I’m not sure how many woodworkers know about Benchcrafted’s Skraper. It’s a cool tool that does what it sounds like it would, but it’s construction is not obvious. It has a nice comfortably sized wooden handle, with a 1/8″ thick steel shank attached. It sounds like that could be the end of the construction, but wait, it has a precision ground solid carbide double edge blade on the tip of the steel shank. If you are at all familiar with anything else Benchcrafted builds, you won’t be surprised how overbuilt their Skraper is, too.
I’ve had one of their Skrapers on my workbench for a couple of years. I leave it out in plain sight, so it’s readily accessible, since it works so well.
I’ve used it while building a side table, multiple hand-cut dovetailed boxes and most recently during my not yet complete Les Paul guitar copy. It’s amazing how what seems like such a simple design, can be so useful.
If you haven’t yet tried one, make sure to stop by the Benchcrafted booth, at one of their hand tool events. I think you’ll wonder why you don’t have one in your kit.
I’ve enjoyed making pieces with hand-cut dovetails for many years. When I first started out, I used my chisels to gradually evacuate the wood between the tails and pins. After using this technique on a couple of pieces, I recognized just how much time I seemed to be wasting. I shifted over to using coping saws, but it was hard to find blades thin enough to readily fit down into the kerf left by my dovetail saw. From there, I moved to a fret saw, as they have blades that easily fit into the kerf, but I had a hard time finding any frames that held the blades rigid enough. After snapping blade after blade, I was wondering if there was anything that would do what I needed.
Enter Knew Concepts Fret Saws. I ordered one of their 5″ Aluminum versions. I used it for a couple of weeks, and it really surprised me just how well it worked. Not a single broken blade. One of my friends, Chris Schwarz, had one of the 5″ Titanium versions, and let me try it, so I could compare the two properly. After using the aluminum version, and with me rating it so high, I didn’t think there could be enough difference to warrant the titanium version. Am I glad Chris let me try his saw. The titanium and aluminum versions were like night and day, relating to rigidity, while the weight was very similar. The titanium version is 5.2oz vs. 4.9oz for the aluminum version. Oh, and for anyone curious, I now have the titanium version in my kit.
|Titanium 5″ Saw|
|Aluminum 5″ Saw|
It sounds like that would be the end of the story, and I’d have purchased their saws even if there were no additional features, beyond their super rigid frames. But Knew Concepts still have much more to offer. They have a cam-lever that both applies and/or releases the tension on the blade, with a very short throw. Next are the blade clamps, which have three positions: 90 degrees which is oriented like most fret/coping saws, 45 degrees Left and 45 degrees Right. With the 90 degree orientation, a wide board will limit just how far in from the edge it will work, before the distance to the saw frame prevents any further work. The 45 degree orientation allows the blade to cut on the tail shoulder line, while the frame is tilted up enough to prevent it from contacting the board, no matter how wide. With the two different 45 degree settings, it works equally as well for Right-handed as Left-handed woodworkers.
The most recent update is adding exotic wood handles, via Elkhead Tools. They are offering handles made from cocobolo and I have to say they are beautiful. I may just have to add one to my new titanium addition. I guess time will tell.
|Cocobolo handle on Aluminum Saw|
Let me know if you have any questions.