Mark ( on November 20th, 2008

This review is another in a series on Hand Tools that I am doing with SmartFlix to help them develop a curriculum of instructional DVD’s for hand tool work in the woodshop.

Hand_Scraper.jpgSimilar to the Charlesworth DVD’s that I reviewed previously, this DVD: Hand Scrapers, Understanding, Preparing and Using the Ultimate Finishing Tool was shot on location at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. It is hosted by Chris Schwarz of Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine fame.

During the DVD Chris takes you through all aspects of the preparation and use of the simple card scraper.   The premise for the content of the DVD is an article that Chris wrote for the February 2007 issue of Popular Woodworking and called “A Better Way to Sharpen Scrapers”.  The article and the DVD are the culmination of a comparison of different 14 methods to find the best way to prepare and use this useful tool.  As an added bonus, the article is also included on the DVD in PDF format.

Much like the Chrlesworth DVD’s shot at Lie-Nielsen, the video production is not fancy. However, it is adequate with clear video and minimal use of graphics to reinforce the techniques and principles.  Chris is very articulate and clear in his explanations of the techniques and the rationale for why the card scraper is such a simple yet valuable tool.

The DVD starts out with reasons why every woodworker can benefit from the use of a card scraper and briefly discusses the the mechanics of scraping using the burr on the scraper.  Some good examples of scraper use are shown including: dealing with wild changing grain in a board, leveling a sag in a lacquer finish and eliminting tearout left from a hand plane.

Scraper preparation is also covered in detail including: filing, honing and burnishing the tool.  Chris shares some good tips and jigs for acurate filing of the edge 90 degrees to the face as well as ways to avoid gauging your water stones during the sharpening process.  Leveraging from the techniques that Charlesworth uses to sharpen plane blades, Chris also shows the use of the ruler trick as it applied to honing the face of the scraper.  With the scraper sharpened and honed, burnishing the edge is also covered in detail with a complete but short discussion on varying burnishing angles.

With the scraper freshly honed and burnished, Chris moves to the wood to show how to properly use the tool to get good shavings and results.  This segment included a good discussion with examples of the correct kind of shavings to expect with a properly tuned tool as well as the differences between planed and scraped surfaces (especially when staining a project). Though this segment was good as produced, I would have liked to see a bit more on the use of the card scraper in various woodworking situations.  Last is a segment on how to re-sharpen the scraper including when to simply re-hone and when to go back to the filing stage.

Essentially, this DVD shows a combination of the best methods of the 14 surveyed ways to sharpen a card scraper.  The techniques are well presented and easy to understand.  If you have never used a card scraper, then this DVD will make you wonder why.  If you have struggled to get one sharp, the DVD provides a simple and repeatable method to get reliable results using this simple tool.

Don’t rofget, if you are a new customer and interested in renting this DVD before the full Hand Tools course is developed, SmartFlix has offered readers of The Craftsman’s Path a $2 discount coupon for your use.  SImply use the coupon code: CRAFTPATH when you check out!

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