When it comes to tweaking the final shape or if you have a small amount of tearout to smooth, there are no better tools in woodworking than card scrapers and cabinet scrapers. These are simple tools that when sharp can save your project at almost any step prior to finishing – the surface of your project can be made glass-smooth. The problem most woodworkers have with these tools is sharpening them. But once you have my seven-step process down, you’ll never want for a sharp scraper again.
While the seven steps are used to sharpen both blades, there are a few differences in the techniques when moving from blade to blade. When filing and honing a card scraper, the edge is made square. (If you need help in holding the file at the perfect angle, there’s a trick using a small block that gets the job done.) Plus, how you position your sharpening stones makes the transition to the next step way easy (Fig. 1). These are significant setups learned through experience that will save you time and get your edge right.
Change the Angle of Attack
With a cabinet scraper, setup is different. The first rule is to make sure that your tool is good to go. Check the casting for cracks or breaks. Stresses put onto the tools when your blade is in place are significant; regardless of how sharp your blade is, a damaged cabinet scraper is not going to provide peak performance. Additionally, while the base of the tool needs to be relatively flat, there is little need to spends hours bringing the sole of your scraper within .001” to .002”.