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     Popular Woodworking - Scrapwood Scraper Plane


I am interested in scraper planes.  I have never seen one except on paper.  From the picture I can't tell  if there is a throat adjustment or not. Should a scraper plane have this adjustment like a block plane or not.  Also, what angle is the bed the blade sit in.  (Alan Taylor)

    I have an old scraper plane (I think it was my great-grandfather's).  He was a coffin maker.  It is designed to smooth large boards.  The throat is not adjustable, but the angle of the blade is, over a considerable angle from about 15 degrees forward of vertical to about 30 degrees back.  It works very well for its intended purpose, but is too large for rodmaking.  Some of the woodworking catalogs (Garrett Wade and Woodcraft come to mind) have pictures of various scraper planes.  (Neil Savage)

      I think your old scraper plane will work okay for rodmaking if you can devise some way of holding the strips in the form.  I often use a two handed bench plane and hold the strips in the forms with a squeeze clamp.  Sometimes the only way to know if something works is give it a try!  (Harry Boyd)

    I bought a scraper plane a few months ago.  Basically, here’s my take on it.  I got my best precision when I was finishing my strips with a cabinet scraper.  I moved to setting my forms very carefully and used my finish plane; 9 1/2 with a 3 mil grove.  I noticed wide glue lines in some places after using only the plane for finishing.  I reasoned that the plane blade picks up the strip when planing.  This is where the adjustable throat comes in.  To minimize lifting, the throat must be set nearly shut to keep the lifting to a minimum.  The lifting is caused by the architecture of the plane blade.  It is set at an angle.  This causes the blade to dig into the bamboo.  The sole of the plane and the throat determine the amount of lifting.

    Once I realized this, I bought a scraper plane.  The choice is limited.  The only affordable new scraper plane that I am aware of is the Lie-Nielsen 212.  I bought one primary to do finish work but have also found it is excellent for working the nodes after flattening.  The scraper is a good finishing tool because it pushes down on the strip.  It can be adjusted to make very thin shavings without lifting the strip.  This is the reason it doesn't need the adjustable throat.  (Onis Cogburn)


I've been doing more playing around with scrapers of late, and remain a bit confused as to the optimum blade angles. The Lie Nielson 212 comes with a 65 degree angle, mounted with the bevel to the rear. This seems to work fine. The Kunz 112 comes with a 45 degree angle, mounted bevel forward. That doesn't work at all, unless you roll a slight burr forward on the edge, and then it works fine.  I have also tried a 90 degree angle on the Kunz, which works fine if you tilt the blade about 20 degrees off vertical. Everything I have tried so far cuts the cane well, but tends to leave the edges of the strips a bit fuzzy. I have a feeling I'm reinventing the wheel here, and wonder if anyone has an opinion for the optimum setup for our purposes.  (Tom Smithwick)


In the past I've used knife blades and other objects for scrapers.  I've always eyed the beautiful scrapers that cost about $200 in Garnet Wade and Fine Woodworking.  Trouble is, I'm too cheep to buy one.

So I tried the idea that was in The best of the Planing Form and bought a cheep block plane (no a 9 ½) at the flea market.  Finally got around to grinding the blade to a very steep angle and sharpening it.   First tests gave me shavings of .001". 

One thing I found, don't try to adjust the blade from an "out" position.   Start with it fully in the body and turn adjust it out a little at a time.  I wouldn't want to take more than about .001 this way.  I think it would be asking from problems.  This plane doesn't have an adjustable throat.  (Terry Kirkpatrick)


Since we're on the subject of planes, I'd like to open the discussion up a little to include scrapers.  They sorta look like a plane, don't they?  My wife has this nice little box under the Christmas tree, that came from the little town of Warren, Maine, with my name on it.  Bless her heart...  Anyway, since I'm now new to the scraper plane world, at what point in the final planing do you guys that use scraper planes switch from the block plane to the scraper plane?  Do you base it on thousandths to go, or the TLAR (That Looks About Right) method?  (Mark Wendt)

    I haven't used a scraper to get to the final dimensions in several years now.  A really well-tuned plane, sharper even than most of us can imagine, will just as effectively remove the last few thousandths, IMHO.  I do reserve a couple of Hock blades for those last few thousandths.  My experience has been that the plane neatly cuts the bamboo while a scraper, well, scrapes.  I get cleaner edges with a plane than with a scraper.

    So what did I do with my L-N scraper that I paid such big bucks for at SRG a few years back?  Sold it, for little more than half of what I paid.  Do I use a scraper at all? Yes, I make two passes per strip on the enamel side, to remove much of the enamel.  The remainder of the enamel is removed with sandpaper.  (Harry Boyd)

    I only use the Scraper plane to remove the rind from the outside of the strip and to fix lifted nodes during the planing. If you steepen the bevel (at least 35 degrees) on the regular plane iron you pretty much eliminate lifted nodes.  (Marty DeSapio)

    I must say that I don't quite look at the plane/scraper thing in those terms.

    IMHO there is nothing as good as a very very sharp block plane for final planing. You can fine tune them and adjust them down until you take a fine translucent curl of cane from one end of the strip to the other, should you wish to do that, and you leave a planed surface that is as smooth as silk, and edges which are as sharp and true as surgical blades.

    My (admittedly limited) experience of the Lie-Nielsen scraper is that if you try to use it for this finishing step, you cannot achieve quite the same surface perfection. I guess  this a difference that is inherent in the different blade angles. The scraper has its tendency to "hop"; the plane, properly honed, does not.

    The scraper is a marvelous tool, but has its own set of uses; I use mine a lot on the enamel side of the strips, and for controlled short section reduction of trouble spots on  the planed surfaces.

    In fact, I would not be without my L-N, but to me it does not take the place of a sharp plane.

    Personally, I think the bench plane is a useful tool as well, but after trying both block planes and bench plane on 10 or 15
    rods, I prefer the high angle block plane. I have 2 Records and one modern Stanley, and the Stanley is pretty much rubbish.

    What Danny and Carsten say about using both hands on the plane, after freeing up the second hand by clamping the proximal end of the strip is absolutely correct. But it works just as well with a block plane, and you retain that valuable aperture adjustment  feature.  Carsten  has  a  very  impressive  little cam-action clamp, I just use common woodworkers' spring clamps.

    I also raise my forms up off the bench on wooden blocks,  which also helps a great deal in general accessibility of the form and of the strip.

    That's too much information, isn't it?  (Peter McKean)

    I go as far as I can with the planes and this still leaves me a little short. I then go to the scraper to get that last few thousandths.

    BTW, I treated myself to a L-N 9 1/2 for an early Christmas present since I was working on some rod sections. After adjusting the angle on the blade (a little steeper) and honing to the best of my abilities, I used it for my final planing. It is everything as advertised and I came closer to final dimensions than ever before. Still used the scraper though to get that last thousandth.  (Bill Bixler)

    I have been following this thread with interest and I think that every body that has had a problem with a scraper, is because they have the blade sharpened to the wrong angle. A scraper is really a plane blade sharpened to 90 degrees and the leading edge rolled over slightly. I used them every day at the violin shop that I worked at and made a lot of my own from band saw and power hack saw blades. Once I got my blade sharpened to 90 degrees and the leading edges rolled over slightly with a burnished, it took shaving just like a plane does. A scraper and planes cleave the wood fibers and sand paper grinds it off with jagged particles, that's why you get a better finish with scrapers and planes. I sharpened my L-N to a more correct angle, burnished the edge and tipped the blade forward and it takes beautiful shavings. Just my 2 cents from years of experience with scrapers, i.e. planes in the simplest form.  (Patrick Coffey)


The Lie Nielson 212 looks really rather attractive, are these things useful?  (Robin Haywood)

    They are one rod making accessory that is not essential.  (Paul Blakley)

    I got one a while back. I'm getting tired of trying to figure out how to stop the chatter.  (Mike Canazon)

      I left the angle of the iron as is, but inclined it just a bit more towards the front. Also, it is not necessary to apply much pressure at all as you're planing. There's not enough, and too much. Takes almost nothing except the weight of the plane.  (Martin-Darrell)

    The first time I saw a LN 212, I knew it was a "must have" type of tool.  I bought mine a little over 2 years ago, before I had even split my first culm.  I don't regret doing that at all, although I have had very limited success with it to date.  I've had success with the triangular scrapers that Russ sells but I haven't  figured out the best way to sharpen them.

    I did have one good day with the LN 212 about 6 months ago.  The only thing I can remember I did differently that day was that I used a feeler gauge (.0015) under the sole of the scraper when I set the blade.  I've set the blade that way ever since, but alas, I believe it might have been the alignment of the planets, more than anything I did, that caused me to use it properly.

    Still, I wouldn't be without one and maybe, one day, I'll put it all together again.  At least for a day.  (Tim Wilhelm)

      The way I set mine, and probably the way other folks do also, is to put the scraper on a smooth flat surface and place a piece of paper (like ordinary writing paper) under the sole in front of the blade. Hold the blade down and tighten the set screw. This process usually results in the blade producing about a thousandth thick shaving at a pass. Use it to flatten nodes, take enamel off, take strips down to the final 3- 4 thousandths, as Wayne describes, and to smooth down stubborn nodes that are tending to chip.  (Steve Weiss)

        Ordinary writing paper mics about .003", some of the posts recently say a .0015" feeler gauge.  Just depends what works for you I guess.  (Neil Savage)

          I would suspect using either paper or a feeler guide results in pretty much the same setting.  Paper, being made of fibers, probably compresses a little when you hold the scraper down on it.  (Tim Wilhelm)

          If you back out the paper almost to the front of the toe of the sole, it won't raise the sole as much where the blade comes through.  (Steve Weiss)

            I use cigarette paper (the tobacconist where I buy it thinks I am smoking dope, and can't get over a respectable old guy like me being so depraved) and I  use it either single thickness or folded once or folded twice; that way I can get most cuts from the scraper that I want.

            No pressure on the plane body when tightening - just hold it steady.  (Peter McKean)

              I agree with this apart from the dope part, I can't speak for Peter on this point one way or the other. No pressure on the scraper iron or body, just gravity.

              Incidentally we used to get rain pay at a job I had when it was raining hard enough to get three drops of rain on a cigarette paper in 10 seconds.  At the time I was working with a bloke who did use these papers for dope so we always had a rain gauge handy.  (Tony Young)

    I use my Lie-Nielsen scraper on every strip to clean up the enamel before final planing to size.  Before it I used a spare plane blade held between my thumb and fingers, tipped slightly forward.  Both methods do a good job.  I still use the spare plane blade to scrape off the string and cured glue. When I want to do a little light scraping over a small area I use a Stanley knife blade.  With a blade you have more of the area you are working on visible.   With the LN you can't see what you are doing.  When I first got the LN, I set it by placing strips of paper under the toe.  I found that this results in too heavy a cut, is hard to push, and often resulted in chatter marks.  What I do now is loosen the clamp screw, then hold the scraper body and blade tightly against a piece of plate glass while I retighten the clamp screw.  The blade seems to rotate enough to advance the cutting edge of the scraper blade .001" to .002".  I've measured the shaving obtained with this setting at .001" to .0015" thickness.  I also hone and buff the blade edge periodically.  (Ted Knott)

    I have a little scraper that was made from a dull file. I laid it in the fireplace before going to bed to anneal it.  The next morning it was soft enough to mill or sand off the file grooves. (with a flat table sander)  I got it pretty smooth and cut off about six inches from one end.  Sharpening requires a grinder with a fine wheel.  Set the table of the grinder so that the scraper metal is centered and you get a small hollow on the edge.  This can be done by reversing sides so that  the metal is being ground equally.  One side will have a small burr.  The other will be quite smooth.  The burr side will take off more than the smooth side.  This tool is used in the hand like a razor blade.  It can be made to take off quite a bit of cane or very little by adjusting the pressure used.  I find it quite useful for all scraping and very easy to sharpen.  I doubt that it produces as smooth a surface as a more traditionally sharpened tool, but in scraping for final dimensions I doubt that a smooth surface is as good as a slightly roughened one.  I believe the epoxy I use holds better on the rougher surface. One could harden it again, I suppose, but I have never done that and it seems to hold an edge quite well.  (Ed Hartzell)

    I made my own scraper from an old block plane. Once I got the angle of the blade correct, to eliminate all chatter, I sanded a groove in the sole. I just set the scraper on a flat surface, drop in the blade, tighten, and scrape. At first I had about .005" groove, and that was way too much. I started sanding the sole and scraping till I got a nice thin shaving. I haven't measured the depth of groove yet, but it works good.  (David Dziadosz)

    I've been using the LN 212 for about four years now and pretty much agree with what I've seen here on the list. I use a General model 809 guide to sharpen the blades because it is the only one that I know of that can give me the correct angle. I set the blade depth as Tim said with a .0015 shim under the front. The forward angle I use is 3 degrees. It is hard to take a lot of material off with these but if you get down close with a block plane the last few thousandths should go easy. Also anyone using one of these should recheck the depth of the blade after every strip as it only takes a few seconds. One thing I do that at least works for me is I just let my hand rest on the plane body without applying any pressure but I try to keep what weight I do put on the body in the rear pushing out not down. I got the honing guide at Home Depot.  (Billy Carter)


Let me post this for all wondering about a cheap but handy scraper.  I undercut the end of a simple 1.25" X 1.75" X 3" block of hard wood about 1/8" and screw a utility knife blade to the end of it.  Allow the blade to protrude about 1/16" below the block of wood.  The undercut keeps the blade from rising.  Round off the corners of the wood a little to fit your hand and you have a handy little scraper.  When the blade gets too dull simply change the blade.  No sharpening.  You have to use the utility knife blades that have the holes in the center of them.  Both sears and ace hardware stock this type.  (Mark Petrie)

    Great idea, Mark! I think it might be even better with an angle of a few degrees (5° perhaps?) put on the undercut area so that the blade inclines toward the end of the form as it is being pushed. This should allow more pressure to be applied, with less chance of chatter.  (Martin-Darrell)


There has been some recent talk on the list about scraper planes and their validity and usefulness.  However, there are probably more than a handful of list members who scrape away the last couple of thousandths by hand with a razor blade.  I have always wondered how this is done.  Do you just hold the blade 90 degrees to the forms and use a sweeping motion?  If there are any of you out there could you chime in and help me to figure out how to do this.  Any help is greatly appreciated.  (Robert Cristant)

    I've never used a razor blade, but instead use a hand-held (rectangular) scraper for removing the enamel.  I do this when each strip is about .010" from final dimension.  The scraper is sharpened by mounting the blade in my vise, filing flat across its edge and burnishing to turn a slight curl.

    Then, with a strip placed in my forms with the enamel side up, I hold the scraper blade just off vertical (with the curled edge facing toward me) and simply pull the scraper across the surface.  When I have removed all but the "ghost," I flat-file the surface to remove any imperfections.  The strips will now be dead flat for the remaining planing, and will show no waves or ripples upon gluing.

    The procedure is quick, sure, and gives perfect results.  (Bill Harms)

    I have a friend (Reg Brandreth of Derby) who has always used a modeling knife/scalpel for scraping and in general he holds the blade approximately perpendicular to the cane and then just scrapes away.  (Paul Blakley)


In the past there has been a few people saying that they only use the scraper plane for removing the enamel etc. The reason being that they can't get good results when trying to remove the last few thousandths on final planing.

Most people agree that it is a great tool, but can it be used consistently for final planing or should I just stick with a block plane.  (Callum Ross)

    If I was going to use a scraper for taking bamboo off from the entire strip I would get the Lie-Nielsen scraper.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    IMHO you can use Hi-tech LN 212, which I use, or a replacement Stanley blade for box-cutters, which I used to use, held between the thumb and forefinger. Each do a good job at getting at final dimensions. Take your pick.  (Don Schneider)

      I prefer the LN 212 to the box cutter blade because it is easier to hold for extended periods. I still use the blade, only for cleanup work.  (Martin-Darrell)

      I still use the single edge razor to do the final finish scraping. I used the box cutter blade but still get small curls after that with the single edge blade. I can't seem to get the 212 to scrape as well as the razor blade. Don't have to worry about scraping the metal form either. I buy the blades from Harbor Freight when they are on sale, 500 at a time.  (Tony Spezio)

    I bought a LN 212 just for finishing the strips.  The block plane lifts the cane  so its possible to over plane.  The scraper pushes down on the strip.  My glue lines went completely away after I started using the LN 212.  I must admit though, that as long as I was using the hand scraper, I had no problem either.  Except keeping scrapers sharp.  A 5 thousandths "rodmaker's groove" on the LN 212 means I can scrape right down to the form without dulling the scraper.  (Onis Cogburn)

    Bamboo, like most wood, though bamboo is not wood of course, gets a better finish by scraping than planing. It's just an extreme form of planing when done right. If you scrape and just get dust it's not doing it's job properly, you should get micro curls of bamboo. You can get micro curls with a plane but because a plane lifts at a more acute angle to make the cut you can't prevent slight, very slight lifting which is most apparent at the enamel. If everything is working perfectly this is so minimal as to be unimportant but a sharp scraper gets it right every time. So, the bottom line is you certainly don't need a scraper but one is useful in the final passes especially at the edges where the enamel edges joining enamel is critical. There should be no (extremely small if the last planing was done with a plane but often present) ragged edges left due to lifting. You don't need  a scraper.

    This below has nothing to do with rodmaking but may help. Keep in mind scrapers aren't used these days by 99% of cabinet makers today because the expectations of the finished product aren't the same as they once were when every cabinet maker had a scraper in his tool box. Sanding which is what is done now in almost all cases dulls the finished texture of the grain of hardwoods, scraping enhances it but we don't tend to mind as much now which is why scrapers are a rarity now.

    Love him or hate him Krenov insists he hasn't a single scrap of sand paper in his workshop and all surfaces must be planed or scraped and never, ever sanded. If you're ever in Canberra take a look at the furniture at Parliament house and see the difference in finish of timbers you know. The difference isn't in the varnish, it's mainly in the preparation which included scraping. In the GG's house (which means you'll never see it) there is a cabinet I saw being made over an 18 month period. It's made from some of every timber type available in Queensland and is a sight to behold. I know for a fact nothing was sanded, everything was scraped and the difference just hits you in the face.   (Tony Young)

    I've used the LN 212 on the last couple of rods, and I will say, aside from the obvious beauty  of a bronze Lie-Nielsen work of art, it's a real pleasure to use for those final few thousandths.  The new blades LN has been supplying with the scrapers seem to hold an edge very well.  They're ground at 60 degrees, and are nice and thick.  I haven't noticed any chatter marks on the finished strips either.  Probably due to both the mass of the plane, and the thickness of the blade.  (Mark Wendt)

      For the sake of argument, why not scrape the whole time. Use a Morgan mill!  (Doug Easton)

        True, true.  On the other hand, while not exactly inexpensive, an LN 212 is, by an order of magnitude, cheaper than an MHM.  (Mark Wendt)

    It is a great tool for final planing as well as fixing bad angles as you work the strip. It will go over nodes with no problems. You can cut as much or as little as you wish. And with its upright blade you can easily determine if you are not a right angles to the forms. And as for removing the enamel.  Don’t waste your time on that crap... run the strip through a beveler and knock it off, clean it up with sandpaper or your scraper and you are set. It should take you about 10 minutes to remove your enamel on all your strips.

    And for those who can not figure out how to use the 212 and spent $145 on it just to remove enamel, I will sell you a enamel removing system for $1.  It is called 100 grit sandpaper.  (Adam Vigil)

      It comes down to money really. If you want a tool that will some day be one of those things people will collect and is actually useful and you enjoy using good tools it's worth getting one but it's not necessary. What it does is take away the micro ragged edges of the enamel with little or no chance of making a mess of things at the final stage especially at the nodes. If you're planing carefully and the edge of the iron is very sharp and set very fine and you have the throat set very fine also then these micro edges will be mini micro so invisible. The advantage of the LN scraper is that it's hard to mess things up with the last few thousandths using one as it scrapes rather than cuts as a plane does. Even a very sharp plane *can* tear a node at this point. There is always a small chance of a lift when using a plane and at that stage of the game you have nothing left to work with to try to salvage the strip if you're wanting absolute flawless work. I do think you get a better joint when you use the scraper but it's a small thing hard to even notice unless you compare without one provided everything has gone well with the plane of course. To just look with a critical eye at a blank made using only a plane but done right you wont see a problem at all. I suggest you save your money if you're getting good results. If you think you can do better make sure your iron is always sharp, set very fine and you have the throat set properly for the depth of cut.

      If you still feel you can do better and need something to let the little lady buy you to make you fell all warm inside when you get it for Christmas or whatever, then it is the way to go. She'll thank you for making at least one decision easy anyhow  [:-)] 

      I know these things.  (Tony Young)

    Does anyone else use cabinet scrapers?  I started using these a few rods ago and I like the results very much.  A cabinet scraper is just a rectangular piece of steel, usually from the steel used to make saws, that is about 2-1/2 x 6" and about .020-.032" thick.  The edge is rolled over to make something like a hook to scrape off the wood or bamboo.   (Hal Manas)

      I use single edge razor blades, box cutter blades, cabinet scrapers and LN 212  I started using the BC blades for two reasons, I had a big supply and the most important, I could flex the blade and it seemed to do an even better job. Can't use them for prolonged periods of time now because my fingers cramp. I have cabinet scraper blades and a holder that you can adjust and hold the flex I got from Lee Valley that work extremely well and doesn't cramp my hands. Also got a set of tools at the same time to true, sharpen, set the hook and tune up the blades. I also love using the LN 212. Each has it's advantages. Which is best? IMHO, depends on what you are doing. Conclusion: Use them all. No sanding necessary when the strip is done.  (Don Schneider)

      I do. I use one to scrape the blank after it's been glued. Maintains the edges and does a better job than sand paper though I do sand just before adding the guides mainly to clean the blank after the handling. If you use one though make sure it's hook is sharp and make a single pass ensuring it doesn't come off the blank along the way else you'll gouge the blank.  (Tony Young)

    Does anyone have any tips on sharpening techniques for the blade on the LN 212?

    I have a Veritas jig and Norton stones and those work fine on 25 degree angles.  I have been sharpening the LN 212 blade free hand but would like to hear any suggestions.  (Patrick Mullen)

      You can still use the Veritas jig.  Instead of inserting the blade with the little ledge pointing down, reverse the jig, so that the blade comes out the side opposite the little ledge.  You won't be able to use the angle jig, but, if you align the blade in the jig on a piece of glass in the holder, you can get pretty accurate with it.  That's how I sharpen my LN212 blade, and it stays pretty darned sharp.  (Mark Wendt)

      Use the same tools you would use for cabinet scrapers. Play with the hook till you get the cut you want. Have band aids and a "Nunley Card" handy. These things get sharp!  (Don Schneider)


I want to buy a scraper plane, which one?  How is the Veritas one Vs. the Lie-Nielsen?  any others to think about that are sanely priced? 

I'm tired of using cabinet scrapes for final planing.  (Joe West)

    I am a huge L-N fan,  so I laid  down  the $$ and bought one (212).  I have a 9 1/2 L-N, too.  A lifetime investment, IMHO.  I love my L-N gear.  (Patrick Mullen)

    Both are very fine tools, but I don't own either.  I use a block plane for final planing, and find that it's not difficult to take shavings of 0.0005" with a sharp blade.

    However, if you have your heart set on a scraper plane you should be aware that Lie-Nielsen has a much larger product line than Veritas.  Veritas makes only one bodied scraper plane and that one is based on the 112, only a little bit larger.  The 112 is the size of a bench plane  and  requires  2  hands  to  use  it.  Lie-Nielsen makes both a 112 and a 212.  Most rodmakers who use bodied scraper planes use the 212 because it's about the size of a block plane and can be used with one hand.  If you are really interested in a 112, Veritas also makes an inexpensive (~$25 US) insert to convert any bench plane using a 2" or wider blade, into a scraper plane.  (Robert Kope)

      I think that was sound advice.

      I was led to believe, when I started, that I needed a scraper to "finish the last few thousandths of an inch." Which, of course, you don't. I do find the LN 212 invaluable though, for removing the enamel and to finish flattening my nodes prior to final planing.

      Basically, this is all I use the 212 for anymore. I like to get a nice flat surface on the enamel side before I start final planing as it helps me keep good 60's throughout the last stages of planing.

      I'm sure this is no new revelation for most, but maybe some help to some.  (Mike Shay)

    Both L-N and Veritas planes were reviewed in separate articles in Power Fibers.   I have two L/Ns and especially like the 91/2.  IMHO it is well worth the money and far superior to Stanleys.   The L-N scraper is a fine tool as well but more specialized.  For many tasks I can do just as well with a hand held scrapers and I actually use them far more often with various cane-related tasks and in general woodworking.   (Bob Milardo)

    Save your money, not long ago I asked the same question. I was told by an other list member, I am sorry I do not recall who, that I should take one of my block plane irons and change the angle so that it became a scraper.

    Sounds like the way to go to me.  If I can avoid giving money to Leonard Lee or Mr. Nielson I am all for it.  Now for my 2 cents, when you have used a card scraper so much that you have burnt your fingers from the heat you have generated go out and buy gloves, its still cheaper than a scraper plane.  By the way look at the lee valley catalog on line, there is a insert for a number 4 that will turn it into a scraper plane.  (Daniel Durocher)


Using my Lie-Nielsen with a 5/1000 groove and setting the blade for a  4/1000 shaving there was definitely some lifting of the strip as portions of some strips were about down to final dimension even though planed to 3/1000 over. Perhaps closing the mouth of the plane some would reduce the lifting?

Not planing the forms may be a peculiar paranoia of mine, but I do want to avoid it if at all possible. In this I mostly succeeded.

For the final planing I used a new toy, the Veritas low-angle block plane, but with the edge beveled at 45 degrees to give an angle of 57 degrees. This angle, without a groove in the sole, allowed me to take off very thin shavings but still not gouge the planing forms. Thanks to Robert Kope's article in Power Fibers #14 for his review of  this plane,  it is  easier to  adjust than  the much sexier looking L-N.  (Henry Mitchell)


I picked up a L/N 212 scraping plane and have been playing around with the angle, etc. What I was wondering is, it came through with no burr on the blade. Do those of you who use one burnish the blade or use as is? What are your thoughts on the various tasks you can use it for when  planing strips?   (Mike Givney)

    A lot of us use the scraper (card scraper) without a frame, in which case the burr is essential.  There is an excellent chapter on the card scraper in Bob Flexner's book Understanding Wood Finishing - a neat bonus. (Thanks again, Daniel).  There is also a good article in the latest issue of Fine Woodworking - and yet another article in there on Handplane Tuning.  I was going to mention this anyway, but thanks for reminding me.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  God bless George Barnes and the card scraper!   (Darrol Groth)

    P.S. those steel building companies are a good source of free scrapers - just ask for some color chips.  They're 3X5, usually already have a burr from stamping, and a reasonable price.

      We did pretty good with single edge razor blades did we not.  (Tony Spezio)

      I've found the same thing Darrol.  But I, like Wayne (heck, upon Wayne's advice) just sharpen my 212 blade to 38 degrees.

      Any idea why the burr seems (from our tiny, poorly constructed experiment) important in a hand scraper and not in a scraping plane?  Does it have something to do with chatter, I wonder, or the actual sharpness of the burred edge?  (Joe West)

        All I know is the burr is the edge on a card scraper - but I have no experience with a scraping plane.  Perhaps wiser heads will enlighten us.  Tom?  (Darrol Groth)

          The only actual wisdom I have on the topic is a reply I received from George Barnes. I have a few scrapers, including one of George's handmade wooden ones. I wrote to him and asked if there were any rules about blade angles. George wrote back to say he did not know of any rules, but if he did, he would find a way to break them. You met George, so I don't have to explain that.

          My take on the subject is that the 65° angle on the LN 212 is fine for our purposes. Wayne's method of using a sharper angle works fine, too. I don't think the blade will go as far between sharpening, but the lower angle is easier to sharpen, so take your pick.  No burr is put on the blade, and the scraper takes fine shavings, ideal for cleaning up a stubborn node, and removing enamel, which is about all I use the scrapers for.

          Larger scrapers are usually supplied with the blade sharpened to 45°, with the bevel facing forward. That requires a hook to be rolled into the edge. If you want to actually remove material with the scraper, you want to try this, as a heavier cut results. Be careful when rolling the edge with the burnisher, it takes less pressure than when working with the card scrapers with the 90° angle. I have tried the 90° angle with a burr in the plane bodied scrapers. It works, but the blade has to be set at an extreme angle before the scraper will cut. Take comfort from George's philosophy, and find the method that works best for you.  (Tom Smithwick)

            I don't own a scraping plane either but I do know of several kinds of hand scrapers which are often curved as well as straight:  the "card scraper" to which Tom refers is usually honed to a clean 90 degree angle and is hooked (on both faces if you wish) with a burnisher.  The scraper is usually .050 " or more in thickness and works best held at a steep angle up to 45 degrees. 

            Another, less often seen scraper, sometimes called a violin scraper and is half as thick (.025") and is beveled to about 45 degrees with a hook burnished along the bevel.  It is held more perpendicular to the work and is a little more aggressive.

            Then there are some that use pieces of broken glass.

            I think the wisdom has already been previously announced.  Use what works.  (Jim Utzerath)

          I had most desirable results with Stanley hand scrapers (plates) sharpened down to approximately 30 degrees and burnished with a 4340 chrome alloy 3/8 rod. I'd put an edge on both of the opposing sides, and I'd sharpen a stack of scrapers at once, and usually consume most of them before resharpening.

          The sharpening process was most expeditiously accomplished by a series of grades of sandpaper laid on hardwood. At stages of their life span, a fine file was used to restore or establish an ideal working contour. The strokes of the sharpening process were alternated from front to back, and were counted (lay the face flat on fine paper and polish, because the perfection of this face is vital to an 'edge' without breaks in it). The last strokes are lightest, and alternated each stroke. Notes on the minimum necessary strokes to finish each phase of a blade contour reduced the strokes to a minimum, and the stack was quickly sharpened before reburnishing by reprocessing the entire collection, stage by stage.

          To burnish, each blade was firmly mounted in a vise, and to avoid damaging the sharpened edge, the edge was avoided by the first stroke being substantially behind it. A second stroke (or third, depending on pressure) completed a turn which worked best with the tool leaned approximately 30 degrees toward the direction of the process. Each stroke of the turn avoided the edge by virtue of the sharpening processes final stages being performed at a slightly greater angle. This gives you a high spot close to the edge, which your burnisher can push on. You need the turn to be on the money, because it's what keeps the scraper from digging. Experiment and keep diligent notes, and you'll get a process which renders an edge and a turn that will be sharp, stay sharp, never lift, and never dig.

          This form of scraper worked so well, even to take off substantial material, that when I hand-planed rods, I always took the strip down to final dimensions with the scraper. You can also reverse directions to attend to the nastiest of nodes as necessary to get perfect glue lines. Of course, this form of scraper is also much easier on your forms, so if you combine the plane for hogging and the scraper for finishing in this way, you can get tremendous service from your forms, without maintenance/attendance. A single edge of one scraper might handle the finishing the compound tapers into 1 or 2 rods, but never use a scraper beyond its sharp life.

          Square edged scrapers, burnished or not, tend not to cut, as this type of scraper does -- but to scrape, and to particularly to be harder on the outside corners. The cutting type of edge produces much finer results, with much less abuse of the material.  (Mike Montagne)


Being a retired cabinet maker of over 50 years, I spent hours with a scraper in hand. I agree with the previous post by the gentleman that was explaining about his usage on violins. Sorry I enjoyed his post but do not remember who it was. Sandpaper is not the way to go.

First off a scraper is filed to a 90º angle to the blade. Then a wire is curled over on either one or both corners. Experimentation of the angle it should be pulled along the surface. Extremely fine shaving can be removed and a perfect glass like surface is the result. Normally the angle will be very small, almost held perpendicular to the work. The wire edge is the real secret of how a scraper works.

While in Tony's shop several years ago I saw him use a single edge razor blade to bring the final cut/polish/extremely sharp edge to a piece of bamboo in his form. He has no glue lines because of his use of the simple razor blade trick. No wire edge is needed to be placed on the blade. Inexpensive tool that I feel should be on everyone's bench. Upon arriving home I tried the same and find it far better than what I had pounded into my head as an apprentice in a German Cabinet shop, at least in final work in the planing form.

Thanks to Tony, it has really helped my rod building. Try it you might like it.  (Denny Conrad)

    I also use a single edge razor blade, however holding the blade at 90 degrees to the still has a scraping (not cutting) motion to it and although it gives nice results there are some fuzzy edges. In my experience with a cabinet scraper the wire edge would be slicing the bamboo strip rather than scraping it because the wire edge is more parallel to the strip rather than at 90 degrees.  Am I correct on that and did Tony hold the razor blade at an angle other than 90 degrees?    (Tom Mohr)

      Although I have a LN 212, I seldom use it any more. Maybe it's the way I have it sharpen and setup but to me it doesn't do as good a job as a cabinet scraper or box knife replacement blade held at a slight forward angle. With either you can get full length curls and a glass smooth surface to final dimension with extremely sharp edges.  (Don Schneider)

      You ask if I hold the razor blade at a 90 degree angle. The answer is NO. I hold the blade between my thumb and first two fingers. The blade flips back and forth between these three fingers like a windshield wiper when I scrape. I get absolutely no chattering and end up with a mirror like finish. I scrape till nothing comes off the strip. The final scrape is done from butt end to tip end in one final long scrape. I get a smoother finish than I would with 600 grit paper.

      Doing this makes the strips all the same size to one another. The enamel side is scraped when the strip is narrowed down quite a bit as not to remove a lot of the power fibers. When the strip is narrow, the curve in the top is less than it would be if the strip is wide. I feel that the enamel side of the strip needs to be flat in order to get a strip that is even all three sides. This side is scraped flat before the other sides are final scraped.

      I have a LN212 that I got from a very well known rodmaker, it was tuned as he would use it. I could never master the scraper. I have had other rod makers visit with me and they showed me how to use the 212. I was told it is tuned like it should be. After they would scrape a strip with the 212, and were satisfied that it was finished, I could always go over it with the razor blade and get curls of bamboo off the same strip. Most times I would get comments that I can't post on this list.

      The razor blade may not work for everyone, it is the final step in finishing my strips. As Denny mentioned, I don't get any glue lines.  (Tony Spezio)

        The reason is they had the 212 tuned wrong, the rod makers tuning idea is wrong and doesn't work that's why you get a better finish with your razor blade. With the blade done right you can get the same results with a 212, I do with mine.  (Patrick Coffey)

    I have been following the scraper discussion recently and am a bit confused as to what is meant by the term "scraper."  I think some are using it to mean something like the Lie-Nielsen or the old Stanley scraper planes.  I imagine Patrick Coffey is talking about a hand scraper or cabinetmaker's scraper, just a rectangular plate of hardened  steel with a micro curled edge on it.  My ignorance of rod building is vast, since I am only now planing my first rod.  However, I seem to be having good luck bringing the strips down to final dimension with a cabinetmaker's scraper.  The strips are smooth, and I don't peel off chunks of the planing form as I was doing with a plane. No chatter marks.  Time will tell when I get to the  gluing as to how well I have done.  I probably have too many other problems that will detract from the final product.  (Dick Green)

      You roll the edge on a LN and it performs the same as a cabinet makers scraper with the added advantage of having it mounted in a plane body.  (Patrick Coffey)

        What do you use to roll the edge on the LN? A steel? I have a tool to roll the edge on cabinet scrapers but the LN blade is to thick to pass through the tool.  (Don Schneider)

          Smooth screwdriver shaft or a cabinet scraper burnisher or the back of a chisel blade. I have used them all and they all work but the smother the surface the finer the edge.  (Patrick Coffey)

          The way I was taught to sharpen a cabinet makers scraper was to place the scraper in a padded vise and draw file the edge to a smoothed/polished edge, holding the file as close to 90º as possible. Then we had a burnishing steel which was only an oval shaped but highly polished piece of hardened tool steel, about 10 inches in length with a wood handle on it. (the shaft was less than ½" in diameter) The wire curl over/wire results from the drawing the steel across the square edge, being held at about a 45º angle. There are on the market some sort of tool to place this curl on the scraper. I have only seen photos of them and not any experience. I have used a highly polished screwdriver shank when someone had hidden my steel on me. Maybe Ike!  I am very skillful at sharpening all cutting tools and can plane as close as I want. My preference is to scrape the last final on all strips in the steel form. I have never had good luck using a scraper plane. Why? Perhaps too many knots on the back of my head when learning to sharpen/use the scraper. We had several sizes and shapes as I still do. It is all in the shape of ones hands,  finger length,  dexterity and practice. I should know exactly what angle one is supposed to use but the "ole man" always said the different hardness/closeness of pores in different species of wood do require a different angle. You will know when you have it right. The curl you scrape off is far finer than you can obtain with a plane and is full length. The surface is more polished than from the results of planing. Perfect adjustment of the blade and throat of a good plane is important.

          There is a large learning curve for the correct use of any hand tool. The usage of these tools is not new, has been around and used by craftsmen for a very long time. It normally takes some time to master the usage's. The angle I draw the scraper down the length of form/strip may be about a 10º angle but I also hold the scraper so that it is actual bowed under pressure from my hand. Not held at a 90º. My previous explanation was not complete enough and I apologize.

          What it all boils down to is try the different options, keep an open mind and then use whatever works best for you. It is not Rocket Science.

          I can not explain how or why the single edge razor blade, in my hands does not leave fuzzies. It leaves a perfect mirror ready to glue surface.

          Sometimes when my scraper steel is ready for a sharpening and I am maybe a bit lazy I will grab up the razor blade.  (Denny Conrad)

            I have sharpened my LN 212 from 40 to 45 degrees bevel and have had success with all in that range. I now have mine at 45 degrees with the edge burnished over to a fine curl at a greater than 90 degree angle to the back. It seems to hold the edge much better and take a finer shaving. I don't put to big of a curl on it. I use it to both finish scrape the gluing surface of the strips, the nodes for initial planing and to remove the enamel after glue up. I can do a whole rod with out having to rehone and reburr. I use hard Arkansas stones as the water stones are only flat for one pass then have to be reflattened for the next pass. I make smaller scrapers for free by going to wood shops and getting broken band say blades for free, snap them to length, grind off the teeth, hone them and then roll the edge with a burnisher. The shop that I worked at specialized in upright basses and we used scrapers almost exclusively to get the smoothest finish. No load sand paper made fish eyes so that was a no no  and apprentices, may job to train, had to be watched like hawks. My basses are in symphonies and major universities all over America so I figure my boss taught me right and I am not near the wood worker he is.  (Patrick Coffey)

              We've talked about the blades of our scrapers
              We've had our say on scraping direction -
              We've talked at length about the capers
              Involved in tool preselection !

              But it seems some vital information
              Is the one little bit we ain't got !
              In your Lie-Nielsen blade preparation
              Do you burr the edge over or NOT?
              (Peter McKean)

                To burr or not to burr; that is the question
                Which is often left to the user's discretion.
                But the general consensus now seems to be
                That a burr will help, to some small degree.  (Ron Grantham)

                According to the LN web site about scrapers,  the second paragraph baffled me until Patrick Coffey said the LN 212 was not initially setup correctly, no burr, for our use from the factory. I believe this to be true because out of the box it doesn't do the job as well as a cabinet scraper for our purposes.

                So, to answer your question the answer is yes, as Patrick said, we need a burr to get optimum performance from the 212.  (Don Schneider)

                  Actually, when you go to the site and do the obvious thing and read the details given after description of the Small Scraping Plane, they discuss at length the use of a burr, and how they recommend getting it installed.

                  I was  curious, because  I have had my L-N now for about six or seven years, and used it with a very sharp blade, no burr, for round  about the first 5 years   The results were good, and it is not a tool I would choose not to have;  but as I have said on this list several times, I would not use it on the non-enamel surfaces of the cane. Then about one or two years ago I went all renegade and turned over the edge, and it really changed the characteristics of the gizmo to no short order.  Needs more frequent attention, but that is not a thing that worries me.

                  However, once bitten, twice shy, as they say, and I have not gone back to using it on non-enameled surfaces.  I guess that deep down, I thought I may have been doing something dreadfully wrong;  maybe Tom Lie-Nielsen would come in the night and break my plane AND all of my fingers, or maybe do a  Pinky Gillum and repossess it on the spot.

                  However, tomorrow, I think I'll dress her up and go practice on some old strips.  (Peter McKean)

    Having seen Tony use a razor blade to do the final scraping, I am convinced this is the way to go.  Harbor Freight has a 100 blades for $5.  With razors you have more time for building rods and less time sharpening tools.  (Matt Fuller)

      I only buy them when they are on sale for 1.99. Not cheap just frugal.

      You saw how many I go through, I buy 10 boxes at a time when they are on sale.  (Tony Spezio)

        I bought their blades just once, and they may scrape well, but they ain't worth diddley for cutting thread! Dull right outta the box! Did I get a bad batch, or do you guys specialize and never ask them to do what regular blades are supposed to??  (Art Port)

          Once in a while I do get a box that the blades are not as sharp as others. I don't use them for cutting thread but they work well as scrapers. I will admit they are not as good as the expensive brand, I really can't expect them to be at .02 cents each. I can usually scrape three or four strips with the same blade. I really can't complain about that. There are times when I can only get two strips scraped with a blade.

          One good thing about Harbor Freight, if you are not satisfied, they will replace or refund.  (Tony Spezio)

            I scrape with Harbor Freight  el cheapo razor blades. Only I've never compared them with more expensive blades, haven't found a reason to do so yet. However, I usually go through about 4 or 5 blades per strip. I don't take any chances. Once I run that blade down against the form about 10 or 15 passes you can tell a big difference in the amount of shavings it takes off compared to a fresh blade. Sometimes I think, it's done, dead flat. Then I pull out a new blade and run it down the strip for posterity and start getting shavings again.

            A tip, though, I just used a straight razor for a while until I thought my fingers were surely going to seize up and fall off. I picked up a cheap plastic razor holder from Wally World and it has saved me from arthritis at 27 years old, at least for now.   (Phil Smith)

              I would like to know more about the plastic razor holder. I have tried some different holders but none have been suitable for the way I scrape.

              From what I read from your post and Robert's post, both of you scrape in one direction with a straight scrape. As I posted, I use the scraper like a windshield wiper, back and forth letting the razor flip back and forth between my fingers. I have not found a blade holder that is suitable doing this. I made an oak blade holder that  kind of works OK but it still is not right.

              I start at the butt end and work towards the tip end. A lot of care needs to be taken at the tip ends of the tip sections. I will try to explain what I do. The strip is clamped down at the butt end to the form using a spring clamp and a kneadable  eraser that forms to the strip and form. I scrape flipping the blade back and forth between my fingers working up the strip. As the strip gets narrower towards the tip, I place the thumb and first finger from my other hand about 3" apart on top of the strip. These two fingers hold the strip down in the form to keep it from flexing as the blade is flipping back and forth. The scraping is done between these two fingers.  After I get that 3" scraped, I move up the strip the next three inches, it is almost one motion. The last 3" or so, I only scrape towards the tip end. The last three rods were 1 wt with .027 at the tip of each strip. No problem at all scraping these thin strips.

              After doing the (windshield wiper) scraping on the strip, I make two or three full length passes  from butt to tip.  (Tony Spezio)

                The holder that I use would likely not work using your method. It's really cheap and the clip would probably come unclipped if you did that. I have seen metal ones for scraping paint that may work for you. I just know that holding those little razor blades so tightly after a while causes great pain and the holder helps with leverage. I do scrape in one direction, from butt to tip, instead of back and forth.

                BTW,  those thin strips are something else huh? Kinda like splitting a spaghetti noodle six ways and then putting it back together again.  (Phil Smith)

                  Are we talking about "real" single edge razor blades with a piece of metal folded over the dull edge, or utility knife/box cutter blades?  I haven't seen single edge razor  blades for a long time. My dad used to use them when I was a little boy.  (Neil Savage)

                    I use the box cutter blades (bought in bulk).   They're much stronger than a razor blade, very sharp, and work well as scrapers  without getting into another sharpening routine.  Use em' and loose  em'.  I use the same blades for many other uses in the shop so it's quite  handy.  (Ed Berg)

                      Like Ed, I use the box cutter blades the same way you would use a  cabinet scraper. They are longer, thicker, last longer and stronger than a razor blade.

                      For what it's worth, here is my routine:  First, I precondition the blade. Holding the blade with thumb and index finger of both hands and a forward lean, make a couple of passes full length of my forms without a strip in the form. This puts a very, very small curl on the trailing edge of the blade. Turned around, the blade is now ready for use.

                      I put a mark with a sharpie across the forms where the butt end of the strips should line up. Clamp the strip to the form with a spring clamp with a finger protector on one jaw. The little nubs of the finger protector hold the strip securely.

                      Holding the blade the same as you would hold a cabinet scraper with both hands make a couple of full length never stopping pass from butt to tip. Turn the strip in the form, check the alignment and repeat until the top of the strip is flush with the form. Done...

                      Using the Box Cutter blades this way, they last a long time. If they get dull, precondition them again.  (Don Schneider)

    I have been using single edged razors to get down to final dims for 2 years now and am very satisfied.  Your fingers and knuckles can get a little tired but I have eliminated gaps in my blanks and have not had to make the big expense for the Lie-Nielsen 212.  Approximately 3 passes per side of the strip is all that is needed if you can get close enough with your final planing.  (Robert Cristant)

      Do you scrape with one hand and hold down the strip with the other hand, or do you have a hold down device and hold the blade with both hands?  (Steve Weiss)

        I use both hands on the blade.  I use a 3" Pony clamp to hold the strip down and I scrape from butt to tip.  Sometimes the strip tends to leave the grip of the clamp (you are, after all, so close to final dims), in this case I use a thin eraser on top of the strip and then clamp with the Pony clamp on top of the eraser.  I have tried both pulling the blade and pushing the blade to scrape and I prefer pushing it up the form; personal preference, I can see where I am going.  (Robert Cristant)


Can someone tell me what the advantages of buying an LN Plane or Scraper with a groove and why some might choose this version over the traditional ones?  (Matt Baun)

    My grooved plane and my LN212 are both collecting dust on the shelf.

    I cock the plane for a cleaner cut so the grooved plane will not work for me. I guess I just don't know how to use the 212. As far as messing up the forms, it just takes a bit if experience to know when to quit with the plane and do the final scraping. I use single edge razor blades for my final scraping.  (Tony Spezio)

    I went for the LN 212 and 9.5 both with a groove when I was tooling up.  Bought an English made Stanley 9.5 at the flea market this fall for $20, added a new hock blade and I can't put it down.  Planing at an angle seems to be easier without the groove.  I've been switching to the grooved LN 9.5 for the last 5 thousandths or so.  Its nice to have the groove at that point.  However, for what I spent on the two LN planes, I could have about 2 more bundles of bamboo   in the attic.  The groove probably does help protect the edge of the blade in the final planning stages, but I'd rather have the bamboo for the money.  (David Bolin)

    The advantage is that the plane iron never touches the planing form.  The disadvantage is that you have to compensate for the groove when setting the form, or finish with an ungrooved plane.  Some makers swear by them.   I don't think I'll take a chance with my pet plane(s).  I understand you can glue shim stock on the bottom of a plane to try it out too.  (Neil Savage)

    I use a grooved plane for my final passes and a Clifton #4 smoothing plane (thanks to Mr. Smithwick) without a groove for my coarse work. The advantage of the groove is great looking forms after your finished. Unless you are using a set of hold down clamps and pressing the strips into the forms ahead of the plane the plane seems to lift the strip and screw a bit with your dimensions. Pressing ahead of the plane helps keep better consistency in your numbers. A razor sharp plane blade also helps. Also remember your blade height from the groove is probably only about .005 from the surface if your taking even a relatively thin shaving from your strips. I have all kinds of planes around the shop and I have made peace with the grooved ones.  (Dave Rinker)


Since I got a Stanley No. 4 bench plane off of eBay - great source for planes by the way. The older planes really are made better than today's. I decided to try the Veritas scraper conversion. A plane bodied scraper flattens the irregularities where the rectangular piece of steel type of scraper just follows the humps and valleys up and down.  Both have their uses depending on what you are trying to do.

If you have a bench plane that will take a 2" wide blade and you don't want to spend $145.00 for the Lie-Nielsen No. 212 scraper, you can use the Veritas scraper insert.

I didn't like the Veritas conversion as much as mt LN scraper. The Veritas uses a very thin blade even if you get the thicker blade they offer, and is much more prone to chatter. Since the smallest plane you can use it on is a No. 4, you get into the situation of a big somewhat heavy, unwieldy plane, but you have to go slowly and carefully to avoid chatter.

If you have a No. 4 plane already, and can't afford a LN 212 scraper, then getting the Veritas scraper insert is better than not having a plane bodied scraper. Personally I would just bite the bullet and get a LN scraper.  (Darryl Hayashida)


I use a  razor blade (get the big single edge kind, the double edge wastes blood) to scrape away the enamel. I believe Tony Spezio recommended it just before or after I broke the tip of his rod. Can't  remember which...  :-)  I also use a razor blade to fine tune my strip to final dimensions. It takes some getting use to on those 2 and 3 wt tip strips.  (Jim Tefft)


I just made this scraper:

Barbato, Rick Scraper

(too cheap to buy one) and it works well and was easy to make. Took a couple of hours.  (Rick Barbato)

    Anyone who's ever cut sheet metal with tin snips knows how sharp the burr can be.  Makes a pretty good scraper.  A piece of 22 to 26 ga, about 2" wide by 3" long.  Knock 3 edges off with a file to keep from cutting your hand.  When it gets dull, snip off about 1/8" and presto, new edge.  Just cut it nice and straight.  And cheap!  (Tim Pembroke)


Do any of you boys who use planes with rodmakers grooves in them also use a scraper (L/N or other) that has the rodmakers .003" deep groove in it?

If so, do you experience tearout at the edges since the edges stick up .003" proud of the form.

Excuse me if this is obvious. Newfer here.

I just hope I've not made a mistake in buying L/N planes with the groove. It "seemed" like the safest thing to do to save the plane blade (sharpening) and top of forms (nicking).  (Jeremy Gubbins)

    I do have two planes with grooves that I use for final planing. These are Stanley's that I have modified with 0.003-0.005 grooves. I have an LN scraper that I have not modified. I set the depth of the blade using two sheets of paper (0.002 thick) sitting on a flat machine stone surface. I have not had any problems with the LN scraper digging into the forms. I may get some digging with the planes if I do not hold the planes level to the forms and if I am forcing the plane downward with too much force. Hope this helps.  (Frank Paul)

    That's a great question.  My standard plane has a groove to the sole and I love it. I was thinking of doing the same to the scraper also, but just have not got around to it yet. Like you, I'm  wondering if anyone else has done this?  (Gary Nicholson)

      I bought a used L-N scraper that had a .005" groove hand planed into it. I sanded it down until it measured .001". I set the plane on the flat granite and set the blade to the bottom. Works quite well. I'm looking forward to how it works after seeing Joe's tutorial.  It was Joe, wasn't it? (Henry Mitchell)

    I have a LN scraper with the groove and it works very well. I too have used it when removing the last few thousandths as well removing the inside angle for the purpose of  hollowing  centers.  (Gary Williams)


I just got a 212 scraper and was wondering if anyone out there who uses one on a regular basis could e-mail me off list to discuss some questions I have.  (Tim - Flex)

    I too purchased a 212 when I was tooling up.  My second mistake was using it.  It doesn't look new anymore.  If I had left it in the box I could probably get more money for it today.  So my advice would be to leave it in the box to preserve the resale value.  It's a very cool tool, but you don't need it to make rods.  If you do use it, watch out for chatter marks especially on the enamel side of the strips.  You won't notice the marks until the first coat of varnish is applied.  Even the slightest chatter will be clearly visible under a shiny coat of varnish.

    I apologize for the negative reply.  But I was more than a little frustrated when I figured out that I didn't need a high dollar scraper plane.  I'm holding on to it until Harry agrees to swap one of his fine bamboo fly rods for it.  Don't tell him he doesn't need it.  (David Bolin)

      What do you do instead?  I'm guessing most sand?  Window scrapers?  (Bob Brockett)

        Mostly, I use a file. (Timothy Troester)

          I for one am a fan of the 212.  I have owned and used one for many years.  Long before my first bamboo rod.  Like any tool, there can be some learning curve.  If you have any questions ask away.  (Rick Hodges)

          I also purchased a Lie Neilson 212 Scraper, I really like the tool.  I set it up for a really fine scrape by placing a single piece of paper on a flat table and with the blade retracted fully I sit the plane with the leading edge on the paper, so a very fine angle between the base of the plane and the table is created.  Then I drop the blade until it sits on the table and lock into place.  Doing this you get a real fine cut but again chatter is a problem, but I get less chatter with practice and if your blade is set in this way any chatter marks will be negligible and can be removed by a further scrape, unless of course you are at your final dimension.

          You just have to be real careful with the final pass!

          I love my 212, not only a beautiful tool but i find it useful.  (Nick Brett)

            I agree - and this is how to set them up.  A feeler gauge (.002 - .003) works well too.  It's a shame there are so many 212's sitting around gathering dust.  They are definitely nature's cure for carpal tunnel syndrome - and all the old timers know how much I loved George Barnes and his "Cod Scrapa".  Tri scrapers are neat and have their place too, especially delicate work such as spiral rods.

            Before Jeff Fultz showed me how to set it up I used Tony's razor blade method.  It's great but, alas, a real wrist cruncher.  Now I do final scraping with a 212 (it's mass makes it effortless) and hardly ever have to resort to repetitive motion.  It's also hard to beat the 212 for getting off stubborn glue pebbles - again the mass advantage.   I don't understand why others' are chattering.  I've never had a chatter.  Don't give up on your 212's they could save your wrists, boys.  I'd buy 'em all  from you - but one's all you need.  (Darrol Groth)

            212 scraper, I like it.

            I got it used with more than just patina, actually had green on the bronze, as well as a home-sanded groove of ,005". I sanded the sole down so that the groove is .001". I sharpen the blade per Joe Arguello's tutorial. I set the depth placing the scraper on a flat granite slab and then tighten the blade when it bottoms out. With that shallow a cut I don't  get chatter, and a forward tilt to the upper part of the blade seems to help.

            Don't give up on it yet.  (Henry Mitchell)

        SHARP block planes, a paint scraper, and sand paper on a sanding block with Plexiglas glued to the base to get a level cut with the paper.  I put a burr on the paint scraper and use it to scrape Titebond off the blanks between attempts to sand it off.  Titebond softens with the heat created by the sandpaper and balls up  on the blank...sand, scrape, sand, scrape, etc...  I switched to resorcinol recently.  Probably won't need the paint scraper anymore.  (David Bolin)

          I have a 212 scraper also and I have tried many times to make it work. I think it would be  a very useful tool if it was set up correctly. I too use a home made card scraper with ease so the 212 sits on the shelf in new condition. I'm only an hour away from Lie-Nielsen's shop, I should make a point to stop in and see if they can show me how to set it up.  (Wayne Caron)

            I went from using my 212 as a door stop to the point that I wouldn't be without one. The most important thing is learning how to sharpen the blade and how to set it up. Once this is done you simply slide it along the strip and you will be surprised how well they work. I did a tutorial a while back on how to sharpen and set one up. Here is the link if you are interested. (Joe Arguello)

              Several years ago I purchased a luthier's scraper as per the suggestion in the Garrett Carmichael book. I have used  it with limited success - I'm not impressed. I have tried a matt knife or box cutter blades, a little better than the scraper, but only just a little. I find my hands tire out trying to hold the blade.  I have also used my cabinet scrapers to even greater success.  I haven't gone back to using the old method of a piece of glass as a scraper.  (Phil Crangi)

                When I was in high school back in the 40's I have wrapped and refinished several bamboo rods. I used to get 5.00 for that. I used a piece of glass as a scraper. That was many years ago. I might go back and try it again.  (Tony Spezio)

              Maybe I am just a klutz but I will give it another try.  (Tony Spezio)

                In my view, the whole secret of getting the L-N Scraper to work for you boils down to three things.

                Correctly sharpening the blade and creating a burr.

                Setting the blade to the proper depth in the plane.

                Setting the blade at the proper angle.

                Joe's tutorial is a great start but you can do even better.   I sharpen the blade just like my plane blades.  That means not just the bevel but polishing both the bevel and the back mirror bright.  After the blade is sharpened I put a burr on the edge using the method used when sharpening a hand held (cabinet) scraper.  Follow this link to see how.  It generally only takes one good firm stroke with the burnisher to get an acceptable burr.

                To set the blade in the plane I do it much like Joe.  For a flat surface I have a piece of 1/2" plate glass that I set the plane body on and then slip a single cigarette paper (like used for roll your owns or less legal purposes) under the nose of the plane.  These papers are about .001 thick as opposed to .002 - .004 for typical writing paper.  Insert the blade and hold it gently down onto the glass surface and tighten the holding screw.  You now have a blade projection of about .0005 inches. You can use the tilt adjusting screw to slightly alter the blade projection but go easy it only takes a very small adjustment to get a big difference.

                For the angle of the blade in the plane, I start at about 3 degrees tilted forward from vertical.  This works well for me with the  rolled burr but you may have to experiment.  It just depends on the angle of the burr you ended up with.

                I hope this helps or at least gives another approach to try.  (Rick Hodges)

                  Looks like I will have to go back and play with the Scraper. With the info from you and  Joe maybe I might make it work.   (Tony Spezio)

                    Useful tip for helping  set  the  depth  of cut  -   cigarette papers.  Folded one, twice or not at all, they provide a repeatable depth setting.

                    I do use my 212 lots, and I. sharpen it as I would a plane blade and burnish the edge with a piece of 1/2" HSS rod.

                    However, and remember i am a biologist and not a techie, but I am damned if I can see   that  it  can  do  anything  that  a well-tuned and ultra sharp L-N plane cannot do a  wee bit better!  (Peter McKean)

        I use a card scraper.  It is just a piece of steel about the size of a 3x5 card and you sharpen a hook on one end and scrape with that.  It is something that is used in furniture making.  Sometimes I still use a single edge razor blade.  (Hal Manas)

      Gotta agree with David.

      Mine sits on a shelf in the shop & collects dust.  Use it as a paperweight now & then.

      Single-edged razor blades or utility knife blades do all the necessary scraping.  (Paul Julius)

      Ha Ha, DITTO!

      Even after Jeff Fultz showed me some years ago how to set it up, I've never had a reason to use it in rod making.

      I tried it on scrap sections and learned how to use it without chattering (just so I could help justify the cost), but frankly the tri scrapers that you can resharpen - like the ones Golden Witch sells - along with sandpaper are faster and easier for me.

      I thought about using it as a door stop, but all my doors stay open by themselves…  (Tom Vagell)

      Although, Guys . . .

      I formerly agreed with David COMPLETELY -- until Dr. Arguello clued us in to that fine scraper blade sharpening tutorial he posted!

      THAT WAS IT!!  [Cue the heavenly choir]

      One of the big keys was deserting the 73-degree vertical setting and adjusting the blade angle per Joe's advice -- 'til you can see the tip of the adjusting screw just starting to emerge from the back locking nut.  Having followed Joe's advice to the letter, I can now report:

      1. great quantities of happiness have entered my life;

      2. my hair is growing back;

      3. I can shave any side of a spline smoother than the proverbial infant derriere -- no skip, no chatter (not even any gossip)!!  Dust measuring 0.0005 is commonplace.  The biggest problem I have now is setting the blade "depth," and I use the term advisedly.  But once it IS set, Oooooooooh, MAMA!

      For the record?  I'm a klutz.  I'm mechanically declined.  I'm a spaz.  I once built  a Para  15 with  UN-staggered nodes in the tips (casts great!).

      What can I say?  If you haven't checked Joe Arguello's 212 scraper blade sharpening tutorial -- and I wouldn't say this to just anyone on the street -- you're in for a treat!!  (Steve Yasgur)

        If anyone wants to get rid of one of their door stops, contact me off list and make an offer.  (Scott Bahn)

          Like many of you when I first got my 212 I could not make it work. After playing with it I got bored and put  it on the shelf for a couple of years. I  talked to LN when they came out with a new blade and I tried that and still couldn’t  make it work, back on the shelf for another couple of years. One day while driving around and thinking about odd things a light went on. You dummy, you have been taking the burr off. Playing with the angle and size of the burr it works fine but I didn’t think it  worked any better than using box cutter blades. I  gave it to another rodmaker. Kind of wish I had it back, my fingers cramp using the box cutter blades now. It’s hell getting old but I’m still on the right side of the grass.  (Don Schneider)

            Seems like someone could make a basic scraper plane body to hold a box cutter blade, with the right support & at the correct angle.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

              I think Tony did that already.   Powerfibers #31.  (Rick Hodges)

                Yes I did, I first saw that done at one of the early SRG Gatherings. It makes it easy on your hands but I still finish off with a single edge razor blade held in a small plastic scraper handle that fits between two fingers. This handle holds a single edge blade. I think they are called window scrapers. The first one I saw was at the Catskill Gathering when one of the attendees gave one  to me for holding the razor blade. I have since found them in the paint dept at Wally World. This relieves the tension on your fingers and wrist.  (Tony Spezio)

              Lee Valley has a scraper holder that works well with cabinet scrapers and is easy on the hands and use.

              They also had another scraper, I can't find on their site now, that has some weight to it and wing handles for pulling or pushing. I think it works as well as the 212. 

              I found the Veritas® Cabinet Scraper here.  (Don Schneider)

              I made a maple block to hold a carbide replacement blade used in a paint scraper.  The blades are relatively cheap, have two cutting edges and last forever.  And they can be resharpened on a diamond sharpening "stone".

              I cut a groove in the sole so I can leave the strip "proud" of the form and set the scraper blade so it doesn't cut the form but does cut bamboo.  If you set your grooved-soled plane to leave your strip 0.005 over the form and the scraper 0.003 over the form (one paper thickness) you can finish plane then finish scrape with no adjustments so long as you've set your forms so that finished size is 0.003 above the form. 

              The block looks like the attachment.

            Baulauski, Al Scraper

              (Al Baldauski)

    Like a lot of you, I own a L-N 212 and have had trouble getting the thing to cut properly. Been through both burr and un-burred and it still wasn't much.

    So I got a Lee Valley Small Scraper Plane like this one.

    Works great although sharpening was a chore till I found this attachment.

    to hold the blade. Unfortunately, the attachment doesn't work as well with the Veritas MKII

    Honing Guide found here.

    as it does with the  blade holder found in the Veritas Sharpening system found here:

    And I have both holders!!!

    What I did find in the web page for the scraper was the following comment:  A fixed frog sets the blade at 20°, the optimum angle for fine scraping. The edges of all gripping surfaces are chamfered for comfort, as is the leading edge of the lapped sole, preventing it from catching or marring work. The 5-1/4" long ductile cast iron body weighs 1-1/2 lb.

    So I set the L-N @ 20 degrees and I got a scraper that works.  (Don Anderson)

      Thanks, I am heading to LV on Monday, they finally built one in Victoria.

      However I am confused, it doesn't take much these days, am I hearing you say that the best combination is the LV small scraper plane with the blade holder found in the Veritas sharpening system. IE: the first site item and the last?????

      Either way, you will  have blown my  tool  budget  for  the month!!!! Again!!!!  (Keith Paskin)

    IF you can't justify spending all that money for a 212, take your old plane blade that you hung on the wall when you bought that Hock blade, sharpen it like you were going to plane with it then clamp it in your vise cutting edge up. Take a screwdriver with a round shaft and run the shaft over the edge like you were trying to ruin it. What you want to do is roll a burr over the flat side, not the bevel. When you can feel a burr on the back of the blade it's ready to go, pull it burr side down down the length of the strip, I hold it up at about 22 1/2 degrees, but experiment to see what works best for you. I don't scrape much, just particularly uncooperative nodes, but this works fine and I already had it.  (John Channer)


I have a 212 and can't figure how to use it without chatter marks. But it does look nice.

My L-N 9.5 did lift nodes at 25 degrees but not at 35 degrees. The L N 103 Special I use for the last few thousandths did the same. Probably more to do with angle rather than maker.

Why do I feel like the congregation preaching to the preacher?  (Larry Tucker)

    The 212 is easy to make chatter free.  Ensure the blade is terribly sharp as usual with a 60 degree bevel.  Progressively lean the blade forward till you get a chatter free run.  I think I tried to measure the angle once, and if I remember right it's somewhere between 15 and 20 degrees forward,  closer to the 20 degree mark.  (Mark Wendt)

      Since we are on 212's, how many of you turn the edge on the blades in your 212's? And how many use them plain sharpened? I agree with Mark that you can reduce to chattering down to a level where it is not apparent by leaning the blade forward, and I think about 15 deg is right, but of course that also seems to me to degrade the cutting efficiency of the tool.

      One problem with all of this, of course, is that we are assessing phenomena that involve thousandths of an inch with subjective judgments that are calibrated more for tenths of an inch or so.....  (Peter McKean)

        I use mine plain sharpened.  Since it works so well sharpened at 60º and leaning forward, I haven't seen the need to waste my time and put a burr on the blade.  I get a nice "curl" when I run my 212 down the strip.  Usually about 4 passes down the strip and the enamel is gone.  (Mark Wendt)

      Plus, use the Arguello Tutorial blade-angle setting.  I think it amounts to the same thing.  Joe would have you lock the adjusting thread at a point where you can just see the tip emerging from the washer.  I followed his instructions.  Chatter disappeared.

      Next?  (Steve Yasgur)

        The other thing I do when setting the blade depth is to rest the nose of the plane on a sheet of paper.  Loosen the blade nut, stick two fingers on the top of the blade to ensure the blade remains square to the plane and snug up the blade holder nut.  Maybe folks are allowing too much blade to show and that could be causing chatter.  (Mark Wendt)

    With all this about scrapers and chatter marks, if a guy were to compensate for the .003 groove, what would be wrong with removing the enamel with a standard block plane using an ultra sharp iron and set to take the barest amount, saving the power fibers?  I can get a really smooth finish cut with my L-N.  (Bob Brockett)

      I don't get chatter marks with my 212.  (Mark Wendt)

    I for one always put a burr on the scraper blade.  Clamp the blade vertical in your bench vice then make one pass across the edge with a good hard polished burnisher held about 15 degrees from horizontal. Use a moderate amount of pressure.  You don't have to lean into it.  More like the pressure you would use doing some heavy filing.

    You should be able to feel the burr when you run your finger over it but only barely visible.  I set the blade up in the scraper with about a 3 to 5 degree forward tilt.  Beautiful curls and no chatter.  (Rick Hodges)


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