Scraper Planes

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Blackswanwood

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I noticed there is a LN Scraper Plane up for sale and am posting my question separately to avoid hijacking that thread.

While I regularly use a cabinet scraper I've never been able to get my head around the need for a scraper plane so may be missing something?

To be clear I'm not casting any aspersion about them (and hopefully this won't invite a sharpening thread style response where people feel the need to reach for burning torches and pitchforks) but I'd be interested in learning from anyone who finds one useful.
 

Hornbeam

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I bought a Lie Nielsen large scraper plane many years ago. I find it a very temperamental tool but when it is working will it is fantastic in highly figured timber. I almost get round to putting it up for sale and then ..... Would I buy one again probably not
I also use a hand scraper but not for the same sort of things I use the scaper plane for
Out of interest have you ever tried one?
 

D_W

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There isn't a need - it's a tool generally designed for veneer work.

You can get really good at setting one (I don't ...sorry about the way this sounds ...I don't think anyone can set a scraper better than I can, and I can set them easily and the edge lasts well), and still find that it's a big waste of time to have compared to a stanley four with a cap iron set.

The stanley literally does everything better - I don't have experience with veneer work, so I can't really say why it's better than any other scraper for that (OK, I've done some, but not enough to make use of a scraping plane).

I've had the #112, the LN version, the big LV version and the LN #212. The first, I got cheap, the two in the middle, a friend and I decided we'd each buy one of the premiums so we could get a look at both without having to buy both, and the last was a scraper that I kept to scrape small items and japanese plane soles. It's also gone now.

I didn't know how to use the cap iron when I bought any of the above, but what cured me was five large curly maple panels that I glued and that cupped overnight after having a "pro" run them through a multi-drum sander. The scraping planes were so pointless for dealing with removing minimal cupping that I ended up dumping the big one that I still had (the LV - friend still has the LN plane - he's never used it that I'm aware of, but was sold by patrick's B&G talking about how great a scraper plane is).
 

paulrbarnard

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I have the veritas scraper plane. I use it occasionally. I bought it for a specific project that was giving me some grief. To be honest a card scraper is a lot more versatile but the big scraper plane can be set for an aggressive cut and doesn’t burn your fingers.
 

Blackswanwood

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Out of interest have you ever tried one?

I had a play around with the small LN one at the Harrogate show but couldn’t get the hang of it. My recollection is that the iron was thick and it was hard work to get it to do anything.



it's a tool generally designed for veneer work.

Presumably as it takes very fine shavings so reduces the risk of going going through the veneer?

You can fit a toothed blade in them, which is excellent for flattening very difficult grain like epicormic growth in oak.

Sounds painful!

Thanks for the replies - hopefully the Harrogate show will happen this year and I’ll have another go!
 

TheTiddles

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I had one.
I know others who had one (they are better at woodwork than me).
We all sold them as we couldn’t get on with them.
 

D_W

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Presumably as it takes very fine shavings so reduces the risk of going going through the veneer?
In theory, it should scrape veneer and be indifferent about grain direction. I've not done that kind of thing with them, so the curiosity to me why it doesn't push fibers loose working cross grain.

As far as the depth of shaving, you can vary the size of the burr on the iron once you get the hang of setting them and get a fairly aggressive cut (like a thicker smoother cut) or a very fine cut. The adjustment on the tool allows you to set a coarser (not coarse in edge quality, but large in size) and then control cut depth by adjusting the iron's angle.

it sounds great. When you get the hang of everything and can set it quickly, it's entertaining.

But after that, you start to realize that it lasts less long than a smooth plane (if the burr is good quality, it's surprisingly long) and there's more cut resistance, and getting it to start at the edge of a cut like you can with a plane with a bump - can be a bit of a trick with the big mouth).

Maintaining a clean undamaged burr is kind of similar to keeping a clean undamaged plane iron edge - I won't go into details about rolling burrs and setting them up so they're really high quality, but it's similar in that once the edge is good, it takes no longer to maintain a good one than a bad one.

...

all that said, 15 years ago when these things came onto the market (around then) everyone in the US was getting advice from patrick's B&G (it's neatly done, comprehensive and credible). Patrick had two notable comments - he hated stanley #6 planes and he loved the #112 and I think (without going to look) that he may have called it the best thing that ever came out of stanley.

I think the idea for someone new who has trouble with tearout is that the thing will solve all of the problems someone will have - hamler made scraper inserts for planes and gives a great demonstration. But they're kind of like using a car that has both throttle and mix instead of just throttle. You can master them, but in the end, you'll be happy to have a car that has throttle only. If you had an influential car writer talk about the joy of manually controlling the mix in a car and how much better a car performs with it, people would be looking to try it. that kind of thing.

The effect of Patrick's advice back then was that a #6 was cheaper than anything else you could find with "stanley" on it - about half as much as a 5 1/2 and far less than a 7. far far less. That has worn off.

I think the thrill of the scraping plane has probably worn off, too.

Sorry for the long response, just noting that you can really start to control the burr and do all sorts of things. But a thick shaving with a large burr will leave a sort of fuzzy surface is the smashed shaving going around the turn will start to lift ahead of the tip of the burr doing the cutting.
 

deema

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I have the LV, setup correctly it’s lovely to use. No worries about grain direction, but only suitable for hardwoods not softwood. I often use mine to take down hardwood edges glued onto stuff made from sheet material. It won’t hog material off, but it takes it down reasonable quickly if you set it up. Far easier on the thumbs than a card scraper…..and cooler! Would I sell mine? No chance!
For hogging carp off things a No80 is ideal.
 

D_W

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I was impressed by this vid. Haven't tried it, the day may come though!


It's useful if you decide to make planes or other small things with exposed end grain that doesn't chisel easily.
 

thetyreman

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I used to have the Lie Nielsen no85 scraper plane, it was amazing, regret selling it, now I just use the no80 but the 85 had some unique features and it was very handy for rebates and extreme woods like austrialian woods and exotics, always left a perfect surface on hardwoods.
 

D_W

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(side comment from above - the small LN - I missed that earlier. That was the last one I had, and the last one that I sold since it could be used pretty easily on smaller things.

If anyone here has the urge to buy a scraping plane, it's easier to use just because of the cut width but still has the trick adjuster. The irons small and a little fiddle to grind/sharpen and roll a burr on, but the small sole on it also keeps it from needing an ultra flat surface to work, so panels moving a little bit before you get to scrape them isn't as big of a deal.

The trade off is that it's smaller and narrower and can leave scalloping if you set a really aggressive burr on it.

if you can't get a good burr on a card scraper, you probably will have trouble getting a good burr on one of the planes. But the flip side of that is if you need the plane to force you to learn to install a good consistent burr, you'll find setting up card scrapers pretty easy.

David Charlesworth has an article or video ("five things" or something of that sort) that gives a method to make a little angle jig to set the burr at the right angle on the scraper planes. That's key. You can pretty quickly do it without the burr, but just as sharpening with a jig is a good idea when you're a rank beginner, that setup that David describes is good so you can at least get an idea what the scraper plane can do and then if you want to learn to do the same setup without a jig, you know what you're aiming for. its' a feel thing to some extent, though it's two parts (david shows pretty much one method) - what angle you roll the burr and then how big it is.
20211216_202956.jpg

20211216_161452_copy_2016x980.jpg

I unwittingly ended up moving the bevel on my scrapers over about 20 degrees to separate filing and honing and then burr rolling. The process is faster, and better and halfway toward the method that david uses (though I ended up doing this at first to see if I could maintain a scraper with a deburring wheel and a buffer before rolling the burr - the answer to that is yes, but i don't think it saves any time).

If david C has any of this stuff shown publicly, anyone here who at least wants to get one last big bang out of their scraper plane would do well to either find his DVD video segment or his article.

As far as how aggressive you can get with a card scraper, I just did at least half of the top carve on a rosewood les paul style guitar with a couple of card scrapers with aggressive burrs. It was bliss, and most of the work that I do on something like a guitar neck is finished with a combination of a nicholson super shear and a scraper. Anything that cuts will result in a better and more crisp result than going to coarse sanding early (note the volute at the top of the guitar neck here - how it's crisp and it sort of looks back at you) - the heel is scraped to shape after rasping, too.

20220205_175218.jpg


The very things that work well with the scraper itself on contours, though....well, not available on a scraper plane.
 

D_W

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I used to have the Lie Nielsen no85 scraper plane, it was amazing, regret selling it, now I just use the no80 but the 85 had some unique features and it was very handy for rebates and extreme woods like austrialian woods and exotics, always left a perfect surface on hardwoods.

I know nobody likes to hear this - the cap iron will do those things a little better, and in maybe very extreme cases when there's really weak latewood between hard grain lines, the cap iron in combination with a card scraper will really come close to eliminating the need to sand (one grit of paper and linear sanding will do the trick and not leave any little pocks).

If you like the 85, you may really enjoy the 212 - even though I can't find a great use for these planes at this point, the angle adjustment really lets you extend the life of the edge by putting the burr further into the work as it starts to wear.
 

Bedrock22

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I have used this Bill Carter idea on a couple of old chisels and been happy with the results. Some years' ago, there was a UTube video from the Australian plane makers, showing them using a thin blade to finish the difficult Australian timbers they used for their planes.

I have re-purposed a woodturning paring tool, ( probably Crown) about 30mm. across, of thin HSS, ground at about 80 degrees. Straight off the grinding wheel, it gives an excellent finish and can get into restricted areas where a scraper plane won't.

As a result, I have fixed a wooden handle to an old no.5 plane blade, ground as above, to use on wider areas. I now prefer these to a scraper plane or card shaper as they're easier to achieve an edge, and I don't end up burning my fingers.

As DW points out, they can be used on flat and curved surfaces, and leaning forward, as per usual scraping, or reversed at a very low angle of attack. I recently cleaned up a particularly difficult piece of ash needing a concave surface, with nice creamy shavings.

Nice cheap and very useful.
 

deema

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@D_W can it be done with just the cap iron, or do you also need a York pitch frog? I’ve never been too successful at eliminating tear out with just the cal iron, either I end up with the shavings concerteening and blocking up the the throat as I have the cap iron so close to the edge (no gap under the cap iron to blade, they are lapped together), or I get tear out. I have also tried with a back bevel on the blade. I don’t have a York pitch frog to try out to see if that stops it.
 

D_W

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Just the cap iron at common pitch. There may be a setting or setup issue. I've never found any advantage to York pitch.

(I know this starts to sound like dogma because I repeat it over and over, but it really is just a matter of sticking with it until you get a feel for what works - it should be pretty close to effortless and the piece of wood that evades a clean cut is first, rare, and second, probably something unstable or exceedingly rare......one thing that comes to mind is decades old cocobolo, etc, where the latewood can be powdery, but you can nearly finish plane it and have little follow up).
 
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Ttrees

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What stopped me from getting the close set cap iron to work properly,
was having a tight mouth.
Once I moved the frog back flush with casting, it worked as it should do.

Making sure it's steep enough could be another reason one might not get proper results.
I have had good luck honing it at 50 degrees, or slightly over.

Apart from that, if things are not working, then I'd have to guess that David Charlesworth's, or Rob Cosman's planing methodology (bar the scrub plane) hasn't been implemented/the subtle things has been ignored.
(using the bench to get things flatter than other methods)

One can get twice the thickness of shaving with the same cutter projection,
if the plane iron is actually in contact with the work.
i.e not just knocking off the odd high spot with the plane mostly off the work.

Basically meaning using the cap iron is a two plane process, with both planes influenced by the cap iron.

David W's videos are worth a watch, or his wood central article either, after one gets good tolerances as the above demonstrate, i.e not really much bad habits to pick on.
This will likely disagree with pretty much every other gurus planing methodology.

A good lamp with a decent shade 7.5 or 8" is worth having, preferably an angle pose.
Those Territal look good value for a tenner in eikea!
 

D_W

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I have used this Bill Carter idea on a couple of old chisels and been happy with the results. Some years' ago, there was a UTube video from the Australian plane makers, showing them using a thin blade to finish the difficult Australian timbers they used for their planes.

I have re-purposed a woodturning paring tool, ( probably Crown) about 30mm. across, of thin HSS, ground at about 80 degrees. Straight off the grinding wheel, it gives an excellent finish and can get into restricted areas where a scraper plane won't.

As a result, I have fixed a wooden handle to an old no.5 plane blade, ground as above, to use on wider areas. I now prefer these to a scraper plane or card shaper as they're easier to achieve an edge, and I don't end up burning my fingers.

As DW points out, they can be used on flat and curved surfaces, and leaning forward, as per usual scraping, or reversed at a very low angle of attack. I recently cleaned up a particularly difficult piece of ash needing a concave surface, with nice creamy shavings.

Nice cheap and very useful.

bill sold a video of little tricks years ago, but it was kind of that plus (in my view) an appreciation video of things he does and learning them. I found it a treat (or maybe it was photos - I'd have to track it down). I've made some planes and it's always nice to absorb things even if you don't use them.

That said, in the video (pardon if all of this is available publicly) he suggests hardening but not tempering an old chisel, and I glued a long handle on a short "buhl" chisel (the chisel was no prize - it was soft). It's a champ for this after rehardening. I put a radius on it to fit plane beds (large planes) and with the radius, you can roll it to get the corner in the cut or not roll it to not do that.

It works push or pull but with a large handle, you can lean on it, and when you're making or refitting an older plane that's got much dimensional work to do, you can oil the iron, place it in the plane bed, set the wedge, take it all apart and then wail away at the area where the iron is touching and really bias things in your favor quickly (contact areas even across the plane at the bottom, and at the top beside the slots).

I'd never rehardened anything before this, at least not that I can recall, but quench and no temper is pretty easy to figure out. the steel without a temper doesn't hold a burr, and it would normally be chippy, but with an edge at or near 90 degrees, chipping isn't a problem.

Very useful for anything beech or harder (a very flat area of beech end grain needing just a little pare and no toolmarks is really not a very easy thing to do. Anything else like floats or files tends to not work well over a wide area of end grain.

When you move up to something like rosewood or ebony, it works even better (beech can get some ring resonance - the only way to avoid that is a float or something with irregular teeth)
20220209_083653.jpg


This isn't, of course, the only one of these that i have (I've got a few that are narrower) I think the japanese tool craze is over, but you can neatly fit an iron to a tight dai in about 10 minutes (the hour or hours long processes described are nonsense, but I get it if the whole idea is tying yourself up for a few hours as a matter of escapism).
 

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