Using the Scraper in Woodturning
by Phil Colson
I want to share with you some of the techniques for using the
that I've learned over the years.
First, it needs to be said that there is nothing wrong with using scrapers. Scrapers are just as
effective as any other turning tool and like any turning tool, there are techniques to learn in order
to get the most out of your scraper use.
The heavier and thicker the scraper, the more stable it becomes because mass absorbs vibration. I
use heavy scrapers for bowls and the outside of vessels when needed. I do use smaller scrapers for
smaller work. As you know the scraper is a non bevel rubbing tool, so the cut depends on your
ability to control it. This tip is about controlling the cut.
When using the scraper, position the handle under your forearm with your hand on the top of the
tool. After you have gripped the scraper, extend your index finger to point toward the end of the
tool. Pointing the finger will help you guide the tool. The tool rest should be above center so that
the handle is higher than the cutting edge. With a comfortable body position, gently extend the
scraper to the surface of the wood. Gently is the key, don't push. Relax so the cut can be smooth
and even on the surface and make very thin cuts. Scrape away any tool marks and burnishes, scrape to
improve the line and scrape if you are intimidated by the bowl gouge.
Phil can be reached directly via email at
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