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Sorby Multi-Tip Shear Scraper - RS200KT

Fast hollowing, smooth surfaces

Text & photos by Tom Hintz

   After growing frustrated with the amount of sanding some of my turned projects required, I came across the Sorby Multi-Tip Shear Scraper. I have several Sorby tools which convinced me their claims of smooth surfaces produced by this tool were probably true.
   I bought it, tried it and found Sorby was not lying.

Initial Impressions

   As is the norm with Sorby, the Multi-Tip Shear Scraper is very well designed and manufactured from top quality materials. The shaft, 6 ½"-long outside the ferrule, is a heavy ¾"-across and has a flat side that helps stabilize the tool during many operations. The handle is 12"-long and well shaped, giving more than adequate leverage and a very good feel of control at all cutter positions.
   The three tips supplied with the Sorby Multi-Tip Shear Scraper were nicely sharpened and made from good quality material. An Allen wrench and two screws are supplied to fit the flat disk scraper, the half-round hollowing tips and their button-shaped retainer.

Hollowing Tips

The three tips, screws, wrench and hollowing-tool holder that come with this tool make it useful in many turning situations.
Click image to enlarge

   One of the hollowing cutters is decidedly more pointed than the other and meant for more aggressive material removal. The other has more of a flat edge with a radiused corner on one side that helps form a smooth, rounded transition from the bottom to the sides.
   Both of the hollowing tips worked very well as they came from the factory and regained their cutting edges with a few quick strokes on a flat 220-grit stone after considerable use.

Teardrop Scraper Tip

   The flat, teardrop-shaped scraper disk is interesting in appearance and effective in use. The scraper tip can remove a surprising amount of material when presented to the wood in a horizontal position. In the horizontal position, it makes short work of cleaning up the grooves left by the aggressive hollowing tips. The teardrop scraper can be set in virtually any position relative to the handle shaft, allowing the most appropriate portion of it's shape to be used for working curved transitions and contours on inside and outside surfaces.

The scraper works great on bowls and large turnings but can be used in smaller applications also, like this turned box with an interior less than 3"-across. I used the Sorby tool with the scraper to finish forming and smoothing the interior.
Click image to enlarge

   What really makes the scraper disk unique is how it cuts when held at a steep angle, about 45-degrees to the wood. Using the scraper disk at such a steep angle makes shear cuts easy and virtually catch-free. At this shear angle the surface can be made very smooth, including those frustrating areas of end grain. I recently turned some ambrosia maple bowls and after a few passes with the Sorby Multi-Tip Shear Scraper in the shear mode, was able to finish the piece after just a few minutes of sanding with 320-grit paper.
   The scraper disk has a flat side for cleaning up straight surfaces that also works very well. Incorporating this flat section creates a sharp point that could initiate serious catches if you do not pay attention to where it is in relation to the wood being turned.

At the Lathe

   The Sorby Multi-Tip Shear Scraper, equipped with either of the hollowing tips, makes fast work of clearing material from inside a bowl or vessel. Both hollowing tips work fast and the flat-sided shaft combined with the large handle afford solid control even with a surprising amount of the shaft extended out over the tool rest. The shaft and tip are exceptionally rigid and resist chattering very well.

(Top) The half-round shaft is very rigid and makes control while hollowing easy.
(Bottom) The handle is large, well-formed and gives a good feeling of control in all positions.
Click images to enlarge

   Cutting a clean, flat surface is a bit of a challenge with either of the hollowing tips, though the rounded one does work better in that regard. A light touch and increased lathe speed help this process.
   The scraper disk does a great job of smoothing away irregularities left by the hollowing tools, and it does it quickly. The shape of the scraper disk and being able to position it as desired provides many options for working a wide range of shapes. I was able to get into surprisingly tight areas and shallow undercuts with the scraper and still produce a very smooth surface. Keep the scraper disk honed and it slices thin curls of wood in nearly all positions.
   Turn the scraper tip to a 45-degree angle and the shavings get very fine and the surface very smooth. I found that increasing lathe speed after the first pass or two improved the surface quality even more.
   The instructions that come with the Sorby Multi-Tip Shear Scraper are less than perfect but using this tool is easy enough to figure out. Changing the position of the tool on the wood produces instant and recognizable results.

All of the tips can be secured at any position. This gives you options that do not exist with other tools.
Click image to enlarge

   I used the Sorby Multi-Tip Shear Scraper with the scraper disk installed on a walnut and maple segmented vessel, smoothing and shaping the interior. After turning the scraper disk to a 45-degree angle, a couple of passes had the internal surfaces ready for sanding.
   The scraper disk was used at varying angles on the exterior to finish forming the large and small coves and the overall shape. After three light cleaning passes with the scraper at the 45-degree angle, the exterior surface was smooth enough that a few minutes with 320-grit paper had the piece ready for the lacquer finish. Three coats of lacquer and the surface "glassed" over.


   The Sorby Multi-Tip Shear Scraper can be a big help when turning bowls and other vessel-type projects with relatively large openings. The hollowing tips can be used at very sharp angles for undercutting the sides of a bowl but they are rather short, limiting the depth of the shoulders they will cut.

I formed this 1/4"-wide cove on the lip of a segmented bowl with the scraper tip, held at a steep angle. The cove required very little sanding before finish was applied.
Click image to enlarge

   The performance of the scraper tip alone makes this a worthwhile tool to own. I use it often, especially for cleaning up the outer surface of bowls and many other types of turnings. Since getting the Sorby Multi-Tip Shear Scraper, my sanding time has been reduced dramatically.
   Overall, this is an easy tool to use effectively. If my experience is any indication, you will find many more uses for the Sorby Multi-Tip Shear Scraper than you might expect. The quality of the design and construction mean it will perform for many years to come.
   If you turn wood, you should look at the Sorby Multi-Tip Shear Scraper. At about $60 it will be a welcome addition to your turning tool collection.


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