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World's Greatest Plastic Scraper Sharpener

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
This is my first post, so before I start asking questions, seeking favors, and generally making a nuisance of myself, I thought I would try to add something to the mix.

I have been pretty unhappy with my efforts to sharpen my plastic scrapers. Until this morning, whence I was thumped in the head by the obvious.

I have some woodworking tools. Nothing fancy, but I learned to sharpen them before I learned to sharpen skis. So this morning I tried using one of my hand planes (a fairly cheap one, nothing special) to sharpen my scraper edges. Rather than try to work the plane over the blade, I fixed the plane bottom-side-up in a bench vice, and ran the scraper over fixed blade.

Voila.

Better than new.

Hope someone finds this helpful. I have gained plenty from what I've read here.

Cheers.
post #2 of 23
Welcome and let us know what else you come up with.
post #3 of 23
I recently saw a professional machine advertised to re-sharpen plastic scraper blades. It was quite expensine but it made me realize that people do recycle their plastic blades rather then spend 3 to 5 dollars or more to buy new ones.

Since then, I have been wondering how I might re-sharpen my blades using the wood working equipment I already own.

Reading your post suddenly brought to mind another possibility.

I have a table saw with a side extension table. I have built a router into this extension table which allows a bit to pop-up through a hole in the table top. I can slide my saw fence over and normally use the fence along with an additional spacer to allow the router to work as a shaper.

It just occurred to me that I could also slide the ski scraper blade along the fence and let the router bit trim off a new edge.

With the scraper blade being only about 3" wide, I will have to be careful not to let my fingers come close to the spinning bit. Keeping the bit as low as possible above the table surface will minimize the risk and so would building a holder (like a push rod, only much wider) that would grab the plastic blade and allow one's hand to be distanced from the scraper blade while it is pushed along the fence.

The challenge would be to take off the minimum amount of plastic material so that the router bit doesn't stall while cutting and cause the scraper blade to skew out of allignment.

I once used my 80 tooth table saw blade to renew the scraper's edge, but I think a router bit spinning at 25,000 rpm will do a better job. In either case, we are talking about getting a narrow piece of work to slide along a fence with the cutting teeth only 3 inches away from the fence.
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by montreal View Post
I recently saw a professional machine advertised to re-sharpen plastic scraper blades. It was quite expensine but it made me realize that people do recycle their plastic blades rather then spend 3 to 5 dollars or more to buy new ones.

Since then, I have been wondering how I might re-sharpen my blades using the wood working equipment I already own.

Reading your post suddenly brought to mind another possibility.

I have a table saw with a side extension table. I have built a router into this extension table which allows a bit to pop-up through a hole in the table top. I can slide my saw fence over and normally use the fence along with an additional spacer to allow the router to work as a shaper.

It just occurred to me that I could also slide the ski scraper blade along the fence and let the router bit trim off a new edge.

With the scraper blade being only about 3" wide, I will have to be careful not to let my fingers come close to the spinning bit. Keeping the bit as low as possible above the table surface will minimize the risk and so would building a holder (like a push rod, only much wider) that would grab the plastic blade and allow one's hand to be distanced from the scraper blade while it is pushed along the fence.

The challenge would be to take off the minimum amount of plastic material so that the router bit doesn't stall while cutting and cause the scraper blade to skew out of allignment.

I once used my 80 tooth table saw blade to renew the scraper's edge, but I think a router bit spinning at 25,000 rpm will do a better job. In either case, we are talking about getting a narrow piece of work to slide along a fence with the cutting teeth only 3 inches away from the fence.
That would work, but because the router bit is rotary, it would leave lots of tiny little grooves. I don't know if those grooves would be too small to matter, but they would be there.

The beauty of a plane blade is that it slices in one long motion, rather than cuts in little chips. But I'd be curious to see how it works for you.
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsandkings View Post
This is my first post, so before I start asking questions, seeking favors, and generally making a nuisance of myself, I thought I would try to add something to the mix.

I have been pretty unhappy with my efforts to sharpen my plastic scrapers. Until this morning, whence I was thumped in the head by the obvious.

I have some woodworking tools. Nothing fancy, but I learned to sharpen them before I learned to sharpen skis. So this morning I tried using one of my hand planes (a fairly cheap one, nothing special) to sharpen my scraper edges. Rather than try to work the plane over the blade, I fixed the plane bottom-side-up in a bench vice, and ran the scraper over fixed blade.

Voila.

Better than new.

Hope someone finds this helpful. I have gained plenty from what I've read here.

Cheers.
Take it one step further make a fence at 90 degrees to your plane that way you can ensure that your edge is true.
post #6 of 23
Makita 4 1/2" angle grinder does it for me. Not a perfect edge, but sharp, and good enough for wax scraping.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by foolsandkings View Post
That would work, but because the router bit is rotary, it would leave lots of tiny little grooves. I don't know if those grooves would be too small to matter, but they would be there.

The beauty of a plane blade is that it slices in one long motion, rather than cuts in little chips. But I'd be curious to see how it works for you.

When I once passed my plastic scraper through the table saw with the 80 tooth melamine cutting blade, I was left with microgroves lined up on the diagonal along the edge, and therefore creating a serated scraping edge, because there is this minimum angle at which the saw teeth strike the material.

With the router bit, I would not have the grooves, if any, on a bias. If there are any grooves, they would be in parallel with the edge. And the cleanness of the cut would depend on how perfect the cutting edge of the router bit is, which I think is better then the teeth on my saw blade.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by XJguy View Post
Take it one step further make a fence at 90 degrees to your plane that way you can ensure that your edge is true.
I have seen motorized edge planers which provide a fence at 90 degrees so that as you move the wood across the rotating cutter blade, you get a perfect 90 degree angle.

Just like with the above example of moving a plastic scraper blade across a hand planer that has been turned upside down (with or without a fence), the challenge is to get the scraper blade edge to slide along the flat metal surface of the plane so that it never rocks. This is relative easy with long pieces of wood, but with a 6" long piece of plastic?

That means the scraper must be held by two hands, one at each end as it is slid along and after half of the length has crossed the cutting blade, the pressure from between the two hands has to be shifted so that the scraper remains perfectly parallel to the metal surface.

With my router setup, I would not have this same challenge because once I place the scraper against the fence, all I have to do is slide it through without having to shift pressure at any point.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
Makita 4 1/2" angle grinder does it for me. Not a perfect edge, but sharp, and good enough for wax scraping.
With an angle grinder or a bench grinder, as long as you can bring most of the edge of the plastic scraper in contact with the abrasive wheel at the same time, you should get a resulting clean edge.

Removing wax from a ski usually takes several passes, so even if a scraping blade has a non-perfect edge, you are bound to eventually pull off all the wax you need.

What residual wax doesn't get removed by a scraper blade will be removed by abrasive snow after one run. Polishing with a cork or fiberene paper will also redistribute any residual wax left over after scraping.

Given that base structuring is designed to place microgrooves in the ski base, I have to wonder if you angle grinder might be creating for you a useful scraper that puts desirable "texture" in your ski base.
post #10 of 23

World's *Simplest* Plastic Scraper Sharpener

Is a mill bastard file with scraper held firmly in a vise.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkMountainSkier View Post
Is a mill bastard file with scraper held firmly in a vise?
I've done that before, but with a metal scraping blade. I believe it puts a burr type lip on the metal edge which intentionally allows the blade to remove more material than if no burr existed.

The burr can be removed with a rubber gummy block.

With a plastic scraper blade, I don't think you would have a burr.

Mill bastard files are available in coarse or fine. The fine type has a cross hatch pattern, the coarse type has grooves only on one diagonal.

The thicker the plastic scraper, the more easy it is to hold it perpendicular while passing it over the file.
post #12 of 23
Try a fine, stop and and brush the plastic filings out of the grooves very often, every few strokes.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by montreal View Post
With an angle grinder or a bench grinder, as long as you can bring most of the edge of the plastic scraper in contact with the abrasive wheel at the same time, you should get a resulting clean edge.

Removing wax from a ski usually takes several passes, so even if a scraping blade has a non-perfect edge, you are bound to eventually pull off all the wax you need.

What residual wax doesn't get removed by a scraper blade will be removed by abrasive snow after one run. Polishing with a cork or fiberene paper will also redistribute any residual wax left over after scraping.

Given that base structuring is designed to place microgrooves in the ski base, I have to wonder if you angle grinder might be creating for you a useful scraper that puts desirable "texture" in your ski base.
Dunno whether the angle grinder helps as far as structuring the base, but I just use it because it's very fast. My scrapers get dull after 1-2 pair of skis. With the grinder, it takes about 10 seconds to sharpen a scraper. I tried using a file -- took too long.
post #14 of 23
I use a Kunzmann Scraper Re-conditioner - a few passes before each pair of skis gives excellent results. I also do all my scraping with the same side of the scraper until the wax is pretty much fully removed & then switch the scraper around for one/two passes using a fresh sharp edge for final scrape.
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by spyderjon View Post
I use a Kunzmann Scraper Re-conditioner - a few passes before each pair of skis gives excellent results. I also do all my scraping with the same side of the scraper until the wax is pretty much fully removed & then switch the scraper around for one/two passes using a fresh sharp edge for final scrape.
Nice Web Page, spyderjon.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by spyderjon View Post
I use a Kunzmann Scraper Re-conditioner - a few passes before each pair of skis gives excellent results. I also do all my scraping with the same side of the scraper until the wax is pretty much fully removed & then switch the scraper around for one/two passes using a fresh sharp edge for final scrape.
At first, your device reminded me of those knife sharpening devices where you draw the knife between parallel rows of sharpening disks, and the friction removes the metal in the right place so the edge is sharp.

I was looking for a motor that turns your carbide bit in your re-sharpener's jig, but now I understand that your carbide blade does not spin, but rather shears off plastic creating a new edge on the scraper.

Your's uses the same principle as the upside down wood working hand plane mentioned above, and adds a fence to assure that the cut is perpendicular.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
Dunno whether the angle grinder helps as far as structuring the base, but I just use it because it's very fast. My scrapers get dull after 1-2 pair of skis. With the grinder, it takes about 10 seconds to sharpen a scraper. I tried using a file -- took too long.
What is the diameter of your grinding disk and is the disk surface flat or slightly hollowed out?

Ideally, the disk should be flat and large enough so that your scraper blade does not rock in any axis as you draw it across the disk while grinding.
post #18 of 23
I had better luck trying a surf form planer than a hand planer (needs sharpening, though), For speed, simplicity and versatility, a body/panzer file in a bench vise works great. The body file can also be used for base repair and base/edge flattening.
post #19 of 23
It's hard to beat a pass over a woodworking jointer to refresh the square edge on a plexiglass scraper. Easily adjusted depth of cut, and the 90 degree fence is right there. Follow up with a stroke or two with a vixen (((((
file and everything is good.

Confessions of a tool whore

CalG
post #20 of 23
I'd probably also use my jointer if the switch worked.

A clamped power planer is another option (be careful), as would bench, belt sander or drum sander with a fence and fine grit.
post #21 of 23
I hesitate to keep prolonging this. But I don't see what these cool power tools can do beyond a file and a vise and a true bar. You use a true bar to check the flatness of your skis, and you can use that same true bar to check how flat and true a file made the edge of a scraper. Any irregularities will be readily visible, and you file a few more times to get it right.

But maybe this is discounting the 'real men love to play with cool power tools' effect. I don't have any, but I wish I did!
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkMountainSkier View Post
I hesitate to keep prolonging this. But I don't see what these cool power tools can do beyond a file and a vise and a true bar. You use a true bar to check the flatness of your skis, and you can use that same true bar to check how flat and true a file made the edge of a scraper. Any irregularities will be readily visible, and you file a few more times to get it right.

But maybe this is discounting the 'real men love to play with cool power tools' effect. I don't have any, but I wish I did!
I have all those cool power tools, but I just use a fine file. I leave it on my bench, and when I need to sharpen my plastic scraper, I take the wax off with a metal scraper, then just run it over the file a couple of times. It files the length of the scaper at the same time, so no need to worry about putting an uneven edge on it, and who cares if it's not 90 degrees, if it's 88 degrees, it still scrapes evenly.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElkMountainSkier View Post
But I don't see what these cool power tools can do beyond a file and a vise and a true bar..........But maybe this is discounting the 'real men love to play with cool power tools' effect. I don't have any, but I wish I did!
Often, less is more. Removing wax is a less critical operation then removing plastic, so if the wax scraping tool is not perfect and some parts of the ski base have a slightly thicker layer of wax than others, then the high spots can be leveled somewhat using a cork or fiberene polishing paper.

When passing a scraper by hand, back and forth across a flat file held in a vice, the scraper is likely to obtain a straight line over the length of the scraper's edge.

Depending on how thick the scraper is, a perfect 90 degree corner between adjacent faces, may be harder to obtain, not that a perfect 90 degree corner is necessarily important in removing wax.

What is important is that the scraper be sharp enough so that it can do the job. Any approach that creates a sharp, but not necessarily a perfectly cubic scraper will suffice as long as no damage is inflicted on the P-TEX base.

Traditionally, machines which shape wood and metal deliver a more predictable outcome, but once and a while, the human hand can deliver the goods as well for far less money.

There was a time when I was very proud of the ski tuning job I could achieve by holding skis in a vice and passing a flat file over the steel edges with just my two hands. Now I use a 88 degree jig and I can't believe how I ever put up with these inferior hand jobs in the past. But removing steel and removing wax are two different stories.
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