Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 4, Issue 1
   September 2009
   Featured Patents

Boufford's Scraper

Boufford's Scraper
Hand scraping has always been an alternative to other methods of final wood-surface preparation, prior to the application of some type of finish.

Its popularity declined with the abundant and cheap paper-based abrasives early in the 20th century. The availability of the power sander also relegated the scraping process into the wings, so to speak. However, for certain types of work, scraping remains a most efficient and cost-effective way to give a product a satisfactory surface.

Joseph T. Boufford of Linwood, County of Worcester, State of Massachusetts, made application #717,319 for a patent on May 18, 1899. On July 25, 1899, he was granted Patent # 629,487 for a scraper.

No model was provided. The patent claim was that the tool improved the methods used in scraping floors and other hardwood surfaces needing refinishing or preparation for varnishing, waxing or polishing. It would seem that the patent was really for a blade holder, not a scraper blade, although the blade is described as "a spring-steel plate".

  Scraper in use
  Scraper in use.
One does not have to tell any woodworker about the heat generated and the subsequent discomfort in using a traditional cabinet scraper steel without some type of holder. Boufford sought to eliminate this direct heat transfer by adding a handle and knob, allowing for a more comfortable position when working, and giving the operator much more control.

Boufford also claimed that one could prepare the blade for both coarse and fine work by having one side with a curved edge for rough work and a straight edge for the final finishing.
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