hard to scrape. Other than the hook I’m stumped as to what can be wrong with it.


    • Diego Valdevino on 1 May 2014 at 10:40 pm

      Hi Salko,

      I’ve never worked with Camphour, but I’ve worked with Garapeira Wood (Apuleia Ieiocarpa) which has high occurrence of reverse, wavy and fuzzy grain. I’ve started using a normal setting jack plane, but soon enough I’d to switch to a non-aggressive cut with my scrub. Every bite was chewing huge chunks of wood, so I’ve changed to light diagonal cuts making the tearout “small pocket holes” sized. Later on I’ve planed the surface with a high angle blade (about 80º).

      I’ve used this same technique with some “rebellious” rosewood afterwards.

      Cheers from Brazil.

      • Todd on 2 May 2014 at 4:00 am

        Question: If one is getting more “powder” and small shavings what does this mean? Is the scraper dull, angle of attack with scraper to large (i.e. lay the scraper down more)? I have never seen someone take as big of shavings with a scraper as you do.

    • Paul SellersTeam Member on 6 May 2014 at 3:34 am

      Diagonal or even cross-grain cuts works on many woods but the plane must be sharpened all the way through to 15,000 and then sharpened minute by minute.
      On the scraper. it sounds as though you blade is protruding before you turn the thumbscrew in the back.. Therein is your problem i think. Set the blade dead flush and with not eve a slight protrusion. Cinch up the bar setscrews and then turn the thumbscrew a minute fraction. this should then give you a very light cut. turn more as needed.

  9. jeff novak on 1 May 2014 at 10:56 pm

    paul…I think you’re the best woodworker I’ve ever watched. I love scraping with my card scraper and recently followed the video on sharpening very carefully. Wow, what a difference! Better shavings than I’ve ever had but also a much smoother refined shine whereas I was getting tiny lines and micro blemish. I must not have been consolidating the edge well enough. Thanks so much. And yes, the other commenter is right….watch ebay go bonkers now on #80 scrapers from now on just like amazon went nuts with the little stanley 10-049 marking knives.

  10. STEVE MASSIE on 1 May 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Paul Thanks for this very helpful video. I do struggle with scrappers and now I can see where it will be my new best friend once I get the sharpening down.


  11. bit101 on 2 May 2014 at 12:02 am

    “This will not plane, I don’t care who you are.”

    This made my day, after getting beat up by a similar looking board yesterday.

  12. Pasquale Avocone on 2 May 2014 at 2:10 am

    Thanks Paul i enjoyed that demo, picked up heaps of tips.

  13. Brian Loran on 2 May 2014 at 3:53 am

    Fantastic video. Thank you.

    When I use a card scraper near edges, it always grabs the edge and tears it up. It looked like you were scraping right to the edge. How do you do that?

  14. Todd on 2 May 2014 at 4:02 am

    Question: If one is getting more “powder” and small shavings what does this mean? Is the scraper dull, angle of attack with scraper to large (i.e. lay the scraper down more)? I have never seen someone take as big of shavings with a scraper as you do.

    I posted this again because somehow it posted underneath a previous comment. Sorry about that.


    • David Whitehurst on 2 May 2014 at 4:51 am

      You haven’t learned how to prepare the scraper hook yet. I’m having the same trouble but I realized the my scraper steel is great stuff but you also need a good burnisher. It’s an art I think but once you get it, you’ll scrape every project. I know I will.

    • Paul SellersTeam Member on 6 May 2014 at 3:40 am

      Todd, it can be any of the above. Most often i think it’s turning the edge too much and getting close to angle so that the egde is cutting but has no relief as you pass through the cut. I suggest you start over and keep starting over until you get a good clean shaving. When you do, you will both know that you can and know what to aim for. this is one of those deals where you have to keep trying and when you do get it it is very freeing.

  15. David Whitehurst on 2 May 2014 at 4:49 am

    I spoke with my father and he knew about scrapers but he never used them. I got a #80 Stanley and a blue steel card scraper this year. I’ve just finished a cherry table and I figured out your heel method on my little table top. This is great stuff. Scrapers are the secret to woodworking (finishing). I don’t sand much anymore and I don’t plan to in the future. Great job Paul teaching about this! I’ve ruined every homemade burnisher I’ve tried but my cabinet-maker friend made me one with a turned walnut handle from some very hard steel he found at a flea market. I’m getting it this weekend. I need to learn to prepare the irons better.

  16. John Peterson on 2 May 2014 at 5:22 am

    Very helpful information. Based on this video, I now have confidence and know how to use a scraper properly. Prior to viewing I had no clue as to scraper methodology. Thank you and great job Paul.

  17. Adam Sabouni on 2 May 2014 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks Paul, once again very informative and useful. I have been “a hobbyist woodworking” for about 25 years. My method of improving my skills over time was to buy the newest and more expensive power tools I could afford. After I have watched Paul’s videos and sat in some of his classes in wood shows, my wood working skills improved significantly. Furthermore, I now enjoy woodworking much more and stopped spending thousands of $$ trying to improve the quality of my furniture pieces. Thanks Paul, you are the best. Next step for me is to attend several of your classes (I will find time).


  18. knightlylad on 3 May 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Best lecture on using scrapers I’ve ever seen, thank you.

  19. Kirk Zabolio on 5 May 2014 at 10:29 pm

    thanks Paul You have the best videos on the internet.

  20. George Fulford on 24 July 2014 at 2:47 am

    I’ve run into 3 small problems that I hope you can help with. I recently made a small laptop desk with a sycamore/oak desktop with purpleheart accents and banding. The oak worked fine except one small area where it seems to splinter up as I was scraping. The more I scraped in any direction, the worse it got. The sycamore felt fuzzy even after scraping. The purpleheart just didn’t seem to want to be scraped no matter which direction I scraped; with, against or cross-grain. It showed small rounded ripples that I could feel with my fingertip. Any advice?

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  21. Paul SellersTeam Member on 11 August 2014 at 5:53 pm

    This has to come down to the sharpness of the scraper. File off the old burr and renew it. Make the burr more fine and not too big and feel for the edge the wood gently. It should cut easily and not require much pressure at all.

  22. George Fulford on 30 September 2014 at 5:14 am

    Thanks for the advice, Paul. All I needed was to refine my sharpening skills on the scraper (it’s my first one). I’ve used it a few more times now and have gotten the sycamore to feel quite smooth on other projects I’ve used it on. Haven’t had a chance to try it on purpleheart again, though.

  23. Kyriakos Siafakas on 4 October 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Hey Paul , what clamps are you using? You talked about them in another video , I remember, but I cant find it. Regards , Kyriakos

  24. crow horse on 5 September 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Hi Paul Thank you for all the inspiration you have given to us all.. I have sold some of my electric tools for the I Feel more in touch with the wood and the project itself by using hand tools .
    I only wish I had known of you school in Penrhyn Castle in North Walesnorth Wales as I lived in Chester, England. for 20 yrs.I have been to that castle. I worked as a computer engineer ,North Wals was my territory. I moved back to the US in 2007. Anyway Thank you verymuch for all you do for us , the way you describe and explain the best way of doing woodworking.. IIf I get back to England, I will stop and see the classes at Penrhyn Castle…
    Thanks again Paul to you and your son..

  25. Jeff Frazee on 8 January 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks for making these downloadable. I live in a small town in southern Mali; no paved roads, no running water, and the internet doesn’t work very reliably. So I download these whenever I can to watch later.
    By nature I work slowly, and where I am means that all the wood I can get is boards cut by hand with a chainsaw; very rough, no mill at all. So all these little details are so essential for me.
    Nothing is really well done here, and I dream of showing my friends and neighbors what is possible. One plus of where I live is that I got 60 board feet of mahogany for less than $20 usd.
    With sincere thanks from your satellite classroom in West Africa.

    • Paul SellersTeam Member on 13 January 2016 at 9:16 am

      So, so good to be able to reach you there in Mali, Jeff. This blesses me more than anything.

  26. zircote on 21 January 2016 at 2:50 am

    For the instances on larger work pieces like a table that I want a more shallow angle of attack as Paul spoke of on the picture frame, I generally keep the narrow sides of a card scraper sharpened and draw it lengthwise. I have found this useful in those instances when you can not get your hands below the cards center of gravity on large pieces.

  27. Chad Magiera on 10 August 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks again for an awesome explanation and demonstration of practical woodworking in a way that makes sense!


  28. Marsha Werman on 4 November 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Hi, thank you so much for these videos. My brother just gifted me with an old Stanley 80. I cleaned it up and flattened the sole. It did not have a blade so I bought a Veritas blade. I honed it slightly and turned the hook. I put the blade in and tested. It is taking shavings at both edges, but not in the middle. What would cause this? I am going to try re-inserting the blade again (tried that once), tightening the thumbscrew for more flex. I didn’t hone the blade too much, so I think it is straight. (But I’ll check). Anything else I should check for? Thank you again and I have learned so much from your videos!

    • Ed on 7 November 2016 at 1:17 pm

      Check the sole of the #80 with a straightedge. It should be flat. The sharpened blade, before it goes into the #80 should be flat. If these two things are true, then pressure from the knob in the center, even just a little, should develop a cut that is central. I have the opposite problem at times- Sometimes I get just a skinny little shaving at the center rather than a wider shaving.

  29. jeffpolaski on 7 November 2016 at 5:20 am

    Feedback! You need feedback, or more specifically your hands need feedback. Start without the Stanley 80, hold the scraper blade in both hands and bend it when you scrape. Don’t be at all bashful about using thin leather workgloves (in the US I get deerskin) that will give you maximum feedback to your hands.

    I’m guessing, but since you are starting with the Stanley 80, that’s a big chunk of metal between your hands and the work (where the blade meets the wood. If you eliminate the blade holder and depend on your hands (protected by the gloves) you’ll be able to feel where the cutting is happening all along the length of the scraper blade. You won’t feel that as well with the Stanley 80.

    With that experience, you’ll get tactile feedback from the blade and wood, and your muscle memory will start to learn how much pressure you need and where you need it. You’ll be more successful without the tool, and then, it’ll be a natural to simply insert the tool into your process and be successful with that. Remember, with scraping, you don’t really need a scraping appliance, you’re just using it for convenience, repeatability, comfort. It’s an add-on, not a requirement.

    That was my approach. I’m just now looking for a Stanley 80 (what a simple little tool) to keep my fingers from cramping and my epidermis from bleeding. If you’ve already got the blade preparation under control, you are well more than halfway there.

  30. Harvey Kimsey on 10 July 2017 at 3:14 pm

    I really like how Paul demonstrated scraping on a number of different woods with different challenges. I wish I had watched this before gluing up a caddy made from Sapele; I would have scrapped all the surfaces before gluing!!

  31. Brian Miller on 27 November 2017 at 10:57 am

    This is a goldmine of information. Absolute gold. Only here is this possible. Thank You.

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