Stanley Burnisher No.185

I’m not sure when Stanley begun the production of these burnishers, but they are an ingenious invention.  The burnisher itself is no different to any other burnisher with one exception and that’s the point on the end that has a 30° bevel.

When you’re burnishing, you may end up rolling the burr and the rolled bottom rides on the timber and doesn’t cut.  Have you noticed that sometimes you have to lean your scraper much further than other times to get it to bite into the wood?  Well, that’s what happens when you roll the burr beyond the 30° angle.  Stanley came up with the idea of grinding a 30° bevelled point on the end of the burnisher.  To use it after the bevel is rolled, you place the pointed end on the end of the burr with the bevel resting against it and lightly pull back along the scraper a couple of times. This pushes the burr slightly upright or back creating a consistent 30° bevel.  As long as you have done all the other necessary steps correctly prior, your scraper will produce shavings and not dust.

Vintage versions can still be found and range from $90-40 or you can buy one from Phil Lowe He makes his own. Burnisher

For me it’s a little pricey and I think I will be making one myself. In the end it may well cost just as much as Phil’s. For the time being, I came up with a little work around. I angled my burnisher to approximately 30° and made a couple light passes and it worked.


I must admit, successfully sharpening scrapers have always been a challenge for me. I’ll sharpen one side spot on and then screw up the other side and never know why it happens. This method won’t resolve your sharpening flaws, but will improve it.  You still must go through the whole sharpening process correctly to achieve good results.

A scraper is a wonderful tool, but often neglected due to the difficulties many people face sharpening it correctly.


2 thoughts on “Stanley Burnisher No.185

  1. I’ve read about that burnisher before, and how to use the beveled end like you said to get a more consistent burr. Lacking that tool, I don’t know if anyone will ever get a consistent burr every time – it’s one of those things that changes with just the slightest variations in our methods. Fortunately it’s also one of those things that gets better with practice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely correct and I’m living proof of that. Most of the time I get one side really good and but never the other side. That’s because I’m not consistent in my angle of approach. I must give credit to this burnisher though. If you tend to angle the burnisher too much then you can correct it and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve tried the Veritas burnisher and I haven’t had much success with it at all. I’ve seen countless videos of where people get it right the first time and I don’t know if that’s sheer luck but I just don’t know what exactly I’m doing wrong.


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