How to Sharpen A Card Scraper in 2023 – [the Easy Way]

Card scrapers are one of the most underutilized tools by newbie woodworkers and one of the most frequently used tools by experienced woodworkers worldwide. The reason behind a card scraper being famous, it can get a crystal clear finish in seconds, where sandpaper can really take a long time.

Moreover, card scrapers create a severed fiber surface rather than sandpaper, making a kind of squished fiber surface. Many people don’t use them because they think it is difficult to sharpen, but in reality, it’s effortless to do. Guess what? Here, I will teach you how to sharpen a card scraper.

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Instructions on Sharpening A Card Scraper

How to Sharpen A Card Scraper

So a card scraper is just a piece of square steel. They also come in lots of different shapes and sizes. There is a card scraper for dowels and outside. There is also a card scraper for doing codes and things like that can get multiple services out of them. A gooseneck scraper, which a lot of people used in molding and so on.

I’m going to guide you on how to sharpen a scraper. If you know how to sharpen square or rectangle shapes, that is something that can be applied to all of the scrapers.

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Things You Will Need

So these are the tools that you need to sharpen a card scraper.

  • You will need to cut a curve in a piece of wood and put a mill file in it so that you can get a 90 degree cut on a card scraper.

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  • You will also need a card scraper burnisher. The burnisher is basically just a round piece of steel that is stronger than the card scraper.

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  • And a water stone or diamond grit stone for sharpening the card scraper.

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Beginning of the Sharpening Process

A woodworker working by a card scraper

When you are thinking about sharpening, the ultimate goal is that you are going to take a card scraper to make it perfectly square and make sure everything is nice and smooth.

And then what you will do is bring out the edges and roll it over to a hook. You won’t be able to see this; it’s kind of on a microscopic level. This hook will grab your wood and peel it like a shaving, just like a hand plane, except it doesn’t tear out, which is incredible.

So the process goes like this. You are going to start by getting the square and then drawing up the edges & rolling them over. You can roll the edge over multiple times, and it still works. It’s important to take your time when you are redoing the sharpening. Because the rougher you leave this, the more chance the edges have of breaking. It really reduces the longevity of the edge on a card scraper.

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Step 1: Make it sharp

Put the card scraper in a vise or clamp it properly. Then put a little oil on a rag; just rub it on top to help the sharpening process. Now take the mill file inserted in the block of wood & just rub it over the top. You’ll see it get a fresh, clean surface on top. There you go, you can feel it burst on both sides. Now take the file and do the edges. You can feel that it’s perfectly square.

And then what you need to do is make sure the corners are a little bit rounded, so they don’t have a sharp edge, which helps your hands when you’re cutting. Also, it keeps the corners from digging into your work. Make sure there’s no burr on the card, and you get a nice clean square edge.

Now it’s time to sharpen the card scraper with stone. You don’t want to just go from here to the burnisher, as using the file has created microscopic level scratches. If you fold the card with a burnisher, there will be more failure points, and you don’t want that to happen.

So what you need to do is just take a piece of water stone or diamond stone. I would recommend you to use Diamond Stones for sharpening. Use diamond stones and do the edges and the top. You just need to rub it along the edges about 30 times. And when you go to sharpen the top, it’s really easy to keep it Square. You will need to use the mill file.

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Step 2: Using the Burnisher

Now it’s time to proceed to step 2. Here, you will need to pull those edges up. Most people say between 5 and 15 degrees on a burnisher. Put the card scraper on the edge of your bench. And hold the burnisher & use kind of the same pressure that you would use to push an elevator button. It’s seldom pressure but not a lot.

So when you draw this edge, you need to put the burnisher in the eight of an inch from the edge of your bench and hold it at about five degrees. Now go back and forth ten times, flip it over and again go 10 times, then the other side 10 times.

Now put the card scraper in the vice or clamp it. Use about the same amount of pressure. Just use the weight of your arms and push down. You don’t want to smash this thing. Because right now, you have a microscopic piece of bent metal that is kind of sticking straight up.

So you are going to do this about six to eight times. So hold the burnisher and go back and forth. Whatever angle you choose, lock your wrists in that position and do the work.

Turn it around, and you should be able to catch that edge with your fingernails. You’ll feel a little hook came over the edge. Now repeat the process on the other side.

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Also Read: How to Pick A Roughing Gouge for Woodturning.

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Final Words

After reading the article, I hope you have an in-depth understanding of how to sharpen a card scraper. It takes a little bit just to get good at it, but the sharpening process is relatively easy.

With a card scraper, You can reach places that are hard to sand with an electric sander. If you make a mistake and put a little dent in a finished piece of furniture or project, these work great for just touching up in the area.

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