Sandvik Cabinet Scraper
Before the advent of sandpaper woodworkers relied on scrapers. In today's woodworking industries, air driven sanders have become the norm. No one in the industry would dispute the quality of a hand scraped surface over a sanded one, however, it is not always practical.
When we are dealing with violins the scraper is an important tool. If you are making a violin the finale step before finishing will be scraping. You will enhance the look of the wood with scraping as opposed to sanding. No matter how fine the sanding is, the sanding scratches will show up under the varnish.
There are basically two types of scrapers used in violin making and repair. The cabinet scraper and the flexible scraper. The cabinet scraper usually has a straight edge about a mm thick. The cabinet scraper I use most often is the Sandvik scraper, pictured above. It is made of high quality Swedish steel and hold's an edge well. I have included a link that you could purchase it from, however, look around the net to find other sources if you like. The thinner flexible scraper is around .012 -.015 thick with a 45 degree beveled edge. The flexible scraper works good on curved surfaces top, backs, necks and fingerboards were it can be bent to fit the curves.
The materials most often used for scrapers is high carbon steel . The industry standard Rockwell hardness scale would roughly be C50. This will work good because it is not too hard and will be easy to set a proper hook on the edge of the scraper.
The scrapers are honed on a water stone to sharpen the edges. Being of a softer metal scrapers tend to develop a wire edge when they are sharpened. This is not desirable. This wire edge must be taken off, beginners tend to think that the wire edge is what is needed. Do not use it for scraping.