The Cabinet Scraper

Today I’ll be going in a slightly different direction and talking a little about a common tool overlooked by many guitar builders… the cabinet scraper.

They come in quite a few thicknesses and can be used in place of sandpaper.  With woods such as cocobolo and cedar they can be irreplaceable.  These and many other woods can cause severe sensitivity. In some cases, like cocobolo, you can become so sensitized that you can never work with it again!

They range in thickness from .04″ to .1″ and are available in different shapes.  The edge must first be honed or filed even and true with a 90 degree angle.  The tool in the picture is used to first draw out a burr.  This is accomplished by laying the scraper flat and using the rod sticking out of the tool and drawing it along the surface, always keeping the rod parallel to the scraper.  The metal is softer than the rod and causes a burr or hook to form.  Always use machine oil to keep the wear on the rod to a minimum.  One pass should suffice as more passes will heat harden the metal and cause the scraper to become brittle and make the hook break off.  A screwdriver shaft can be used in a pinch but the tool is not that expensive when compared to all of the sandpaper you’ll save.

Now we have to draw the hook.  Now we hold the scraper in a vice and use the tool to draw against the top edge of the scraper to form a hook.

You should only take one or two passes.  The amount of pressure used is a matter of trial and error but usually it takes less than you think.

Now you have a micro plane that is capable of removing a lot of material, save you money on sandpaper and hankies as well.


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