Cabinet scraper, which we are talking about, is just a piece of solid steel with the properly prepared edge. What’s especially important, it allows the craftsman to remove small amount of wood, being very helpful when it comes to the precision requiring works. It can be used in two ways – being pulled or pushed. The angle between the steel plate and wood is crucial for the efficiency of work.
As a beginner in the bow making world, I’ve been struggling with issues related with the tillering process. What has to be emphasized, I was using a draw knife to all kind of works – from a raw piece of wood to finished product. Working on the bend of the stave, willing to correct the profile, often I’ve been removing too much material. It was leading to creating weak spots, which were taking too much bend in the new places, one after another. The final result of such a process was a light and not really well tillered bow.
Getting my first cabinet scraper was a true game changer for me. Once I’ve learned how to use it, which hasn't taken me very long, I’ve instantly got much more control on what I do. Finally, I could remove material slowly and precisely. Moreover, the outcome not only was a better build, but also a much better looker. Scraper leaves the wood surface smooth and polished. Even on spots like knots or grain bumps. The effect of its use is so nice, that often no additional sanding is needed.
For the proper use, the scraper has to be sharpened correctly. I’m still having issues with it, so I’m not going to teach you about it. I’d like to recommend here Swiftwood Bows video on this topic. For sure, it’s worth to learn how to do it, as it’s a precious skill that can spare a lot of time. Usually, once well sharpened scraper is enough to complete all required works on single project for me, so It’s not that much of maintenance works needed in my opinion.
What’s worth mentioning, there are different types of scrapers which vary in shape. These with rounded edges are especially helpful in chasing the grain on character staves, which often have many convex and concave spots on its surface that can’t be properly treated with a draw knife. Moreover, rounded scrapers, gooseneck type for example, are an excellent choice if you’re planning to build a hollow limb bow. On such a project, these are crucial when it comes to finishing the surface of hollowed limbs.
The most basic and crucial scraper I recommend every bowyer to get is a simple rectangular card scraper. For more advanced bow builders, rounded scrapers will be helpful too.