Destoration of a Stanley #80 Cabinet Scraper

A couple of years ago, I was rummaging through a dusty box of vintage tools at an estate sale. My wish list at the time included a Stanley #80 cabinet scraper. I wanted something for wily-grained woods. That’s because my smoothing planes did as much tearing out as they did smoothing of those species. So when I saw this beauty, I dug deep in my pocket for the $3.00 dollars we agreed upon.

P01-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-as found from estate sale P02-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-as found closeup of rear-c1907 trademark P03-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-as found back side retention strip

It had a few peculiarities. Like this homemade “iron” that obviously came from an old sawplate.

P04-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-homemade iron from sawplate

And a sole that clearly was out of flat.

P05-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-uneven sole spells trouble


Still, there was nothing to do but clean her up…

P06-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-After rehabbing-full shot P07-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-After rehabbing-rear shot

…and lap the sole.

P08-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-After rehabbing-sole shot

After sharpening and burnishing the iron with a screwdriver, I set it in and put a piece of pine in my vise. And got crap results. A shallow depth setting made dust. A thick one left gouges in the wood surface. A bit deflated, I set it aside. Then, off and on for the next few months, I would fettle this abomination some more in the vain hopes of restoring it to working condition.

No dice.

The not-so-flat sole bugged me. And since I couldn’t lap out the 1/8” of difference between the front and back of it, I figured that I would bend the cast iron sole into flat.

P09-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-Fixing bend in sole

And I must say. This approach worked perfectly…to break my prize.

P10-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-Broken sole-parts

As Forrest Gump would say, “Stupid is as stupid does.” I think that it took a whopping 0.0005 foot pounds of pressure to snap the sole. And the sound of the iron breaking, that high-pitched “pink”, made me sick to my stomach. And the knowledge that I had destroyed a vintage tool with decades of history etched upon its soul gnawed at me.

I tried to put it out of my mind, but found that the only thing that would ease the feeling would be to buy a new one and start from scratch. So it was to Ebay I went, where I picked up this honey for 10 times what I paid for my original.

P11-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-Replacement-full

I’m fond of Stanley type 11 planes made around WWI. I believe that this time period represents a zenith for tool makers. Those were the days that they combined patented tool features, superior materials, and craftsmanship to give birth to millions of quality tools. Implements of such excellence that three generations hence they still sit atop woodworkers’ benches amidst shavings and sawdust. Well, except for the one I got ahold of…

So when I saw the V-logo on the back blade retention strip, I knew it dated this plane to around 1912-1918. I had to have it.

P12-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-Replacement-c-1912-1918-V-logo

It didn’t come with a blade, but that suited me just fine because I purchased a LV replacement blade for my now broken tool. And of course, I still have the user-made-sawplate blade that came with the original.

The new #80 sole responded well to lapping.

P13-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-Replacement-much better sole

Excellent. That removed one potential variable from the reasons-I-can’t-get-a-decent-shaving-with-a-cabinet-scraper list. The next variable that came to mind was burnishing. Chances are I wasn’t turning a decent hook. My reading on the subject suggested that I was using burnishers that were too soft to affect today’s hardened steel. So to eliminate this as a possibility, I picked up a harder-than-steel, carbide burnisher.

P15-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-Replacement-Able to turn a hook with carbide burnisher

After using it I was, miraculously and suddenly, able to take decent shavings.

P14-Stanley No 80 Cabinet scraper-Replacement-Able to produce shavings

Decent, but not great so there’s room to improve my technique. But at least now, I have a tool to reach for when the wood’s grain gets to tricky for my smoother.



About The Write Biz

By day, I'm a mild-mannered copywriter who harnesses frontal-lobe creativity (right brain) to help B2B marketers generate leads and sales. By night I pick up hand tools to create wooden masterpieces...and give my black lab Bella the "red dot" laser to chase after.
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7 Responses to Destoration of a Stanley #80 Cabinet Scraper

  1. handmadeinwood says:


    It’s not completely useless.
    If you trim off the rest of the broken shards in a straight line to the throat and round over the raw edges, you’ll probably find that it works just as well as a scraper-blade held in the hand. They perform best drawn, rather than pushed.


    • Interesting HMIW. That sounds like a viable option. Though I naturally gravitate towards pushing. I’ll probably end up using this for a parts plane. Is there a use for a broken cast iron sole?

  2. handguitar says:

    I find that pine is one of the more difficult woods to use a cabinet scraper on, as it’s quite soft. So your scraper has to be very well tuned. So if you got nice shavings with pine, that’s great! I find that oak and other harder woods scrape much easier.

  3. Matt Rae says:

    Great post – I just started restoring a number 80 – I will definitely not try bending it!

  4. John Gibson says:

    I just started to work with my own Stanley #80 – it has the same patemt dates & blade logo as yours. The sole needs work but I had pretty good success getting a shaving based on the sharpening instructions in Paul Weller’s ‘masterwoordlworingclasses’ video. I look forward to how it will perform once I get the sole flat too. Thanks for sharing your lesson – a remider to us all that cast iron is *not* flexible.

  5. Bob Broughton says:

    A well sharpened cabinet scraper is a revelation and just about does away with a drawer load of sandpaper to clean up old furniture while leaving some patina. Mine was just an old scrap tool until I found a couple of articles on setting up. The Union relic with a chunk of hand saw blade went from woeful to wonderful!!

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