Cutting simple curve by hand


I'm working on my first workbench. Actually, my first anything.
I'm working on the trestle base and trying to do the curve on the base of the legs. What are the proper/best tools to use to cut the curve by HAND.
I start with hand saws to get close to the curve line. Then use a block plane and shoulder plane to get most of the wood out. I then use a 49 rasp to get the rest of the wood down to the curve line.
The wood in the base is 3x3 SYP. The curve radius is a tad less than 3 inches. What hand tools would you use to do this job?
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Ken wrote:

Sounds like you've pretty much handled it how I would. Saw to the line, clean it up with whatever you've got. What you could do is mark the curve (with a knife) on each side, then chisel it square a half inch deep or so, hog of the bulk between the cuts and then you'd have a reference on each side to work down towards with your other hand tools.
JP *************************** Template routing.
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Ken wrote:
> I'm working on the trestle base and trying to do the > curve on the base of the legs. > What are the proper/best tools to use to cut the curve by HAND.
A coping saw followed by some sandpaper wrapped around an old broom handle and a lot of elbow grease.
Lew
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Using that coping saw, you should be done sometime in 2008. Stick with what you're doing.

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A bowsaw to cut close to the line then clean it up with a spokeshave would be the fastest. Since I don't have a bowsaw I probably use a hatchet or adze, followed by a drawknife, then the spokeshave if I had to use human powered tools.
Art

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As suggested, a mortise chisel helped to speed things up a bit. I used a backsaw to cut down to the line. Made a series of these cuts then used the chisel.
Hadn't thought of the spokeshave and I don't own one but I do like tool shopping. Time to buy one and give it a try. Sounds like just the right tool.
Thank you Ken

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A spokeshave's a good tool for that, but out of the box they're a little difficult to use. Among other things, they tend to chatter. The blade needs to be *extremely* sharp. The tools themselves are usually a little rough, as bought, and need some fettling before they cut as smoothly as you'd like. Nevertheless, if you're willing to invest the time to shape the tool up, you won't find a better one for cutting those concave curves.
These comments apply, at least, to the Stanley and Record-type all-metal spokeshaves. The wooden-handled ones that Lee Valley makes have gotten some good reviews, and Lie-Nielson makes some that look mouth-watering on their web site.
Tom Dacon

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Avoid the record spokeshaves. I bought two a while back and neither was usable or could be make so without replacing the cap iron.

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Ken wrote:

I really think you'd be better off using a jigsaw or bandsaw to make the first rough cut close to the line. There's plenty of sanding and filing you could do by hand after that first cut. After all, you do hold the jigsaw in your HAND. LOL.
If it's just a workbench, don't stress out over trying to make it a display piece having perfect curves. I know you want your first project to come out nice, but it's important to get that workbench up so you're operational.
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bf wrote:

There are two schools of thought on this. One is as you suggest, the other is to treat _every_ piece as an opportunity to practice.
--
--John
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