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Honing guides for #80 scrapers

For more information on the #80 Scraper, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.

Sharpening and honing a #80 scraper

There are those who want to sharpen their #80 scrapers and are intimidated by the prospect. It takes a certain confidence to freehand them and I recommend that you use a honing guide to gain ‘feel’ to begin with. You can rehearse as though the guide were not there and in a short time begin total freehand sharpening with confidence.

This cutting iron is now too small to sharpen well.

I usually file off the old edge or edges with a 10″ flat, single-cut file. You can make a 45-degree guide block, clamp it to the blade and file away by allowing the file to ride the block. See drawing below.











As in my case, where the cutting iron is now too small to use, ff you don’t have a cutting iron, you can always make one from a thick hand saw blade, a thick card scraper cut in two or buy a new one.



Clamp the cutting iron in the honing guide and align it to 45-degrees using a combination square to establish the exact angle as shown.




Push the assembly back and forth on the coarse abrasive plate until the entire bevel is established along the full length of the iron and the repeat without altering the setting on both the fine and superfine plates. After that trail the iron along the strop charged with buffing compound and this will give you a pristine polished bevel.

Now consolidate and turn the newly refined edge in the conventional manner with the burnisher.


  1. Chris H on 23 January 2012 at 10:19 am

    A practical question: to make a strop I have a piece of leather, do I stick it to  apiece of wood with the finished or the rough side uppermost?

    • Paul Sellers on 23 January 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Generally, we glue the leather with the rough side up, but if you have have enough leather for to, then make one with the smooth side up and use it not for buffing with compound but simply stropping alone to remove the fine burr from the cutting edge.

  2. Ric on 23 January 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Hello Paul,

    I have just bought your sharpening dvd.
    What an excellent introduction to your no faffing reliable method. I must admit that I got bogged down with micro-bevels and seemed to spend more time with my blades on a stone than cutting wood, thanks for the enlightenment.

    You say you use course, medium and superfine diamond plates for sharpening. Are these the DMT diamond plates? The reason I ask is that I have two of the DMT ones at course and fine and was thinking of getting the equivalent of the one which you call superfine to finish off the trio. Would yours be the same as the DMT description of extrafine? As these things are expensive I would hate to get the wrong one, I would appreciate any guidance please.

    Thanks in anticipation

    • Paul Sellers on 23 January 2012 at 7:07 pm

      I use EZE lap plates in the everyday of life. I have also used DMT plates too. I cannot say if the finest grits are exactly the same but I think the best thing is to get the specs from both companies as they are indeed two separate companies. Sorry for brevity. In the airport about to board my flight. Any problems give me 24 hours and I can respond more fully.

  3. Paul Sellers on 24 January 2012 at 9:22 am

    Thanks for this Eric. When I get home I’ll follow up.

  4. Ric on 24 January 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks Eric. I emailed dmt and ezelap to ask for their advice regards comparisons but have had no response yet.

  5. Anonymous on 25 January 2012 at 5:23 pm

    DMT came back with the following.
    “The DMT extra fine (green) is a 1200 grit/ 9 micron stone. According to Eze Lap their super fine is a 1200 grit and it does not give micron size. Micron means the uniformity of the size diamonds; it does not vary like grits.”Looks like DMT extrafine is the same as Ezelap superfine.

  6. Hendrik Gideonse on 26 April 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Just had my first religious experience with sharpening my #80 cabinet scraper. Not coincidentally this is the first time I used my new DMT hones. Now I get those beautiful long shavings even from the flamed maple table top I am working. Wow!

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