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Shaping Miscellany

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Chris Knight

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Shaping Miscellany

For the biomorphic joints of the rockers I have been making, I have used a number of tools. To answer the obvious question as to what you really, really need, I'd say rasps, spokeshaves, scrapers and sandpaper in that order.


1. Angle grinder

As unlikely as it sounds, this is a pretty versatile tool and used carefully can remove a lot of stock in a hurry and give a good rough shape for refining with less aggressive tools. I have tried it with the arbortech attachment but in practice a much much cheaper 36 grit sanding disc attachment from Machine Mart works just as well in the heavy duty areas and much better in the more delicate areas.

Many alternatives exist for those who prefer not to use such a tool of course. I have done the same hogging off with a combination of chisels and gouges, with rasps and with cordless drill equipped with a mini drum sanding attachment and with spokeshaves. Not being a dedicated Neander - just a part time one, I tend to use the tools that give me the result I want in the shortest time. Nearly always this means a combination of power tools and handwork (a rare exception is jointing long - more than four feet - boards of an inch or so in thickness where I can hand plane a glue joint more quickly than I can machine plane it).

2. Dremel tool and small diameter coarse sander

This is great for taking off a lot of wood in a hurry whilst maintaining some semblance of control over the proceedings

3. Rasps

Good rasps are handmade and the reason they work well has a lot to do with the irregularity of the teeth. The randomness of the teeth prevents "washboarding" and the creation of those horrible ripples that seem to multiply rather than disappear as one tries to get rid of them. I have bought Auriou rasps that come in all shapes and sizes and notably in fineness/coarseness of cut. All our American cousins have in this line are two (count them) Nicholson rasps the 49 and the 50. Auriou - made in France have fifteen degrees of cut and umpteen shapes.

I use cuts from a number 9 to number 15 in a variety of sizes - all in half round configurations and all tapered at the end. Despite looking fierce and having large teeth, the number nine cuts sweetly and leaves a fairly smooth finish that can, if need be, be smoothed with 100 grit sandpaper.

4. Wood chisels

These are of limited use for making smooth curves, they are best used bevel down to help with exiting the cut and when using them like this one is better off using an out cannel gouge or carving chisel.

5. Patternmakers' gouges

Both in-cannel and out-cannel can be very useful if you have ones that match the radius of the curve you want to cut. In-cannel gouges can be very unforgiving if you embark on a cut against the grain and find it wants to dive into the wood but they also give the cleanest cut for a curve of absolute dimensions. For joints, it is both easier and safer to use out cannel gouges where the bevel helps to exit the cuts

6. Carving chisels and gouges

My recent carving course gave me an appreciation for these and an ability to sharpen them properly. They are a pleasure to work with in this kind of sculptural jointing. However they are not particularly cheap and one needs quite a few to make reasonable work of all the curves and planes in these joints

7. Small diameter air powered sander

You thought we had left these powered things behind? No chance. This is a great little tool that sounds like a demented dentist's drill. It is actually a miniature ROS (2 inches diameter). With 100 or 180 grit paper it makes nice smooth sanded transitions where I would prefer my Festool ROS to do the job but where it is too big for the joint in question. At a pinch and at the cost of lots of sanding discs, it can perform creditably as a shaper, rather than just as a smoother.

8. Festool ROS with soft sanding pad

A bit like a Mercedes waterbed of a sanding option

9. A very thin scraper

I have saved the best till next to last. This is perhaps the most versatile tool in my armoury - it is certainly the cheapest. In conjunction with the wonder burnisher I have spoken of previously and pictured here because I love it, I can make this scraper take huge shavings worthy almost of a scrub plane (yes, I know I'm exaggerating - but not a whole lot!) or equally, fine tissue thin stuff. Because it's thin I can bend it into all sorts of shapes and use it at any position in the joints. It has no equal for dealing with glue squeeze-out and difficult grain. If you told me I had to choose between a table saw and a scraper for my work in future, I would choose a scraper!

10, Abralon. This is wonderful stiff made by Mirka in grits from around 180 to 4000 and super for sanding curves and film finishes. It comes as rounds for ROS tools and as rectangles for hand sanding
 

Alf

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waterhead37":237qzr1y said:
4. Wood chisels
Oh I say! Well played, sir. :lol: And the cranked paring gouge. Friends, we're in the presence of a master...

Cheers, Alf
 

Bean

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Ohh things of great beauty can be created with the simplist of hand tools, I'm doubly impressed Waterhead37.

Bean
 

Midnight

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ummmmmmmm......Merc does waterbeds...???????

<quietly mutterin bout blatent show offs.....
 

Philly

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Chris,
Good show Sir!
I think that rocking chair must of cost you double in tools (Phil furtively Googles for Hal Taylor......... :lol: )
So how about those L-N chisels then? Worth It? (What am I saying :shock: )
cheers
Philly :D
(suitably gloat-humbled :D )
 

Chris Knight

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Philly":1bu9vfby said:
So how about those L-N chisels then?
Phew - for a moment I thought it was only Alf's trained eye that had spotted it.

Well, they are very nice chisels - beautifully balanced and a good length for fine work. They sharpen to a good edge and because mine were flat to start with , I did the backs and the edges in no time at all - putting a microbevel only on them as the primary grind was perfect. I have not tested them in any real sense of the word as they have done only limited work so far and I have not yet used them with a mallet. However, the edges look as though they are holding up fine (under a bright light and a magnifying glass) - so far I have not needed to resharpen them.

Yup, the chairs were a good excuse for more tools. I guess I missed one trick and that was the large bandsaw - I carved out the last headrest by hand instead of bandsawing the curves and that has kind of demonstrated I do not really really need one for the chairs at least. It's 2 foot wide bookmatched doors that are going to have to do it I am afraid.

Midnight":1bu9vfby said:
ummmmmmmm......Merc does waterbeds...???????
I think that is where their "Comfort" model designation springs from
 

Philly

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Chris,
How about the handles on the L-N's? I was thinking of ordering a set with the rosewood handles, but am worried about damaging them. Are the hornbeam ones well hard? Also, were they "colour matched"? I hear they vary in colour a lot.
regards,
Philly :D
 

SimonA

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Chris,

Can you tell me more about his wonder burnisher?

How is your latest Rocker coming along?

Cheers

SimonA
 
A

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Nice set Chris but where is the spokeshave you mentioned? Boggs I believe? How do you rate it - I've had much difficulty when agonising over buying one recently and eventually succumbed to a wooden shave

The LN chisel did slip past me until Alf kindly pointed it out :)

As for the waterbed Merc., I understand that the SLK actually handles like a waterbed!! :)

Audi rules :twisted:
 

Chris Knight

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Philly,
The hornbeam handles on my chisels are pretty much all the same colour. It is a very tough wood and other people have reported pounding them with mallets with no problems - I have no idea if rosewood would do as well. The problem is that there are so many so-called rosewoods these days that one is not sure exactly which species is being talked of. However, I cannot imagine LN producing a handle that would not stand up to use. They are very hot on replacing faulty stuff too.

Simon - Andy has kindly pointed to the other thread. This little tool turns a humble scraper into a magic tool IMHO.

Tony, the Boggs were in the thread on spokeshaves under Handtools. For me it is a defining piece of work by LN - a simple, elegant, clever design, flawlessly executed. It is worth every penny that it costs.

I'm not surprised by the SLK's dynamics - I shall enjoy a little schadenfreude at Daimler's expense!
 

Alf

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I believe the rosewood handles aren't quite so tough; no pounding on them IIRC. Rosewood isn't really a very good choice for chisel handles anyway. Too splintery. I was much impressed with the Hornbeam one I saw last year at Tools2003, fwiw.

Cheers, Alf
 
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