I filed scrapers today, preparing for new work this coming week. I generally sharpen four at once because they get hot and I never liked anything but my fingers, thumbs and the heels of my hands on the steel. They get hot on large surfaces like tabletops so with 16 cutting edges to work with I can rotate them corner for corner and one for the next and my hands keep cool. Cabinet scrapers are different tools that work well but less sensitive and better suite to heavier work and for keeping closer tolerances of surface flatness. Mostly I like using the cabinet scraper for heavier cuts too, even though it works well for closer, refined work when newly sharpened. I like sensing the cutting edge in response to the grain changing beneath the turned edge. I shift to refine my movements second by second, and trace the side of my hand on the surface to guide me according to textures I feel. Here I lift and lower the angle in search of cuts that shift according to the grain. The cuts slice and resist by degrees and I flex with the sensing of change. How diverse this thing called grain but without the scraper I would always be lost because when bevel ups and bevel downs lose it the scraper surely cools it.
In case you are still searching for good flat files of quality I wanted to tell you about quality files I have used on and off for years now. Nope, don’t wind me up, their not Nicholson any more. They are pretty bad as files go—about the worst, and well past their sell-by date these days. I use Bahco files mostly because after Nicholson sold out on the US and stopped making files of lasting quality I went back to European Oberg files. Nicholson used to be almost as good until recent years. For scrapers I use files with 40-44 teeth per inch or there abouts, 10” and 12” long by Bahco Oberg. I think that they are wonderful. I sharpened hard scrapers and softer ones in the four I did today and the Bahco files I used never faltered one bit. I filed square across and then draw-filed and those spirals just peeled off like ribbons in long spirals, leaving almost no burr.Three strokes per edge and I peeled down to 16 pristine square corners in under a few minutes. I like Bahco files because they are made by a Portugese Company and certainly have proven one of the best file manufacturers in Europe. The files are hard and flat. Two good qualities needed for filing scrapers.