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Scraping the hull with glass...

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Hello fellow modelers. I believe I am aproaching the end of my second planking on my mamoli bounty kit. In the instructions it says to "scrape the hull with a sharp piece of glass" . This sounds unusual to me but I'm eager to try it if it is indeed better than sanding the second layer. My question is two fold. Do any of you talented builders find scraping the hull gives a good finish? And if you do, is there anywhere short of smashing a piece of glas I could buy/order a scraping tool?

Edited by Vinnie
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You wil no doubt get answers from some very talented builders on this site. Personally, I've never used glass as a scraper. I've used metal scrapers on large wood projects but the only thing close to that is using single edged razor blades as a scraper. I have done that. a bit. But, I typically use different sand papers and 0000 still wool before applying a stain, sealer or clear coat. Hope that helps. 

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I use single edge razor blades as well. Works well on decking as well as the planking. With planking, I start at the stern or bow and scrape the full length, then drop to the next planks (like painting siding on a house). Finish with very sand paper or 0000 steel wool.

Phoenix, AZ

Current builds;

Previous builds, in rough order of execution;
Shipjack, Peterbrough Canoe, Flying Fish, Half Moon, Britannia racing sloop, Whale boat, Bluenose, Picket boat, Viking longboat, Atlantic, Fair American, Mary Taylor, half hull Enterprise, Hacchoro, HMS Fly, Khufu Solar Boat.

On the shelf; Royal Barge, Jefferson Davis.

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I usually scrape the hull before final sanding. It gives an even finish and takes off more than sanding does when you need to level up the edges of planks after the first planking. It's also cleaner than sanding. I scrape deck planking too.


I always use a new Stanley utility knife blade and replace it frequently.



Edited by overdale
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I've done some scraping using metal scrapers but not glass.   I have heard that are builders who do this.  They take an old piece of window glass, tap it with a hammer and shatter it.  They keep the big pieces and dump the little ones.  The advantage is that often the glass will shatter such that lots of different shapes and curves are formed.    


For myself, I see that leading to DNA and red stains all over my ship.   :D

"The shipwright is slow, but the wood is patient." - me

Current Build:                                                                                             
Past Builds:
 La Belle Poule 1765 - French Frigate from ANCRE plans                             Triton Cross-Section   

                                                                                                                       USS Constellaton (kit bashed to 1854 Sloop of War  _(Gallery) Build Log

                                                                                Wasa (Gallery)

                                                                                                                        HMS Sphinx 1775 - Vanguard Models - 1:64               


Non-Ship Model:                                                                                         On hold, maybe forever:           

CH-53 Sikorsky - 1:48 - Revell - Completed                                                   Licorne - 1755 from Hahn Plans (Scratch) Version 2.0 (Abandoned)         



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The difference between sanding and scraping =  sanding fills the pores on the surface with saw dust. scraping - they are open.  This is important for violins and guitars - not sure about ship models.



I use single edge razor blades for deck scraping also.

A 5 inch wall scraper blade has uses.  I recently made a handle for mine from a 1x 5x 5/16 piece of hardwood.  Cut a slit for the blade and drilled a hole to match the one in the blade.


For heavier scraping, I have use a steel set sold by Lemuel Violins.  It is 7 shapes and the size is right for 1:48 - 1:100 scale range.


Edited by Jaager

NRG member 45 years



HMS Centurion 1732 - 60-gun 4th rate - Navall Timber framing

HMS Beagle 1831 refiit  10-gun brig with a small mizzen - Navall (ish) Timber framing

The U.S. Ex. Ex. 1838-1842
Flying Fish 1838  pilot schooner -  framed - ready for stern timbers
Porpose II  1836  brigantine/brig - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers
Vincennes  1825  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers assembled, need shaping
Peacock  1828  Sloop-of -War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Sea Gull  1838  pilot schooner -  timbers ready for assembly
Relief  1835  ship - timbers ready for assembly


Portsmouth  1843  Sloop-of-War  -  timbers ready for assembly
Le Commerce de Marseilles  1788   118 cannons - framed

La Renommee 1744 Frigate - framed - ready for hawse and stern timbers


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Microscope slides work well if you want to scrape with glass.  You get eight scraping surfaces as the glass is thick enough to have an edge on each surface and four sides to work with.   The thicker slides are strong enough to hold up to the task.   Scraping works especially well on deck planking as well as the hull.  If there is concern about breaking the slide, wear leather gloves for protection.



Edited by allanyed

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Nice idea but glass fine splinters can cause more of a headache. Think I will try the razor blade approach, I normally only use blades to scrape algae from the inside of my fish tank. Will have to ask the wife to borrow me one of hers.

Current build: Caldercraft 1:64 HM Brig Supply


Finished builds: HMS Endeavours longboat

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I use metal scrapers such as can be seen at this website. My SOS hull was scraped with these and I did not finish with sandpaper, but rather 0000 steel wool.




I believe Lee Valley has a store in NY State.




Mediocrity will never do. You are capable of something better.” ― Gordon B. Hinckley

Current build: Sovereign of the Seas 1637

My Book: Carving Ornamentation for Ship Models  

Website: Http://carvingbook.weebly.com/

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Well thank you all for your quick replies and expertise. Your comments have all been most helpful. I think I'm leaning towards the single edge razor and the steel wool finish. It seems to be popular :) ...Now just to find and learn about types of sealant and stain.

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Lee Valley shipped my US order from Syracuse, NY to me in the WNC boonies in about 4 days.


Started: MS Bounty Longboat,

On Hold:  Heinkel USS Choctaw paper

Down the road: Shipyard HMC Alert 1/96 paper, Mamoli Constitution Cross, MS USN Picket Boat #1

Scratchbuild: Echo Cross Section


Member Nautical Research Guild

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I scraped the hull of my Victory to great effect. I started by experimenting with razor blades but moved on to proper scrapers - the Lee Valley ones in fact. One thing I learned was how quickly the scrapers dulled. It is the burr on a scraper that does the work - in effect it acts like a plane. Here's the video that was so helpful to me: http://woodgears.ca/scraper/index.html


Best, Ian

Edited by Seventynet
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  • 2 months later...

Looks like blades are the way to go. I have used glass but would rather stick to blades. I use a blade out of a Stanley utility knife and hold it at a 90 degree angle to the hull. Any more of a shallower angle and you run the risk of slicing into the hull planks. Best of luck.

Regards, Scott


Current build: 1:75 Friesland, Mamoli


Completed builds:

1:64 Rattlesnake, Mamoli  -  1:64 HMS Bounty, Mamoli  -  1:54 Adventure, Amati  -  1:80 King of the Mississippi, AL

1:64 Blue Shadow, Mamoli  -  1:64 Leida Dutch pleasure boat, Corel  -  1:60 HMS President Mantra, Sergal


Awaiting construction:

1:89 Hermione La Fayette AL  -  1:48 Perserverance, Modelers shipyard

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First thought, not all glass is created equal! There are different hardness factors and flexibility. Not to mention, brittleness. Weak, cheap glass can even leave micro shards behind, similar to fiberglass. Others like borax glass are very stiff and dense...and will cut you like a straight razor!


If you look carefully at a tooled scraper, it's edge is defined but not sharp like a razor. If you look closely at wood that has been sanded with 100 grit paper the pores, or cells, are open but uniform across their plane.

A scraper folds the cell walls over and removes the the uneven material, or fuzz. 400 grit paper and above close the cells as well.


Well that's too much info..I like the control of metal scrapers. Lee Valley are great!................bronze and bone work quite well also ;)!




Passion is Patience...and I am a carpenter in any scale.



Current build;  Endurance - 1:70 scale, Occre


Current build;    H.M.S. Surprise - 1796, 1:48 A L




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