Friday, September 11, 2009
The Benchcrafted "Skraper"
At this year's Woodworking in American Furniture Design and Construction conference we unveiled a new tool, the "Skraper".
The Skraper is a utilitarian tool that is intended for tasks such as glue squeeze-out removal to refining surfaces and joinery, and everything in between. Honestly, it's a bit difficult to pin down just exactly what I use the Skraper for, since I use it for so many things. It's not like a smoothing plane that has basically one purpose--to take a fine shaving. The Skraper can do that too, by the way, in addition to strategically removing glue squeeze-out.
The business-end of the Skraper is a solid carbide bar honed on three sides and ends. All 8 edges are razor sharp and capable of taking fine shavings. And since its carbide, the edge lasts a long time. The Skraper can be resharpened with diamond abrasives.
Instead of trying to list everything I use the Skraper for (not that I could even remember), I'll point of a few of my favorite uses.
Glue squeeze-out. The obvious one.
We all know that scraping glue while its still rubbery is a good technique, but oft times the glue can pull out wood fibers along with it, especially when using a card scraper to remove the glue. Here's where the Skraper shines. The 90 degree cutting angle , coupled with the thick carbide edge helps prevent grain tearing, especially when the tool is used at a skew to the grain.
Skewing the tool helps keep the grain in place while the scraper can do its job of shearing off the glue. The angled handle allows a zero degree approach, allowing space to get your fingers around the handle.
The Skraper also really shines for cleaning glue out of corners. After removing the glue, the Skraper can be used to take fine shavings from the surrounding area. See the video below for the technique.
I also like to use the Skraper to refine small areas while keeping them dead flat. A card scraper will hollow an area, while the Skraper will not. This is especially handy for maintaining the fit of some joints or the flatness of a surface. I like to think of the Skraper as a sort of one-tooth float. Holding the Skraper at a low angle and taking short strokes at a bias to the grain makes nice wispy shavings.
The Skraper is incredible on exotic oily woods like this cocobolo. Holding the scraper upright with a rearward tilt (I'm pulling the Skraper toward my body here) produces beautiful shavings. I can make dead flat scraped surfaces with no tearout.
These are just a few uses for the Skraper. I find myself reaching for mine several times during a project. And they are not just for woodworking, the Skraper is also great around the house and shed for miscellaneous tasks.
Right now the Skraper is not available through the website. If you are attending the Woodworking in America conference in Valley Forge, PA October 2-4 you can buy a Skraper at the Benchcrafted booth. After the show, online ordering will be available. If you'd like to be notified when they are available, please drop us an email.