How to use a woodworking scorp

Written by jane humphries
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How to use a woodworking scorp
Use a scorp to carve the recess on a wooden seat. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Within the professional and hobbyist world of woodworking, a scorp is a specialist carving tool that makes hollowing out wood a relatively simple manual task in comparison to using a basic tool such as a straight chisel. On a standard scorp, the single-edged blade forms a round shape that creates a concave cut. Typical uses for the carving tool include shaping the inside of bowls and barrels as well as forming the seating indents on chairs.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Off-cuts of 10cm-by-10cm wood
  • Workbench

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  1. 1

    Position a short length of 10cm-by-10cm wood on a workbench and with the wood width facing you. Grip the end of the wood that is furthest away from you with your less dominant hand.

  2. 2

    Hold the scorp handle with your dominant hand, positioning your thumb straight along the handle and pointing towards the top of the blade. Curl your fingers around the handle so that the tip of your index finger presses on the handle's underside.

  3. 3

    Position the base of the scorp blade onto the middle of the wood and about 5cm in front of your other hand. Keep your less dominant hand behind the scorp blade at all times. Draw the scorp towards you along the wood surface using an even pulling motion with minimal downward pressure.

  4. 4

    Inspect the shaved wood to determine whether you need to apply more pressure to gain a smooth concave cut. Continue to practice the pull stroke carving technique until you feel confident to use the standard scorp on a woodcarving project.

  5. 5

    Using the same piece of wood, practice the pull stroke with a specialised V-shaped scorp. Hold the handle in the same way as before and draw the base of the blade along the wood towards you. Use a uniform speed and pressure to carve a V-shaped groove into the wood.

Tips and warnings

  • Practice your scorp skills on cheap off-cuts of soft and hard woods from your local timber merchants, rather than using retail-priced wood from generic DIY outlets.
  • Use caution at all times when handling a scorp to avoid cutting yourself on the sharp blade.

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