How to sharpen a paint scraper – Top 6 Essential Step in 2023

by Lindsey Carter

A paint scraper is undoubtedly one of the most versatile tools in woodworking. You can use it to scrape paint, dried glue, lumber and whatnot. It is a beloved tool to painters and woodworkers alike.

Sharpening the paint scraper ensures its durability as well. Hence, it is essential to sharpen your scraper from time to time.

Besides, the edges of your scraper can wear out after long periods of use. You can tell if your scraper needs sharpening by looking at the shavings. A paint scraper should leave somewhat defined curls of wood shavings behind when scraping. A dull edge would leave powdery wood shavings or, it simply wouldn’t scrape.

There are a lot of ways for how to sharpen a paint scraper. You can have yours professionally sharpened at any woodworking store. However, it can be a pretty expensive and time-consuming procedure which is not worth it in the long run.

But don’t worry! We are here to save your paint scraper AND your bank. You can sharpen your paint scraper by yourself at home very easily in the following ways.

Ways for How to sharpen a paint scraper

Ways for How to sharpen a paint scraper
Ways for How to sharpen a paint scraper

Single Cut Mill File

Filing is one of the most convenient ways to sharpen your paint scraper. However, you must choose the right equipment that is compatible with the blade of your paint scraper.

First take a file that has slanted cuts across the body at about 45 degree angle. Hold your scraper firmly with the blade facing you. Make sure that the scraper is in a diagonal position.

Next, angle the file just above your finger. Try to hold it as low as you can without touching your hand. Now, start filling in firm horizontal strokes. Don’t make haste and do the job in an unhurried pace to avoid filing off too much.

You can check the burr by lightly touching the blade with your finger.

Bastard Cut Mill File

If you have a solid steel paint scraper or a triangular-shaped scraper, you will have to use a bastard cut mill file. The coarseness of this file is between coarse and second cut, so this is the ideal file for a thicker, sturdier scraper.

One side of this file features a coarse surface while the other side is fine. First, place your scraper on a solid surface to hold it in an erect position. You need to start with the coarse side of the file.

Start filing from the center of the blade. Following the contour, work your way towards the edge until you get a burr on the bottom of the blade. File the other end of the edge similarly. Finish off by burnishing with the finer side.

Likewise, scrape all the sides of the triangular scraper.

Sharpening Stone

A sharpening stone or whetstone is a common tool to sharpen knives and other sharp tools. A stone of 1000 grit can work just well for sharpening a paint scraper.

It is preferred to take the blade off of the handle (if your tool has a detachable blade) before starting so it does not bother you during work. Now, take a clean rag or piece of cotton and soak it in machine oil.

Remove any excess oil and wipe the blade of your paint scraper in vertical strokes. Next, hold the paint scraper at 90 degrees over the sharpening stone and move it along the stone.

Lightly touch the edge with your finger to check the sharpness of your blade and repeat as necessary.


Sandpaper is an essential material used in woodworking. You might need to use some elbow grease while working with sandpaper but it gives you the most control when sharpening or scraping your tools.

First lay your scraper flat on the surface you will be working on. Next, take a fine file and lightly burnish your paint scraper in vertical strokes to get rid of any scratches.

Cut a piece of sandpaper just enough to sharpen your scraper. Now, use the sandpaper to rub at the blades. Your paint scraper will be nice and sharp shortly.

Disc Sander

Disc Sander is another frequently used tool in woodworking. It is essential for smoothing down wood, ceramics, plastic, etc. and removing imperfections from various materials. It also does a great job in sharpening any scraper.

In fact, using it is the fastest method to sharpen a paint scraper. However, this also means that it can be difficult to control and should only be used by experienced handlers.

A flexible disc sander can be easier to handle but a regular disc sander will also work just fine. Use a 50 grit pad sander and run it at its lowest speed. Now, place the edge of your scraper at a 45 degree angle and hold it along the disc for a few seconds.

Make sure to keep an eye on it at all times and use it with caution.

Bench Grinder

Using a bench grinder is another fast and effective method to sharpen your scraper. It tends to remove a rather good amount of material in one go so you have to be cautious while using it.

Go for a fine abrasive wheel and run it at a slow speed. Hold your paint scraper to the machine at about 30 degrees. You don’t need to use the tool rest in this case. Adjust the angles according to your comfort and to alter the sharpness of the scraper.

However, you might end up shaving off too much if you put excessive pressure. You must make a light contact that is just enough to get the job done.

Remember to use a slow speed fine grinder because a coarse wheel at high speed will be too much for your scraper and the edge will be reduced to nothing within a few seconds.

Final Thoughts

How to Sharpen a paint scraper may seem like a daunting task. Especially when various tools and machineries are involved. But don’t let these hold you back. Using the right tools makes the process pretty easy once you get the hang of it. And the results are equally rewarding too!

About Lindsey Carter

Lindsey and Mike C. grew up in the same neighborhood. They also went to the same Cholla Middle School together. The two famillies from time to time got together for BBQ parties...

Lindsey's family relocated to California after middle school. They occasiotnally emailed each other to update what's going on in their lives.

She received Software Engineering degree from U.C. San Francisco. While looking for work, she was guided by Mike for an engineering position at the company Mike is working for. Upon passing the job interview, Lindsey was so happy as now she could finally be back to where she'd like to grow old with.

Lindset occasionally guest posted for Mike, adding other flavors to the site while helping diverse his over-passion for baseball.

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