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Thread: Help with Cabinet Scraper

  1. #1

    Question Help with Cabinet Scraper

    I brought a Veritas Cabinet Scraper with the intent of using it as part of the finishing step. However, I'm having the hardest time getting it to work smoothly. There seems to be a lot of instructions for sharpening scrapers but not very many on how to use and troubleshoot them.

    The problems I'm having are:
    1. The scraper is always digging into the wood when I start a stroke. Perhaps I'm putting too much pressure? If I use less pressure or loosen the main nut, the scraper doesn't dig as much but also doesn't do anything.
    2. The blade sometimes jumps or rattles when I push, causing it to dig in several times in one stroke.
    3. I find that the shavings are always getting stuck in the mouth to where every other stroke requires cleaning. Is this normal?
    4. The burr only lasts a handful of strokes before I either feel like I'm pushing too hard to get shavings or it just makes dust. Is it normal to be constantly re-burring?

    I created the burr using a screw driver as I don't have a burnisher. I can feel it with my finger and it does make (small) shavings.

    For context, I'm using this on dimensional maple as an alternative to sanding. I was thinking: scrape, sand lightly with 220, raise grain, sand with 320, then dye. However, this scraping hasn't been very fruitful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Others can chime in but, I do not use a cabinet scraper as an initial surface prep tool. Taking one directly to unprepared surfaces would generally result in, for me, just what you are experiencing. I do use a scraper to match up reversing or tricky figured areas of a surface that I am hand planing. Used this way I am taking very thin shavings off of a fairly flat surface in order to level-match or surface-match the surrounding planed area.

    LV Cab Scraper (1).jpg . LV Cab Scraper (2).jpg
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 08-26-2019 at 10:53 PM.
    Buy a man a plane ticket and he’ll fly for a day.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Perth, Australia
    Wei, I suspect that the issue is simply the poor hook you have created, along with likely too much blade extension.

    The situation is similar to someone saying that they rubbed their plane blade on the sidewalk several times, but it still does not perform well. Having a hook does not mean that it is well shaped, or even at the correct angle. It also sounds as though the blade is not tightened down securely.

    Have you read the instructions and video (this one is not your scraper, but demos the blade)?,310,48431

    Regards from Perth


  4. #4
    I find I get a better edge after rolling the hook the second time round, I would use a non marred drill bit rather than a screwdriver if in a pinch.
    I also use a rectangular block to register the scraper on the stone, and for resting on whilst filing with a single cut file, although it sounds like you have the hang of that allready.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    It may not help with your current tool, but I switched to older designs which are pulled. Sandvik makes a carbide scraper for paint removal which works beautifully.

    A light touch is easy to achieve, on the pull stroke.

    I prefer the older Stanley 82 "floor scraper" with a standard steel insert for larger passes, as I can relieve the corners.

  6. #6
    On the Veritas, the thumb screw adjustment can radically change how the scraper performs.

    I would start by setting up the blade again. Pay particular attention to the hook angle.

    Incorrect hook angle and/or too much extension can cause your difficulty.

  7. #7
    dumb question 1: You have a bevel angle of 45 degrees, right? (Unlike card scrapers, the cab scraper blade has a bevel)
    dumb question 2: Is your blade reversed in the body?

    I also suspect the blade projection from the bottom of the sole. I was counselled to set the sole on a business card on a bench, an let the blade project past that to the bench. However, I find it quicker and more effective to sit the scraper on the bench directly, place the blade in the body, just press it firmly to the bench; then turn the screw to set it; then scrape and keep tightening the thumb screw until shavings are achieved.

    You may want to practice on a board that you KNOW to be flat and smooth already. It can also sometimes be the case that a rough milled board has enough undulations that it takes a few passes with a plane or scraper before it gets a continuous shaving.

  8. #8
    I have a scraper like yours and I end up using the Stanley 12-1/4 a lot more because it lets me adjust the bed angle of the scraper to where the blade wants to work best.
    It helps me to take some shavings with the blade loose in my hands to get a feel for the angle it wants to work at. I think that angle is determined by the angle of the burnisher when drawing the burr. Since you can’t tweak the bed angle, it helps me to tweak the angle of the burnisher to what makes the blade work with the scraper body.
    I also end up using the blade loose in my hands more often than with the scraper body. Wears out the hands but for a lot of things it is just a better approach for me and I suspect it gives a better sense of how the whole thing wants to work.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Pueblo, CO
    I've used mine on maple quite a bit and use the technique Prashun described: "sit the scraper on the bench directly, place the blade in the body, just press it firmly to the bench; then turn the screw to set it; then scrape and keep tightening the thumb screw until shavings are achieved."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Eastern PA
    One, make sure the hook in the blade is good. It takes a while (at least for me) to get good at it. Just keep practicing if you have to.
    Second, I would see how hard you're turning that thumb screw. I don't have to go that far for it to start cutting and I make pretty light passes with it.

  11. #11
    When I used to use my stanley scraper which is similar in design to the one you have, I had the same problem. The advice above on hook angles is all good stuff. I would set the holder on a sheet of notebook paper (.003-.004" thick) so the blade could be slid down so it missed the paper, and rested on the work bench and then locked it in place. This gives you minimal blade exposure and you can start there. If you aren't getting good shavings add another sheet of otebook paper until you get good results.
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    Captain USN(Ret)

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  12. #12
    Thanks for all the advice!

    I'll look at rolling the hook again. Perhaps I should get a real burnisher like this one? I am having trouble figuring out which drill bit/screw driver/etc is actually harder than the scraper so maybe using a real burnisher will help.

    Those are good points about the blade angle not being adjustable. I was just free-handing the 45 angle but I'll look at building a jig so I can reproduce the same angle each time I sharpen. I was also sharpening the blade with a metal file which is what some videos suggest is good enough.

    When inserting the blade, I don't elevate the sole at all. I put the scraper on the workbench, stick the blade in, turn the locking screws tight then turn the thumb screw until the blade sticks out just a bit past the sole. I didn't know about pressing the scraper down while adjusting the screws, I'll give that a shot too.

    I'm pretty sure the lumber I'm using is S4S as it's already fairly flat and smooth.

    Taking a step back, should I look at using a different tool for finishing wood? I don't have the budget to spend $200+ on a hand plane and there's too much wood for a card scraper.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Austin Texas
    Wei, I bet you a dollar that you need not spend $200 plus on a decent #3 or #4 plane to finish your S4S material. I believe, traditionally, a plane is acquired and used for final finishing before one moves to a scraper plane. I tend to think of a scraper for troublesome surfaces that are giving the plane problems, but do not consider myself to be a true expert either. As to the scraper blade sharpening, I was taught to treat it the same as a plane blade (use stones after filing and before rolling).

  14. #14
    I use a quality mechanics screwdriver blade to "bend" the scraper edges. The screwdriver tang is square allowing either the corners or the flat side of the tang for turning the scraper. Suggest that you adjust the exposed blade with each scrape as needed, even trying on a soft wood first to determine if the problem is either the tool or your technique. Also observe the grain direction and adjust the direction of the scrape accordingly. Best wishes

  15. #15

    Yes, IMO you should use a real burnisher. Put a little oil on it. William Ng has an excellent video on prepping a scraper.

    I don't think the 45° bevel is really that critical you need a jig. At least I've never used on. On another note, I've often wondered why it is even necessary. Perhaps someone could enlighten me on that.

    I say this because it seems to me the plane body is holding the blade at an angle pretty nearly the same you would a freehand, and there is no bevel on those at all.

    Regardless, my point was what is critical is the angle of the hook to the flat face of the blade. Since the approach angle is set by the scraper, you can't microadjust the angle like a card scraper, so the hook angle has to be just right.

    That said, my other point was a scraper will not take the place of a hand plane. You can either find an old Stanley or better yet, the WoodRiver planes sold by Woodcraft are the best buy out there IMO. I believe a #4 is well under $200.

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