Card scrapers are usually sold as rectangles or squares. What has been lost to time is that the woodworker is supposed to shape the tool to his or her needs – much like the cutting edge of a jack plane or smoothing plane.
So woodworkers of the last 50 or 60 years have found ways to make a rectangular scraper work. Most of us bow the tool with our thumbs to present a curved cutting edge to the wood, much like a cambered iron of a smoothing plane. This works, but at great expense to the thumbs. Many woodworkers with arthritis have had to give up on this tool entirely.
In 2018, Welsh chairmaker Chris Williams taught his first class in the United States and brought along his card scraper, which was gently curved along both edges and had a second accelerated curve at the corners. The tool worked brilliantly on flat and curved surfaces. And you didn’t need to bend the tool with your thumbs.
In "Welsh Stick Chairs," chairmaker John Brown wrote this about scrapers, "When they come from the shop they are oblong, square-sided. For this kind of work the edges need grinding to a gentle curve. It’s a most pleasing business using a scraper."
I made a copy of Chris’s scraper and have been working with it daily since. As a bonus, woodworkers with arthritis are able to use this shape with great ease. After six months I knew that Crucible should offer a version of it. The result is the Crucible Card Scraper, which has the following features:
• It is made from 1095 spring steel that has been hardened and tempered to a Rockwell (C) hardness of 48 to 51. This hardness makes it easy to turn a hook with a standard burnisher (though carbide is always the superior choice for a burnisher) and the hook lasts plenty long.
• The faces are polished and blued for rust-resistance.
• The scraper is cut to shape using waterjet for precision and to preserve the hardness of the steel. Then the tool’s edges are hand ground and polished to make the tool easy to set up and maintain.
• The scraper comes with a magnet, which acts as a heat sink while scraping, making the tool comfortable to use for long periods.
• The tool is supplied with a heavy paper envelope that is perfect for storing the scraper, protecting its edges while it’s sitting in your tool chest or cabinet.
Like all Crucible products, the Crucible Card Scraper is made entirely in the United States using domestic materials and processes. You can, of course, simply grind your current card scraper to a similar shape and achieve the same results. If that’s your inclination – godspeed to you. Our scraper is intended for woodworkers who want a scraper that’s ready to go with only a light honing of the edges and the final hook turned – a five-minute process.
Video: How to Sharpen a Curved Card Scraper