These are awesome and indispensable tools. And they’re small. We’ll continue to inventory them as we move into our (semi-) retirement.
Our tri-scrapers give you three times the scrape before you have to hone an edge. Comfy handles will make you relish the opportunity to use them. These are perfect for scraping down cane blanks after the glue has cured. Use the large for mids and butts and the small for delicate tip sections. An outstanding tool.
These are sold separately, but save yourself a few bucks and get the pair, the right tools for their one specific job.
Beware, or be aware, there’s a longer, almost Ramble-length question and response note at the bottom of this page. It touches on scrapers, and more, but I didn’t know where else to tuck it.
Here’s a blurb on the scrapers that I wrote elsewhere on the site:
These are my favorite little tools for removing enamel and cured adhesive (that is, the very small amount of adhesive you didn’t get cleaned off the blanks before you set them aside to cure). You’ll wonder how you lived without these things. Careful…scrape, don’t cut as move down the flats. Don’t round your corners. Keep the flats flat and the corners sharp. And don’t cut yourself, either. New, these tools are quite sharp in spite of the 60* angle that creates each working edge. As I type this, I’m nursing a wounded finger tip, having cut myself on a scraper while packing it up to ship.
Before you scrape, you gotta roll. Roll with the best:
Hi Russ, … Planing Irons. How often do you sharpen while working your final plane? I have a 3000/6000 water stone, Hock Iron, plane guide and I can consistently get .002 unbroken ribbons when i work the strips. I am wondering how often as a general rule a good sharp iron will last? Can you get through a whole 2 piece rod with extra tip so 18 strips? I know this is a general question and will not have an absolute answer, just wondering as a general rule how often you find yourself re honing your irons….Reason I ask, is I have not noticed any gouging on the final planing yet, and i have not resharpened my Stanley 9 1/2. So I’m wondering if Im missing something. Next question is where does the scraper come in, and can you use a razor blade? I played around with it on the planing form and see that it takes off a kind of peach fuzz. Do you use the scraper after you get down to your correct taper? Is the block plane insufficient to cut the last bit of material? I don’t really understand and my reading material is not really clear. – Sean
Here’s my response:
All good, I’ll help where I can.
Hock irons are great irons. Equally, so are the L-N irons. Both are better than vintage.
Can you plane 18 strips with one iron? Probably. If you’re not worried about tear out, especially at the nodes. Personally, I wouldn’t be comfortable planing more than about three butt strips or six tip strips without re-honing. Because I’ve gathered a bunch of irons over the years, I’m likely to prep a small stack and switch them out even more frequently. It’s obsessive, but there you go.
When I suggest you switch irons, or work an iron at least after every six tip strips, I’m not talking about starting from scratch with your iron, just touching it up. If you use a micro-bevel, that’s a quick process….hone the bevel…look at it under good light…if there are no nicks, get back to planing. I know it can seem crazy to re-sharpen, or even re-hone the micro-bevel when your strips seem nice, but there’s a moment you can’t predict when a very slightly dull iron is going to tear the cane…at which point not only do you now know you have to work the iron, but you may need to work up an entire new strip, node-matched, to replace the damaged strip. Remember, that rod is with you, or your client, for the rest of its life. It has your name on it. A rough glue-line is a permanent testament to the rush you were in (either dull irons, or not watching your angles). Even as I say this, bear in mind, I’m fully aware that there are practice rods, rods whipped up to test a taper, rods rushed so you have a back-up for an impromptu trip. There are a few moments when you might rush, when a rough glue line, or guides wrapped and varnished without tipping, may be acceptable. Unsigned rods. But when you’re making a rod you intend to be proud of, re-sharpen/re-hone often and don’t risk the tear-out.
Scrapers….two kinds, two different points to use them. The tri-scrapers we sell are for working the rod sections immediately after you peel off the binding thread. These are supported with one finger on the flat of the triangular blade, opposite the point which you’re dragging (not slicing) across the flat of the bamboo. This scraper allows your finger to be just above the bamboo…solid control, at least once you have the knack…and you’re using this scraper to swiftly remove the enamel and any cured adhesive (urea or resc.) that may have squeezed out onto the blank and not been rinsed off prior to curing…especially the criss-crosses of adhesive and binding thread ‘fur’ left after you peel the glace from the blank. Your goal here is NOT to remove power fibers, just the gruff stuff over the fibers…and NOT to round corners, dig divots, or make waves in the bamboo surface. Well used, the scraper may leave the faintest chatter marks, barely discernible, but which would be magnified by an overcoat of varnish…and this is why you need to sand, then steel wool the blank prior to finishing. FYI, these scrapers may bump/jump over epoxy, so you may have to work more slowly and carefully if you use epoxy (I never use epoxy for blank making). When used with traditional adhesives, their minor excess – a thin and frangible glaze – chips/shatters away, in most cases, more easily than the enamel scrapes up from the power fibers. If you ever fail to clean up the squeeze-out thoroughly, this is another animal entirely…the scraper isn’t going to work well if you try and plow it through globs of cured anything. Simply never let this happen.
The other kind of scraper, whether that’s a hand-held scraper (as sold by L-N, Lee Valley, and others) which often looks like a 3×5 card formed from steel (and which can be made from old saw blades), or a “plane” body-held scraper such as the L-N #212, can be used to take the bamboo strips down to perfectly level in the planing form. Not every maker uses these. I don’t. Love them as tools, for other projects, but I plane down to the metal. This answers one of your questions. Yes, you can plane down to the surface of the form. And this may account for the fact that I need to use more fresh irons during my planing process.
I rarely use a razor blade as a scraper. They’re very thin and they work with, literally, a razor’s edge with which you’ll risk cutting into the bamboo power fibers. Contrast this cutting edge (probably around 17*) with the scraping edge of a tri scraper (60*) or, say, the hand-held traditional sheetmetal scrapers which rely on what is basically 90* angle with a small burr turned up with a carbide rod. I do keep a pack of razors by my bench. They’re perfect for cutting glace binding thread, for gently removing the corners of the tip of a tip section so you can mount the tiptop, and more, but razors aren’t scrapers. Can you get by with one? Maybe. Do you want to long term? No. Over time, acquire and use the proper tools for their intended tasks. There is real pleasure in using tools as they were designed to be used. As you begin to sell rods, pad your selling price enough that you’re covering all your parts, all your labor, all you real overhead (space, utilities, consumables)…and make certain you’re adding in hundred dollars or so that goes into your tool kitty…save up, buy better and more specialized tools (or the materials and tools to make the tools you need…either way it is an expense and a true investment). I still have a tool acquisition budget and every month I add tools to the shop. Sometimes that’s only a fancy new set of pliers with an obscure jaw shape that seems as though it might help with my next project (forming traditional Prong Tip Tops), but sometimes it’s a larger outlay like the diamond-blade bandsaw I’m eyeing so I can make, and demonstrate in our new videos, how the home rodmaker can create polygonal-ring agate guides…quad, pent, hex, etc. The tool buying never ends if you are always pushing your skills and your product line.
Enough for now. Go make a rod. Have fun!