Using Veritas Ball Joint Scrapers On Plank Flooring


Do you know of any resources for learning how to hand scrape and/or hand flute, hardwood plank flooring? I have been looking for hours and can’t find any literature on the craft.


Dear Heather

I’m in the process of re-learning this art myself, when I get some spare time. And nobody I know has ever written about the hand scraping method. And considering it was used on all wood floors up until the turn of the last century, that’s too bad. But I’m sure you can also teach yourself. First is to get the right tools, and www.leevalley will get you started. The Veritas Ball Joint Scrapers prod. #05K21.01 is a copy of the original tool made about 100 years ago.

So that said, once you buy this handled cabinet scraper you will first have to learn how to sharpen it, and buy all the tools to create the delicate curled edge that makes this type of scraper leave such a smooth floor on the first pass. You will need a jointer/edger and a burnisher. And you will have to buy the video or the sharpening book that explains how to create this working edge. All told it will cost about $150. And then spend some time creating that burnished edge and maintaining it. One hint, you should always round the corners of the scraper before you burnish it so that you don’t gouge the flat surface of the floor.

This type of scraper is a whole lot different than the cheap paint scrapers we use to clean up the edger marks and the corners. Cabinet /floor scrapers will literally pull ribbons of wood off the surface, leave the wood smoother than if it was sanded. But the floors will in any case have to be sanded down to 80 grit paper, and edged well. You don’t want to use one of these old tools to take off over-wood like they had to do in the old days. Use it to create a scraped rather than sanded surface.

And far a fluting the boards, I not sure I understand. There are Japanese hand planes that will chamfer and round the edges of boards, and beading hand tools, also in the Lee valley catalog. You could practically learn a new trade just by perusing their wonderful catalog, get one.