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Removing Varnish: Cabinet/Wood Scraper Vs. Spoke Shave Vs. Sandpaper

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by KiwiBloke, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. KiwiBloke

    KiwiBloke

    189
    Oct 2, 2018
    Hey guys what do you personally use to remove factory vanish from a handle?

    Spoke Shave seems to be the most efficient however are expensive and need to be set up correctly to take off just what you need; somebody mentioned they aren't as easy to operate as it seems..

    Cabinet/wood Scraper's seem to do a good job but what do you look for in a good scraper? There are so many makers and all with different price points to me they all look like a piece of square metal? Also another factor is having to buy a burnisher to go with it.

    Sand paper is the most affordable and readily available. Can you achieve the same results with a bit of elbow grease? Other than the obvious downside of going through a lot of paper often the varnish can seep deep into the wood meaning a fair bit of work to be done.

    I was looking at getting a Cabinet scrapper as it seems to be easy enough to function and can also work to shape the shoulder when hanging as well as stripping the varnish; What makes a good scraper then? I am clueless when it comes to choosing something like this. I know you can make them and a lot of you guys do but I would rather purchase my first scraper and make the next one. I have seen scrapers that cost $5 and others that cost $25 made form the same country and supposedly the same type of steel - is the quality really in the price tag or are they all much the same thing? Same goes for Burnishers I see some for $20 and some for $75.. At these prices might as well get a spoke shave and learn how to do it properly.

    So what do you guys use?
     
  2. KiwiBloke

    KiwiBloke

    189
    Oct 2, 2018
    Somebody said take a razor blade to the handle. I will definitely be giving this a go before I buy anything pricey.
     
  3. survivor45

    survivor45

    105
    Feb 15, 2018
    I use a scraper, not only for removing varnish but also shaping the handle and fitting the head.
    You can burnish with the shank of a drill or even the smooth round shank of screwdriver.
    I’d just buy the cheap scraper.
    Or even try making your own out of an old saw blade.
     
  4. KiwiBloke

    KiwiBloke

    189
    Oct 2, 2018
    Thanks for your input :) and good tip on burnishing.
     
  5. jblyttle

    jblyttle Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2014
    I use a scraper, but you can make a good tool by using the spine of a thin knife, a plane iron etc.
     
    Yankee Josh likes this.
  6. Dogdrawz

    Dogdrawz

    453
    Aug 15, 2016
    Steel wool works pretty good, but I never tried to take the varnish that's soaked into the wood completely off.
     
  7. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    A well-kept piece of saw blade will strip lacquer and shape for quite a while.
    You can buy scrapers but you still have to learn to sharpen/burnish them when they dull.
     
    Square_peg and survivor45 like this.
  8. quinton

    quinton

    Nov 4, 2006
    I use a Red Devil paint scraper. I can remove the varnish from a handle in probably a minute, 2 minutes tops.
     
    rjdankert, Square_peg and Agent_H like this.
  9. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Scraper, all day. I use one I made from a machete tip left over from a modification project.
     
    Agent_H likes this.
  10. garry3

    garry3

    Sep 11, 2012
    Yep, card scraper. A knife will also work quite well as a scraper, held at a 90. I think a thicker blade has less chatter. Sky is the limit on what you want to use for a scraper.
     
    FortyTwoBlades and Agent_H like this.
  11. A17

    A17

    510
    Jan 9, 2018
    I use the back of a new-er hacksaw blade personally.
     
    garry3 and Agent_H like this.
  12. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    This is a great tool for this work. Just keep it very sharp. A piece of broken glass does pretty well, too.
     
    BamaDADx3 and quinton like this.
  13. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    691
    Jun 25, 2017
    Sanding, but then again: It's only because I've got a setup of industrial quality. Stil is a lot more messy , but saves time. Scraper works just fine, and if you don't have any tools, it also works with a credit card or anything thats reasonably hard with a straight thin edge.
     
    KiwiBloke likes this.
  14. DB_Cruiser

    DB_Cruiser

    142
    Jul 17, 2018
    I tend to grab a 4 in 1 wood rasp for that if the handle is a new one from the hardware store. I use the course sides for removing the varnish and the finer sides for smoothing out the wood. Then follow with sandpaper. If you're married, don't try this inside the house.
     
  15. KiwiBloke

    KiwiBloke

    189
    Oct 2, 2018
    Hehe thanks for the heads up DB!
     
  16. Moonw

    Moonw

    Nov 19, 2014
    Very coarse (then progressively finer) sandpaper should work, but probably not the most optimal approach :).
     
  17. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    A random orbit sander with 60 or 80 grit paper does a pretty fast job.
     
    Moonw likes this.
  18. Moonw

    Moonw

    Nov 19, 2014
    Utility knife employed as a scraper, in a pich? Or glass?
     
    DB_Cruiser and BamaDADx3 like this.
  19. Beachlogger

    Beachlogger

    239
    Dec 27, 2015
    Someone here posted a video and part of it was the guy put a bottle in a gunnysack and busted it. He the used the pieces to scrape the handle. There were lots of shapes to choose from
     
  20. KiwiBloke

    KiwiBloke

    189
    Oct 2, 2018
    That's genius Beachlogger. I will be trying this before buying anything!
     

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