H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
- Jul 2, 2014
A couple weeks ago I saw Mike Walton's (Ulma Doctor) request on HM for people interested in a scraping party and sent him an email saying hell yes, I am interested! Mike got back to me and said that there wasn't much interest in the scraping party, but perhaps I could come down to his shop and do some one on one, hands-on training. He didn't need to ask twice...
We were able to get together today and I thought others might be interested in what kinds of things we were doing there.
First, Mike showed me around his shop. I lost count of machines after about 4 mills and maybe 6 lathes, along with a lot of other cool stuff. In Mike's defense, in case his wife sees this, some of the lathes and mills were small ones. And I thought I had it bad. 8^)
Next, we got started on scraping. Mike showed me all the tools of the trade he had and described their usage. We put some spotting dye on a surface plate, and rolled it out. Then he marked up our first victim, the bottom of a old V-block that had seen better days.
After reading the spots together Mike showed me how to use the Biax power scraper to work the surface, then stoned it and cleaned it. And then we started on the next pass. This time it was MY turn to hold the weapon with MY finger on the trigger. It was, quite simply, no big deal. The Biax tool is well behaved, pretty easy to hold on to and to control scraping of the work, even for this raw beginner. It is also quite productive with experienced hands on it.
We rinsed, lathered, and repeated until the V-block was flat and had quite a few points, with only the corners needing more work.
Then we moved to hand scraping with several different tools. For a victim this time I was using the Harbor Freight plane that Mike had purchased new for about $8 and had worked the bottom of it to a very nice surface. I got to work on one of the sides of that plane and worked it through quite a few scraping cycles with Mike keeping an eye on me while working his own projects. Above is a pic of it after my last pass. There is a smudge on it from my thumb, and the extreme front has no spots because the plane has a very low area there that I was not able to get completely scraped level in the allotted time. It is in no way finished but is well on its way for Mike to complete.
Scraping is a mellow, zen like activity. Go through the cycles, read the spots, interpret them, and improve the work as much as you can while making very shallow cuts where indicated. Repeat, repeat, and keep on repeating. The progress is visible and rewarding. When the work is becoming quite flat it feels different, and slides on the surface plate like wet glass. It is not instant gratification, which can be a good thing.
Mike is a quite capable instructor, friendly, easy going, happy, and glad to be doing and helping. Helluva nice guy, too. I'm planning to go back for more real soon.