So, it seems, there are times when you need a scraper. Sets of turning tools include scrapers, and there are times in spindle turning when you're glad to have them. Perhaps when turning a boxwood flute you need a sharp corner. The scraper works brilliantly on box and other very hard woods—if it's sharp and held at the proper angle to the surface.
It's the burr on the edge that does the cutting, and some scrapers take a decent one just from the grinding. The bevel angle of a scraper is about 60 degrees, and the top face is flat. You can also sharpen the scraper with a turned burr after honing smooth the bevel and the top. Set the scraper upright in the vise and pull a rounded steel burnisher, perhaps the back of a gouge, across it. Scrapers made from old files need considerable force to turn the edge.
I have gone on about never using a chisel or gouge as a scraper, but the inverse is more dangerous. Scrapers are intended to drag lightly across the surface—the handle end up and the cutting end down. Pointing a scraper up into the wood can make it catch and go flying. Worse, it could snap the brittle scraper and put your eye out. Keep your scrapers sharp and work with a light touch.
Scrapers also finish the job in plate and bowl turning. I do not have face plates on my lathes, but most items that call for a turned plate also include a
shaft. These are things like small tables, candlestands, and such. In these cases, it's easy to mount the disc on the shaft and turn it between centers. For bowls, use a spike mandrel driven into the face of a hewn blank. The mandrel gives room to work the bowl between centers, and in the case of the spring-pole lathe, gives the drive cord something to grasp.
Bowl turning with scrapers would take forever—so gouges do most of the work. In bowl work, you're cutting across the grain, against the grain, and with the grain on every turn. On the convex face, work with the bevel of the gouge rubbing as you work from the bottom to the rim. The long axis of the gouge always rides close to a tangent of the surface that you're cutting. On the inside face, you're cutting the inside walls of a doughnut shape. Again, the bevel rides the tangent of the curve. Turn the bowl by hand in the lathe and find the angle where the gouge shears the wood without digging in. You can turn with that.
The central core stays in the bowl after the first turning, because the wood is still green at this point. Now it has to dry, shrink, and harden up before it can go back in the lathe for the final turning, including a finish with the scrapers. It's all up to you, though. You can turn bowls at one go in fresh-cut wood and let the distortion from the uneven shrinkage be part of the charm. Or you can just roughly round the bowl blank and set it aside to dry before any real shaping begins. The green wood is heavier, but easier to cut, and easier on your edges.
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There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.