Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 140, April 2017 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
Glass Scrapers
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

This simple but very effective "tool" to remove old finishes or just to smooth the wood is one of the very best tricks I've ever seen or used in the shop.

Back in the eighties I was contacted by a job placement program to see if I would be willing to hire a furniture refinisher that was trained by the state while he was incarcerated. I took their number so I could think about it and get back to them. After giving it some thought I decided to give this person a job since I could use the help and was happy to participate. I really didnt know what to expect but after his first day on the job I was glad I hired him.

One of the simplest and best tools in the shop are scrapers . They are very efficient, and make quick work of removing material while leaving behind a very smooth surface. While I was sharpening a profile scraper to use on some carvings my new employee suggested I try something he learned while in training which was to break a pain of single strength glass into pieces and use them as scrapers. He said they would stay sharp for a long time and would work great on the carvings and moldings.

After breaking some glass he helped me pick out some pieces that would fit the profiles. Then he wrapped masking tape on an area to create a "handle" to keep me from bleeding to death. Then he went on to show me how they worked, usually going in the direction of the grain and sometimes the other way depending on the sharpest side of the glass scraper.

While getting used to using this fantastic new tool I replaced the masking tape with leather gloves and this led to even more surfaces/profiles on the glass that I was able to scrape with.

For flat surfaces I cut the glass into 3 inch squares to create four-sided scrapers. Remember to scrape in both directions to see which side of the glass is sharpest. After the glass dulls, you can just break the squares again for even more profiles.

Just think of all of these wonderful tools being thrown into the trash and, if you are as cheap as me, go to your local glass supplier and look for their trash can...

Safety first….be sure to wear leather gloves and eye protection.

Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net . You can also visit Alan's website by CLICKING HERE .

Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:

Apr 8, 2017  Spray Finishing
Apr 12, 2017  Finishing the Finish
Apr 29-30, 2017  Antique Restoration
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