Cabinet Scraper Vs. Spokeshave (2024): In-depth Differences

Cabinet scraper and Spokeshave look very similar, but they are very different in what they do. So if you are not fully aware of their differences, you might buy the wrong tool.

That is why it’s mandatory to know about Cabinet Scraper and Spokeshave.

Both are very high-performing woodworking tools. But they have some fundamental differences between them. Besides, both tools are designed for separate usage.

But you can use them interchangeably. However, it is imperative to know their differences. So, let’s begin.

A Quick Comparison Table

If you do not have enough time or patience, a quick comparison table will help you understand their differences at a glimpse. You will understand how they differ with a glance. Moreover, you might end up choosing one between them.

Here’s the quick comparison table between the Cabinet Scraper and Spokeshave:

FeatureCabinet ScraperSpokeshave
What it isA flat, rectangular piece of steel with a finely sharpened edge used to smooth and scrape wooden surfacesA small woodworking hand plane designed for smoothing concave or convex surfaces and working in tight spaces
Best forScraping off glue, paint, varnish from flat surfaces, final surface smoothingShaping chair parts, instrument bodies, oars, wheel rims, any curved surface
Cutting edgeSingle sharp 90 degree edgeAdjustable dual bevel blade
Control/operationPulled towards user with pressure applied evenly across bladePushed/pulled with grip around handles
VersatilityLimited – best for flat surfacesVery high – can shape variety of curves and angles
FinishLeaves finer surface than sandpaper if used properlyLeaves finely smoothed surface but not as refined as cabinet scraper
Ease of useDifficult – requires learning scraping techniqueModerate – bit tricky on highly curved surfaces
CostVery affordableMid-range pric

Key Difference Between Cabinet Scraper And Spokeshave  

Cabinet Scrapers for Woodworking

Cabinet Scraper is a woodworking tool used for shaping woods and finishing. They work like sandpaper and can give flatwood surfaces a nice and smooth finishing.

The location of the blade and the body shape are different from a Spokeshave.

A Spokeshave is also a woodworking hand tool used for shaving and carving woods in the desired shape. It works like a specialty plane tool that can shape wood by removing small slithers and smoothing them. It is smaller in size and specially designed for working with curve woods.

Let’s look at some of the key differences between Cabinet Scraper and Spokeshave:

  • Applications

Cabinet Scraper is a mandatory tool used for shaping and removing small amounts of materials while working on wood. Besides, this tool can remove any tear-out and marks caused by machines.

Cabinet Scraper is an essential and versatile tool for making cabinets.

On the other hand, you can use Spokeshave for many precise applications related to curving any wooden surfaces. It works best on curved surfaces, but you can also use it on flat surfaces.

But you might not get a fast result from Spokeshave on plain surfaces. However, it is mainly used for making chairs, canoe paddles, and bows.

  • Material

You can tell how good a product is from its materials. It also determines how sturdy and durable a particular product would be.

As for Cabinet Scraper, High Carbon Steel makes it very firm, sturdy, and durable.

On the contrary, you will get both metal and wooden Spokeshaves. The wooden one is considered an old tool.

However, metal is now widely used to make them. Besides, you will get slightly different results from metal Spokeshaves.

  • Parts

As we already know, Cabinet Scraper and Spokeshave look somewhat similar. But being differently designed, they come with distinct body parts.

A Cabinet Scraper consists of a scraper handle, scraper retaining screw, scraper clamping screws, clamping bar, scraper blade, and a scraper body. 

On the other hand, a Spokeshave has a body, handles, a blade, blade screw, adjustable thumbscrew, cap, cap screw, and a sole.

  • Types

Both Cabinet Scraper and Spokeshave come in various types. All these types are designed for serving specific purposes.

You will find many Cabinet scrapers, including flat cabinet scrapers, two-handled cabinet scrapers, gooseneck scrapers, concave and convex scrapers.

In the case of Spokeshave, there are a lot of variations too. You will find flat Spokeshave, round Spokeshave, convex Spokeshave for outward curving, concave Spokeshave for inward curving, etc.

  • Maintenance & Care

By taking proper care and maintenance, you can extend the life of any woodworking tool. These two tools are not any exception.

You will have to sharpen the blades of the cabinet scraper frequently. Make sure to wipe down your scraper with a clean cloth after each use. Otherwise, the dirt and wood remaining will damage your tool.

Similarly, you will have to sharpen the blade of your Spokeshave regularly. You must take care of all the other parts, not just the blade.

Key Features and Benefits of Cabinet Scrapers

Cabinet Scraper
  • Simple, Versatile Design – Cabinet scrapers utilize an elegantly straightforward design – just a piece of steel with a single sharpened edge. No moving parts or complex components. This makes them highly durable and long-lasting. The basic design also allows them to be used at various angles for different scraping needs.
  • Easy to Shape and Sharpen – Shaping and sharpening a cabinet scraper edge is quick work thanks to their thin flexibility. A couple swipes on sandpaper followed by burnishing with a steel rod is all it takes to hone a razor sharp edge. Once you’ve perfected the sharpening process, it takes just 30 seconds to refresh a dull blade.
  • Exceptionally Smooth Finished Surface – Perhaps the #1 benefit of cabinet scrapers is the feather-smooth surfaces they can produce when used by an experienced hand. The thin, flexible edge follows wood grain texture better than sandpaper, resulting in a surface that looks and feels polished.
  • Highly Controlled Scraping Action – Unlike power tools and machines, the scraping action of a cabinet scraper is generated entirely by hand pressure from the user. This allows for precise control and customizability depending on variables like wood species and desired finish level. Mastering the nuances of scraper pressure takes practice, but rewards the user with superior results.
  • Cost Effective – Cabinet scrapers represent one of the most affordable and cost effective options for surface smoothing and finishing. The minimalist design means they can be purchased very inexpensively, and last for years with proper care. No ongoing paper or belt replacements needed either.

Now let’s look at the key benefits that make spokeshaves a versatile must-have workshop addition.

Key Features and Benefits of Spokeshaves

  • Specifically Designed for Curved Surfaces – If you need to smooth or shape any concave or convex wooden surface, a spokeshave is purpose-built for the task. The thin blade and short body allow them to work in tight spots, while the dual handles provide superior control on curves.
  • Adjustable Blade Depth – One of the handy features of most spokeshaves is that the cutting depth of the blade can be finely adjusted. This allows you to take very light smoothing passes or more aggressive cutting passes depending on need and wood species. The ability to dial in blade depth improves overall versatility.
  • Curved Blade Offers Enhanced Control – Many spokeshave varieties utilize a slightly curved blade profile. This allows the center portion to make contact with the wood first before the outer edges. The curved shape also reduces blade chatter and allows the spokeshave to glide more easily across contours.
  • Compact Size Fits Comfortably in Hands – The small overall size and ergonomic dual handle design allow spokeshaves to be gripped comfortably in one hand while in use. You can really “feel” the wood surface and make micro adjustments as needed. This nuanced tactile feedback improves overall control.
  • Built Very Sturdily – Despite their small size, most spokeshaves feature very solid metal construction. This makes them rugged, durable tools that can withstand years of regular use without failure. The sturdy build also improves overall user safety.

Now that we’ve highlighted the best features of each tool, let’s compare their relative strengths and weaknesses.

Which Tool Is Suitable For You?

Cabinet Scrapers

From the above discussion with all the features and their comparison, I’m sure you have gathered enough information to figure out the best tool according to your need.

 You have to note that both tools serve little different purposes.

If you want to shape any wooden item and give a nice finish to it, you must use a cabinet scraper.

It will also remove any unnecessary remaining materials from your item. You must use this tool for making cabinets.  

But if you want to make a chair or a bow, you must use a spokeshave. It works excellently on curved surfaces. However, you can also use it on plain surfaces but do not expect too much.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is a cabinet scraper the same as a card scraper?

Many people think Cabinet scraper and card scraper are the same tool and use their names interchangeably. But they are two different tools with different shapes.

What is the difference of spoke shave from a cabinet scraper?

A cabinet scraper gives the wood a nice finish and makes them smooth. In contrast, a spokeshave works on curved surfaces make shapes them according to your design.

What do you use a cabinet scraper for?

A cabinet scraper is specially designed for making cabinets. It can remove any amount of materials remaining on a wooden surface and give it an excellent finish.

Do I need a cabinet scraper?

You need a cabinet scraper to make cabinets and remove the remaining materials from the wood. Although, you can use a card scraper too.

Wrapping Things Up

You will find many woodworking tools designed for various purposes. It might be a disaster if you end up with the wrong one. I hope this article helps you determine the deviation between Cabinet Scraper vs. Spokeshave.

Now that you know their features and contrast, you can quickly sort out the best one. I would suggest you pick the tool based on your project.

Ralph Wade

Hey...Ralph is here! So, did you find this article useful? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. If not, please tell me how I can improve this article. Your feedback is always appreciated. Take love :)

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