Scrapers and Scratch Stocks

Some wood scrapers. Bottom is a hand held scraper, which is held to the wood at a slight angle, away, and with the thumbs pushing slightly in the center, to bow the scraper. Middle right is a scraper, that does all of the angling and bowing for you. Top is a stencil scraper, designed for removing stenciled shipping labels from wooden shipping boxes.

Most wood scrapers are "sharpened" in an unusual method; they are flattened on edge with a fine file, and perpendicular to the sides. Then, a burnishing tool is applied to that edge, flat and then with a very slight angle on each side of the working edge, bending the edge into a "burr". The burnishing tool is a polished and hardened rod or oval, fitted with a handle, to add the burr.

The "burr", that does the actual cutting, as seen above. Note that objects in drawing appear larger than they actually are. The stencil scraper, has however, just a conventionally sharpened edge, and the bow is already in the cutter, so that raising the handle narrows the cutting edge.

Some other methods of scraping wood include using broken glass as the tool, or razor blades, and even sharp knives can scrape the surface when held perpendicular to the work, or slightly angled. The wood is removed as shavings, much as if a plane was used.

The scratch stock is probably very ancient, as a tool, and is exceptionally versatile . If I need only a few feet of molding, I can grind a new cutter in minutes, sharpen, and be cutting wood very quickly.

My scratch stock, with a few of it's cutters, and the small, round file used for the sharpening. I've recently added an additional fence, to increase stability.

The added fence has increased control, and reduced the "ripple" effect common to working with a scratch stock. The ripple is caused by alternating bands of hard and soft wood. Light pressure on the cutter with heavy pressure on the fence will control ripple, and gesso and sanding reconciles a multitude of sins.

Scratch stocks, here, here, are sharpened in a similar way to the regular scraper. I sharpen my cutters by using the small round file, at a slight angle away from the cutter. A few strokes, on both sides, produces a "burr" that shaves the wood.