Hand Tools Archive

Scraper Burnisher - Hardness Counts

david weaver
For the last 10 years, I've been using a crown burnisher. It's hard in parts, but near the ferrule, it's soft enough that the cards notch it. I'm not the first person I've seen mention this, either.

To use it, I have to grip further up on the rod itself, and make sure the card scraper doesn't get further down than the middle of the handle. I'm sure the scraper cutting the burnishing rod just results in the edge of the scraper getting torn off.

Perhaps 8 years ago, I got a hock burnishing rod. On a whim, I took my unused hock rod out of the drawer this weekend and stoned off a tiny bit of surface rust on it and used it on the cards I had laying around, which were both 1095 from different places.

What I can't believe is how much better and easier the burr is rolled with the hock. I also have a small piece of carbide rod, but same issue, it's not in a handle.

For almost 10 years now I've been working a whole lot harder than I have to to roll a burr because the crown burnisher is marginal hardness. I've always ascribed to rolling the first burr lightly and then increasing pressure on subsequent rolls as needed, as I'd imagine a lot of economy of effort minded folks do. the crown never did it well on the first few rolls until more pressure is used (and even then, the burr never really impressed - functional, I guess, is about as good as it could be labeled). A properly hardened rod does it perfectly. I can't believe I didn't make some effort earlier. I'd say I can't believe that crown would make a burnishing rod that can be cut by card scrapers, but i've got several little crown tools and a dovetail saw and it's not that surprising - none of them really impress.

Not much of a story, I know, and nothing magical about the hock rod, it's just not too soft like the crown.

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