Turning Archive 2004
Mike Schwing from Md.
>I'm a fan of big, heavy duty tools. For about a year now I've been looking at the Kelton Shear Scraper that has been on the wall, unsold, at the local Woodcraft. I just knew, by the size and weight of that tool, that it would be a good thing. I just couldn't figure out why it was so darned long, probably 20" or more, and unhandled at that. I figured it was for use in a deep hollowing rig, which I have now had for a while. Plus, it wasn't cheap at about $70 if I recall correctly. But every time I saw it I knew it would be a good tool, and I don't use shear scrapers but maybe 1% of the time.
I bought it.
The first time I used it was in my hollowing rig, and wanted too see how it would work on an end grain box elder open form I was having trouble with. The scraper has two flats ground on it that keep it stable on the toolrest and orient the scraper in optimum position, but the cutter tip can also be rotated as needed. The tool is truly big and heavy compared to most common turning tools, and WOW does it work well.
I tried it right from the store, no extra sharpening and was immediately amazed at how it sliced right through end grain, producing zero tear out. It put a showroom ready finish on the work, which was all end grain, and I was excited. I managed to work the entire 15" shallow bowl without needing to change cutter orientation.
Next I tried it freehand, no handle, on a more normally oriented piece of work. Still worked great and I could hold the handle end down a bit and work the orientation better than when it was in the captive tool.
I then put it in my Kelton handle and even though the darned thing was almost as tall as me, I was able to hold onto it without asking Mrs. Schwing to stand behind me and hold onto the handle end while I worked the business end. The combination of extra weight, mass, and length allowed that tool to take whatever path I aimed it in through the wood. It works remarkably well, and is without a doubt on par with my Ellsworth gouge as one of the best things I've thus far purchased.
After that end grain piece dried I put it to the test again, with the handle, freehand, to finish up that bowl. Worked superbly, just as before.
I decided to sharpen it with a diamond card file and then put a burr on it. Should have done that to start with!
The other day I was working on a bowl with a deeply recessed lip and wanted to see if the shear scraper would be a good tool for that. It was. I had to reorient the cutter but that was no problem, a 13mm wrench was all it required.
I don't think it would work as well on the exterior of a form/convex forms as the Ellsworth grind in shear scraping mode, but for concave interiors it amazed me.
I'd be afraid to use it in a form where I couldn't keep an eye on the cutter, but that might just be me.
I'll be using this shear scraper a LOT more in the future.