Using a Scraping Plane
Make smoothing wood just plane simple. Sand less by tackling tricky wood grains with a scraping plane.
Before sandpaper, craftsmen turned to a scraper when they needed a silkysmooth surface. Today, scrapers still work wonders for taming wild wood grain, and provide you with a welcome break from the noise and dust of sanding.
Unlike handheld card scrapers, a scraping plane requires less effort, especially on large surfaces, and holds the blade at a consistent angle. (It also costs 10 -- 20 times more than a $10 card scraper.)
As with any bench plane, clean cuts depend on a sharp blade, so sharpen a scraping plane blade as you would a conventional plane blade. (For a sharpening system using waterstones you can download the article for $3.00 at woodmagazine.com/sharpen.) As you would with a conventional blade, slightly round over the ends of the bevel to keep the blade from leaving marks with each pass.
Next, form a burr on this sharpened edge. To do this, make a burnisher guide block from a 2"-thick scrap about 6" long and 1/2" wider than the plane blade. Bevel-cut one end at 15° or the angle specified for your plane, as shown, bottom right. Clamp the guide block and blade in a vise -- the blade can be on either side of the block -- with the bevels facing the same way and the blade about 1/64" proud of the block.
With the block as your angle guide, use a burnisher or the hardened shaft of a screwdriver or chisel to roll the burr. Press firmly as you push or pull the burnisher from the center to one edge while simultaneously sliding it diagonally, as shown at right. Then slide the burnisher from the center to the opposite edge. Repeat until you feel an even burr form as the sharp edge rolls over.