When Jacques Pépin began work as a chef in France at the age of thirteen, one of his first tasks was to scrape flesh off of the bones of cooked pieces of meat. Said scraps were then made into rillettes, pates, terrines, and other meat paste delicacies. Then the bones were used for stock. Waste not, want not.
The same sense of economy makes me a huge fan of scrapers. Sandpaper is expensive, and a disposable product as well. The fact that sander dust is a carcinogen doesn’t help the comparison. A scraper which is the cost of a few packs of sandpaper can do literally thousands of scrapping jobs.
Here are three models of scrapers. The big green machine on the lower left is a Kunz #12, a near exact copy of the old Stanley #12. This German made edition is ideal for larger jobs, like the Walnut table top I am currently refinishing. The list price is a hefty $169, but I found this one on flea bay for $25. Being a miser has its advantages. The design is circa 1870, which was the heyday of hand tool design.
Directly above that is the classic Stanley #80 cabinet scraper. This flea market purchase was only a couple of bucks, and these things literally never wear out. The #80 has a more sensitive adjustment mechanism the the #12, and is capable of doing very fine work.
The most versatile of scrapers is the Stanley #82 on the right, which can use any size or shape scraper blade. The current blade in use is the classic Bahco (Sandvick) Swedish card scraper. The #82 will prove very handy when I start my upcoming chair seat carving projects.
When primitive man scraped meat off of animal bones, did they make terrines out of it? Doubtful. However, they certainly used scrapers as one of the earliest tools. They were also barely scraping by.