A burnisher made from high speed steel with a rosewood handle[1]
Other namesBurnishing rod
ClassificationWoodworking hand tool
Usesburnishing card scrapers
Used withCard scraper, also known as a cabinet scraper
Process of sharpening:
  1. Rough edge
  2. Edge squared by filing or grinding
  3. Optional first pass with the burnisher
  4. Rubbing the burnisher at a slight angle against the scraper to turn the burr

A burnisher is a hand tool used in woodworking for creating a burr on a card scraper.[3]


Purpose-manufactured burnishers are polished smooth, typically made from high speed steel (HSS) or cemented carbide,[4] and usually have wooden handles. The shaft profile is usually round, but other profiles include oval and triangular.[4]

Substitutes for shop-bought burnishers are often made with other common workshop items of hardened steels or cemented carbide, such as the back of a gouge, a bevel edged chisel, a nail punch, or an HSS drill bit.[5] Alternatively the woodworker might use a carbide or HSS rod marketed for other uses.[6][7][4]


To work effectively, a burnisher must be much harder than the scraper. Modern scrapers are typically manufactured from harder steels than in the past, and require burnishing with harder materials, making some traditional makeshift burnishers less effective on modern scrapers.[4]


See also: Card scraper § Turning the burr

Once the edges and faces of a card scraper has been filed or ground flat and square, the burnisher is repeatedly rubbed at a slight angle along the scraper's edges, creating a small burr. The specifics of the process can vary significantly between woodworkers.[3][6]

See also


  1. ^ "Burnisher". www.crownhandtools.ltd.uk. Archived from the original on 2020-02-03. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  2. ^ "Fine Woodworking – Debunking Myths and Mysteries on Cabinet Scrapers". Paul Sellers' Blog. 2013-07-14. Archived from the original on 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  3. ^ a b "Page:Cassells' Carpentry and Joinery.djvu/38 - Wikisource, the free online library". en.wikisource.org. Archived from the original on 2022-07-10. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  4. ^ a b c d Christopher, Schwarz (2011). The Anarchist's Tool Chest. Fort Mitchell, KY, USA: Losy Art Press LLC. pp. 279–281. ISBN 978-0-578-08413-8. OCLC 875304703. Archived from the original on 2022-07-10. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  5. ^ "Scraper Burnishers That Work". Paul Sellers' Blog. 2015-02-08. Archived from the original on 2020-08-10. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  6. ^ a b Wearing, Robert (2010). "The cabinet scraper". The Essential Woodworker (Rev. ed.). Fort Mitchell, Ky.: Lost Art Press. pp. 89–94. ISBN 978-0-578-06044-6. OCLC 711676532. Archived from the original on 2022-07-10. Retrieved 2020-10-07.
  7. ^ "DIY Burnishing tool on the cheap". LumberJocks.com. Archived from the original on 2019-01-31. Retrieved 2020-10-07.