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Should I buy a scraper? (Read 228 times)
 
Andrew Cooper
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Should I buy a scraper?
Apr 16th, 2022 at 3:17pm
 
I've been making mostly bowls in this my new hobby. I am getting there slowly. I do find it very difficult to produce a bowl with no lines in the bottom when using my 3/8 inch bowl gouge which the lathe manufacturer recommended.
I see a lot of people use scrapers which seems to alleviate this difficulty.
Should I get one. If so, what size would you good folk recommend please?
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Don Stephan
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Re: Should I buy a scraper?
Reply #1 - Apr 16th, 2022 at 7:11pm
 
The best suggestion in my opinion is to join a local woodturning group.  I' m not sure if your bowl gouge is the bar diameter or the flute width, depending on the size bowl you are turning a 3/8" bar diameter bowl gouge may be a bit small for the inside bottom.

If you are getting lines on the inside bottom, you may be coming off the bevel.  When the sides of a bowl are vertical it can be a challenge to use the same bevel angle for the inside side, "transition," and bottom.

Scrapers can help, but scrapers come in all different widths and thicknesses - I prefer a wider, thicker one for the extra mass.  But again a woodturning group can be a tremendous help - some use several scrapers with different radii for the bottom and transition zone and perhaps a "box scraper" for the side.

In other words, if not careful one can very quickly get a number of different bowl gouges and scrapers trying to improve the finish without first understanding what is causing a less than ideal finish.

For beginning bowl turning I have suggested people learn on 5 1/2" lengths of 2x6 framing lumber.  Even at today's prices the individual bowl blanks are very inexpensive and therefore one doesn't worry about ruining expensive hardwood and perhaps is more willing to practice practice practice. 

My two cents.
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Louie Powell
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Re: Should I buy a scraper?
Reply #2 - Apr 17th, 2022 at 7:22am
 
You probably won't be satisfied with a scraper.  Instead, you will likely end up with a bunch.  DAMHIKT

Seriously, I would suggest building a scraper arsenal in this order:
  • Generic round nose, 1"
  • Inside bowl scraper (cutting edge on the left side)
  • Flat (boattail) scraper - not used often but great from making something flat.  I made mine by regrinding a 1" Harbor Freight bench chisel.
  • Box scraper - this has two cutting edges - the end and the left side - at about a 90deg angle.  Great for finish cutting the inside and bottom of boxes


In general, the heavier the tool (that is the thicker the metal), the better the scraper will perform.  I wouldn't bother with anything thinner than 1/4", and 1/2" would be far better.

Standard scrapers are ok, but just remember that they must be used with the tool rest just above center, and with the tool handle high so that the cutting edge is pointing downward.  Alternatively, negative rake scrapers inherently force you into the proper tool orientation, so a lot of people prefer them.  If you regrind a standard scraper to have bevels on both the top and the bottom, it becomes a negative rake scraper.

Finally, you might also consider getting some carbide tools - they are essentially scrapers.  An 18mm round carbide tool behaves similar to a 3/4" round nose scraper and will do a great job smoothing the inside of bowls.  Again, tool orientation is important, and remember that the smaller the size of the carbide cutter, the more aggressive it will be in cutting.


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Andrew Cooper
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Re: Should I buy a scraper?
Reply #3 - Apr 17th, 2022 at 3:56pm
 
Thank you so much for all of the advice.  Much to ponder.  There are no local woodturning clubs that I can find - so far.  I'll keep looking.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Should I buy a scraper?
Reply #4 - Apr 17th, 2022 at 5:01pm
 
Andrew

I hope  our posts were not too discouraging.  Unfortunately, learning to turn wood is something like learning to cook.  One can make some meals with just a good stove; and an inexpensive skillet, general purpose knife, and a spatula.  If too thin and/or the wrong metal, the skillet may tend to burn food quickly.
If not sharp, the knife will have trouble making thin tomato slices.  Et cetera.  But that doesn't mean one cannot experiment and learn from some appropriate meals starting out.

You might find reference to a turner near you at a hardware store or wood distributor, but not all tuirners have or practice good tool control, or understand the importance of cutting edge shape as well as sharpness.

Be wary of Youtube videos, as some will show poor or even dangerous practice.  I have always been impressed by the DVD's and books by Richard Raffan, but there is so much there it is important to pay attention to every sentence. I find Youtube videos by a fellow named Brian Havens very instructional, as well as those by Stuart Batty.  These are not all project videos, but sometimes instructional ones are more educational.
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Andrew Cooper
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Re: Should I buy a scraper?
Reply #5 - Apr 18th, 2022 at 3:49pm
 
Don

Thank you so much for taking so much time to add this detail to what has been said before. Discouraging? Not at all, quite the opposite.

I am a very practical person who over many years has learned new skills - I recently completely restored a Lister D stationary engine and I've been building, for about three years, a model railway using the new digital control systems. Both of these ongoing projects have taken considerable time. Yes, because of budget - you have to save a bit and do a bit - but also because learning new skills takes time, sometimes a lifetime!

In time I am sure I will learn what techniques and tool combinations work for me in woodturning - but patience is required and I do understand that. I have already turned three or four bowls which I am quite pleased with for first efforts. I've attached a picture of one.

Thanks again for all the support and positive advice.
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Don Stephan
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Re: Should I buy a scraper?
Reply #6 - Apr 18th, 2022 at 6:43pm
 
The seller of your lathe likely can give you the names of some in your area who have purchased the same lathe in the last few years.  If necessary, start your own turning group!
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robo_hippy
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Re: Should I buy a scraper?
Reply #7 - Apr 20th, 2022 at 11:31am
 
Well, a round nose scraper, or 'inside' scrapers are very commonly used for flattening out the bottom of a bowl. I have one video, 'Scary Scrapers' on You Tube which shows how to use them. Essentially, they work far better on the bottom of the bowl than they do in the transition and up the sides of the bowl. Another video is 'Shear Scraping' which is how I finish cut the outside of the bowl, and the transition and up the walls of the bowl. I do have another video about flattening the bottom of the bowl for those days when the gouges are not working correctly..... Most of my videos are dedicated to bowl turning. Another tool that is being used a lot is the negative rake scraper (NRS). This is a 'clean up' type tool. It works better in denser woods, and not so well on softer woods. I have yet to do that video....

If you get one scraper, get a round nose. If you get a couple of scrapers, my second one would be an 'inside' scraper, which has a short some what flat section across the nose, then at least a half round section, kind of swept back to the left side. I explain all that in my videos.

Have fun! Oh, where are you?

robo hippy
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Andrew Cooper
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Re: Should I buy a scraper?
Reply #8 - May 13th, 2022 at 12:21pm
 
Thanks for all of the advice so far. Been very busy lately but now got some time for turning. I am in Warminster in SW of UK.
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« Last Edit: May 13th, 2022 at 12:22pm by Andrew Cooper »  
 
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David Moeller
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Re: Should I buy a scraper?
Reply #9 - May 13th, 2022 at 1:04pm
 
Back when I was beginning I had access to a bunch of worn out files so I made a couple of scrapers. Because of their hardness they held an edge and worked well. THEN when working deep in a bowl I felt a flex in my palm. Luckily it didn't shatter and slash my hand. NO FILES. They can snap like glass. Embarrassed MOE
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« Last Edit: May 13th, 2022 at 1:15pm by David Moeller »  

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Don Stephan
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Re: Should I buy a scraper?
Reply #10 - May 13th, 2022 at 6:22pm
 
You might enjoy the free Youtube videos Richard Raffan has made available.  Don't recall if he uses scrapers in those videos, but likely.
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