How to make a fair curve?

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I looked at the link. the price definitely choked me up! :)
here is a quote from lee valley's page: "These are the traditional rasps of last-makers"
What is a "last-maker"??
The have some cheaper items on page 215; Microplanes. Ever use those?
dave
Swingman wrote:

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I believe a last is the wooden form used by a cobbler to build a shoe on.
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A "last" is a form piece used by cobblers to make shoes i.e. a dummy foot. A "last-maker" therefore is the person who makes them.
Also, a while ago on abpw we discussed pilasters and fluting design. I promised to provide a link to a website of general interest when I found it again, go to:
http://www.chipstone.org/publications/1993/Miller93 /
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Wow. You're right about sticker shock. How are those any better than cheap rasps you can get for under $10? I find a very hand tool to be a 4-in-hand file:
http://www.tools-plus.com/merbsr10.html

What's an OSS?
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Roy,
oscillating spindle sander. very cool. just got one a couple of weeks ago; the Ryobi. (Thanks again, Mike for the recommendation)
dave
Roy Smith wrote:

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"Roy Smith" wrote in message

The teeth of a pattern maker's rasp are randomly placed on the surface and not in rows, like the usual wood rasp. It makes for an exceptionally smooth cut ... there is no comparison to a cheap rasp for curves and rounding a plane. I've not used a "micro-plane", simply because I own a couple of pattern maker's rasps, so I can't vouch for how they work.
IIRC, Highland or Rocklers are more expensive than Lee Valley ... there are also some European rasps which are very similar, and cheaper, but I have no idea where to find them.

Oscillating Spindle Sander.
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If you can find one in an antique store a float does a nice job of wood removal as well. Much faster than a rasp and not as groved a surface. It's like a strip of small plane blades rather than teeth. I love mine. let me know if you need a pic. Dave in Fairfax
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snipped-for-privacy@fairfax.com wrote in message

I've got a couple of new handmade ones, and they are great. However, if you try to buy an old one from someone who knows what they are, you'll be out anywhere from $50-100 for a good one. (I got mine for shipping costs. *meep* *meeep*) They were used mostly for making wooden planes (i.e., flattening beds, cutting wedge abutments, etc.).
I have a Nicholson, and I've found it to be worth every cent I paid for it. I do a fair amount of curved work these days, and I tend to reach for it often. I've also got a couple of those Microplane thingies, and I'm not that impressed. I expect they make great cheese graters, but I don't like them for working wood.
Of course the one tool that no-one mentioned in all of this is a spokeshave. When I'm doing curved work I cut the shape wide of the mark with a coping saw or fretsaw (depending on thickness), and use a combination of rasp and shave to work to the line. The nice thing about a shave is that it leaves a really gorgeous surface that needs no touching up.
Finally, I'll second the idea of making a template. If it's oversize and you are going to freehand it, here's one simple way to make it uniform: Draw out half of the curve on graph paper. Transfer that to your template. Then flip the half curve over and draw the rest of the curve on your template. As long as you align things properly, it has to be uniform.
This is also helpful when you can layout your design online but it's too large to print on standard paper. If you can fit half the curve on printer-paper, then you can draw the rest from that.
Chuck Vance
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"Conan the Librarian"wrote in message

The very first table top I ever made, in England some 39 years ago and using my ex FIL's tools, I did the curved corners using a spokeshave that had been passed down to him from his grandfather ... wish I had that beautiful old tool now.
It was a mahogany top and the corners looked like they were cut with a router they were so crisp.
Going back for a visit in June for my oldest daughter's wedding ... ... hmmmmm, wonder if he still has it?
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I know of no other tool that can handle those sorts of grain transitions any better. I've been doing some handcarved bowls and trays, and the shave leaves such a wonderful surface, even on the endgrain transitions, that it would be a crime to touch it with sandpaper afterwards.
And using a shave is probably my favorite shop activity of all.

Now that would be gloatworthy. :-)
FWIW, if you are in the market for new shaves, definitely check out the LV/Veritas ones. Their low-angle is a shop favorite, and they recently came out with a higher-angle shave that is reminiscent of the Record/Stanley #151 (I think that's the number). (No affiliation, etc.)
Chuck Vance Just say (tmPL) Yes, to spokeshaves.
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They're worth it, but not needed for last-making.
Rasps all used to be made by hand, but most are now machine-made. Machine made are definitely not so good - the teeth are formed at a regular spacing, so they tend to form "tram lines" when you use them. A hand-cut rasp has randomly spaced teeth, to they don't all fall into line like this. They're expensive, but definitely worth it if you're making cabriole legs.
Round here, hand-cut Italian rasps are about $50. I'm no big fan of buying old files and cleaning of sharpening them, but I do pick up old rasps when I see them around - and unlike files, you can't easily chemically sharpen a rasp (the tooth tip rounds off).
< $10 rasps are just badly made. They're either not hard, or just hardened in a very thin skin. They don't last.
There's a description of rasp and file cutting in Bealer (Amazon.com product link shortened) />/
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I've seen that kind of stuff in Staples. I assume O.D. has the same assortment. It's usually with the art and presentation supplies.
You could certainly find it at any drafting supply place like Charrette (http://www.charrette.com /) or Sam Flax (http://www.samflax.com /). Lee Valley has one too (http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page2536&category=1,42936,42958& ccurrency=2&SID=)
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Swingman wrote:

Solid core electric wire works too. A short piece of 12-2 or 14-2 cable retains the shape well and lies flat for easy tracing.
-- Mark
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Bend a thin strip of wood. http://www.delorie.com/wood/camber.html
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I get a spool of plumbers solder at the local HW store. That way I can unroll as much as I need and lay out the curve. It holds it's shape. Obviously, if you're going to make manyparts, cut a pattern.
HTH, Vic

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Use a French curve (or a Freedom Curve if you prefer). If you don't have some, go buy a set of small plastic ones. Then photocopy them at several enlargements and scroll saw out some big MDF or clear Perspex versions.
The trick to using a French curve is to remember that every point where two curves meet should be a smooth join, i.e. their tangents are on the same line. This implies that the perpendicular to both curves should be on the same line, which is why some curves have perpendiculars marked at intervals.
French curves - hard to make your own shape (you can, if you Google) but useful and worth having around.
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On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 01:12:59 +0000, Andy Dingley

Okay Andy, it's my turn to be the village idiot. I must have failed cut 'n' paste in kindergarten...
I don't "get" French Curves. Assuming there _is_ something to "get," what do they _do?_
I see the pretty curves, do I just shift it around on the drawing until I see something I like, or is there more to it than that? Am I supposed to just pick a section of a curve and use that? Which one? How do I know?
You're entire statement about perpendiculars and tangents tells me there's a lot more to this than I see by just looking at one.
Man, I don't even know what I don't know with these things... "When your only tool's a T-Square, every problem's just another crooked line." ;>
Michael                 
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On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 04:33:55 GMT, Michael Baglio

basically, yes.
how I use 'em is first I sketch in freehand with a light loose line the shape I want. then I shuffle the french curve around on it until I find a section of it that makes the line (or usually part of it) that I want. scribe that segment, find the next, repeat.
it can be a bit of a trick to get the segments to fair out right. one method is to shift it around until you get 3 intersections. pick the line up from the second.

that stuff is for convenience. it helps, but don't let it run ya.

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wrote:

You've already had your chance in the dust collector static thread.

No problem - two hundred years of draughting just had it wrong. Thanks for setting them straight.
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On Sat, 14 Feb 2004 22:28:49 +0000, Andy Dingley

???
Andy, did I piss you off in a previous life or something? You seemed to know about FCs, so I thought I'd ask. Whatever it was I said that prompted your last crack, I apologize.
Michael
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