Friday, March 9, 2007

Cabinet Scrapers pt. 2

There is no snappy photo today because my computer is in the shop and there is only so much that I can do here at the library!
Back to the cabinet scraper. Now you've filed and honed the edge square and sharp and turned a tiny burr. I'll say once more, TINY burr. This is the most common problem I've seen students have with scrapers. A large burr will cut well for about 2 strokes and then break off, leaving a dull jagged edge. How do you know if the burr is too large? Can you feel it without concentrating?, then it's too large.
Once you feel that the burr is correctly formed, take the scraper to the wood and practice not cutting. Yes NOT cutting! As with any tool, it is easy to be distracted by our human desire to see the thing cut wood. So start by holding the blade perpendicular to the surface and place your hands around the sides and your thumbs together at the bottom of the back. I like for my thumbs to touch each other and the surface of the wood. They provide all of the dampening and control. Push the blade forward along the wood. It should slide easily as long as you aren't leaning forward into the cut. Do this a few times. Then lean forward into the cut slightly, and I mean a degree or two. Does it still slide? If it does, lean another couple of degrees forward and push. At some point, the burr will catch and you will feel huge resistance. This is the angle at which the tool should lean forward during use. The common mistake is to lessen the resistance by leaning too far forward, which scratches the surface and destroys the burr quickly. If you have any trouble in finding the correct cutting angle for your burr, simply return to the "perpendicular not cutting" position and do the process again. Please let me know how this technique adds up against you're previous experience. More on actual scraping technique soon


Herman Veenendaal said...

How much pressure do you apply with the burnisher when rolling the burr?

Peter Galbert said...

I use very little pressure. The actual amount of metal that you are attempting to distort is very small. Instead of heavy pressure, try taking a couple of extra strokes, and a little oil on the burnisher will help the process. Remember, even your last stroke will be nearly perpendicular to the scraper!