Guitar Making Tip Number 749 is about keeping your process from making the job take longer. One way this happens is when you make a mistake. This adds time to the build, and makes the process longer. Here is how you keep your cabinet scraper from making things worse.
Your Cabinet Scraper
Your cabinet scraper can be a huge life saver in your shop, but in the beginning it can be your enemy until you understand it. The most common error is that the edges of the cabinet scraper dig into the surface of the piece, adding more scratches.
The nice thing is that you already have a great tool for removing them in your hands. The bad thing, is that you can add even more just as easily.
When I was first learning How to Use a Cabinet Scraper, I made a lot of mistakes. I was even convinced at one point that the reason we don’t see them much anymore is because sandpaper was invented and it’s better. Thankfully I figured it out and learned how valuable a scraper really is.
Here is a nice tip that you can use to ensure your scraper doesn’t betray you too much in the beginning…
Tape the Edges of Your Scraper
If you add a couple layers of masking tape to the bottom corners along the edges of your cabinet scraper, you can easily prevent damage. The tape can help prevent them from digging into the surface as you use the tool to remove scratches. Leave the middle part exposed, and only tape over the outside 10%-20% of each corner/edge.
The maddening part of using a cabinet scraper is when you are trying to remove one scratch and end up adding another. The edges of the cabinet scraper are really sharp, and so are the corners. On square cards, the corners are really bad, and even a small touch can leave a scratch that needs to be removed.
When you go to the next scratch, you might find yourself making a third. When that happens a few times, it can be really stressful. Adding tape over the corners is a great way to prevent them from digging in right away.
Work a Little Slower
Another way to help make sure your scraper works as intended is to work a little slower. It can be very tempting to start slicing away with the scraper because it only removes a little material at a time. Try to resist that temptation.
When you swipe hard with the scraper, it’s difficult to keep it even. This is when the edges can dig in, making more scratches. On top of that, a really bad miss can cause a scratch that you may need you hand plane to remove.
Tape your edges and corners, and then slow down. You will create a much better surface, and you will also reduce the chances of making a mistake and scratching the surface even more.
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