Hand Tools Archive

A scraper seminar with Paul Hamler *PIC*

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
Attended Midwest Tool Collectors regional meet in Raleigh this weekend. For those unfamiliar with these events they are attended by numerous tool dealers and individuals selling old tools, in this case 50 of them comprising about 75- 4 x 8 tables worth. It is a boggling array of everything from $1000+ Stanley #1 planes to perfect working order #4's for $30. It is common for a dealer to bring the results of an Estate purchase to unpack and sell as was the case with two dealers occupying numerous tables each. It is an excellent place to get user tools, or collector tools if that is an interest. I bought an excellent #3 and #6 for a friend for a total of $90.

Demonstrating was someone I never heard of, Paul Hamler.

In addition to making Lilliputian tools and producing videos he has developed scraper inserts for Stanley planes. The talk was on scrapers of all kinds. I am not a stranger to scrapers. I scraped 250 sqft of new installation oak floor some time ago and regularly use card scrapers.

My use of scrapers is much like my use of planes. They are a reliable means of removing wood and I don't care about the resulting finish if it is smooth enough to sand. My problem with scrapers is that they don't remove wood fast enough and they dull quickly. I got enlightened. When Paul removed 1/4" depth of wood with a straight "Chair Scraper" it got my attention. With a plane mounted scraper he rolled off the equivalent of coarse plane shavings, or fine shavings if set fine.

Derek recently described making a scraper from a thick plane blade. I was unable to repeat this success with my grinder and a piece of M2. Don't question Derek's results but they may not be achievable without his grinding set up and tougher carbon steel. These results could pale beside what Paul did with a piece of 0.042" "blue" 1095 spring steel mounted various ways.

The secret, I think, was the edge preparation. Vastly less fiddly than what I have seen demonstrated. He went from a cut off piece of 1095 to removing 1/4" depth of wood from the edge of a short section of a board in about 2 minutes. Clearly his edges were vastly more aggressive and durable than what I have achieved. A web site video explains the preparation. To summarize- the steps are draw file edge at 45 degrees, polish face to remove filing burr, roll burr, clean area under the burr, straighten burr, re-roll burr, clean burr. He claimed this process produced a tough long lasting burr and the results confirmed the claim.

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