Product Reviews

Flexcut SK120 Scraper Set

Specifically designed for carvers, these tools make it easy to smooth rough surfaces

Flexcut has designed a new set of scrapers especially for carvers. Scrapers are a popular finishing tool for woodworkers. The adaptations on these tools allow carvers to enjoy the same benefits. The tools fit into Flexcut’s popular SK series of interchangeable handles.

The primary benefit of scrapers is the speed at which they remove wood and the smooth surface they produce. Most cabinet scrapers used by traditional woodworkers have square or gently curved edges, neither of which fit the irregular edges on carvings. The SK120 scrapers come in a variety of profiles that are ideal for these odd shapes.

In its simplest form, a scraper is a piece of hardened steel. A burnisher, made from an even harder piece of steel, is used to “roll” a wire edge or burr over one side of the scraper. The burr forms a sharp cutting edge that produces fine shavings and an extremely smooth surface.

Most cabinet scrapers are thin and can be flexed slightly to control the depth of cut. Some scrapers, such as the ones in a scraper plane, are thicker. The SK120 scrapers fall between the thickness of a scraper plane and a cabinet scraper. You do not need to flex the SK120 scrapers to control the depth of cut.

The harder the wood, the better scrapers work. Scrapers cut deeper in softer woods and the deep cuts often tear the wood. If the scraper cuts too deep, the fine cutting edge breaks away. With a traditional burr on a square edge, the SK120 scrapers work well with woods like cherry, walnut, and maple.

Dave Bennett of Flexcut suggests an alternative method for creating the wire edge when working with softer woods, such as basswood and mahogany. Instead of maintaining a square edge, Dave suggests filing the edges off at a 45° angle. The filing process creates a much larger burr. This burr resists breaking and makes a cleaner cut in the softer woods.

Unfortunately, the larger burr does not produce as smooth a final surface. I recommend using the scraper with the larger burr to remove the majority of the rough surface, then finishing the area with 220-grit sandpaper.

The scrapers come in a variety of profiles useful for most carving applications. If the profile doesn’t quite fit, it is easy to change the shape of the scraper with a file or a diamond bit in a rotary power carver.

The scraper blades fit into all three SK style quick-connect handles. I prefer the SK103 power handle, which is 4½” long, making it easy to use the tools at any angle.

The SK120 six-piece carver scraper set is available for $45.95. You will need one of the three quick-connect SK handles, which cost an additional $13.95. The sets are available at most woodcarving suppliers or directly through Flexcut. To find a a local retailer or to order direct, visit, 800-524-9077.

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