1) Submitted by
David T., from Cypress, CA
Ah, scrapers. I bear no more love for sanding, I imagine, than any other woodworker! it's a necessary chore, but tedious, dusty and frequently noisy. Did I mention that it's tedious and dusty? Scrapers eliminate 90% of that. Yes, you read right, 90%. Scrapers cut much faster than any sandpaper, but leave a very fine, tearout free surface on hardwoods. I haven't needed to buy a sheet of sandpaper coarser than #220 in nearly ten years, except for turning jobs on the lathe! Once you learn how to sharpen a scraper properly, you'll be producing fluffy shavings in no time, and wondering why you never tried this sooner. (I recommend learning to do sharpen a scraper freehand: it's not really so demanding that you would need a fancy jig, and if you do it wrong, it's no great loss, just re-file the edge again) If you're an "old timer," you may remember the very fine Sandvik brand scrapers of the 1980s and 1990s. These are the same thing, but under a different brand name. Top quality Swedish steel, precision-ground faces and edges (no rounded, punched blanks here), and a protective sleeve to keep your edges sharp in the drawer or toolbox between uses make this one of the finest scrapers on the market, and at a bargain price too! If anything, the only thing I could find to complain about is the fact that these scrapers do not come in a selection of thicknesses from which to choose. Sometimes you want a thinner, more delicate and flexible tool and sometimes you need a heavier, stiffer, slower-to-heat-up-and-burn-your-fingers tool. With that said, I have found the Crown scrapers in the 3-piece set to be a little thicker and stiffer, but if you use them to strip off an old finish, you'd still better wear gloves or you'll fry your fingers.
5) Submitted by
Geo Conner, from NY, NY
Bahco tools are all top notch and this is no exception. The Swiss steel is superb and exactly the right hardness for fast honing and retaining a working burr. I have several of them and prefer them to more expensive "boutique" brands. I still have the first one I got 35 years ago and it has proved it worth through and through. This is one of those tools that deserves a TEN rating because it is: so versatile, so small and light, so easy-to-use, so incredibly long-lasting, produces such great results with minimal effort and is such an incredible VALUE! Keep your eye out for Bahco products! Their chisels are great too!