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
What is a "last-maker"??
The have some cheaper items on page 215; Microplanes. Ever use those?
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:
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.
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
reply-to doesn't work
daveldr at att dot net
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.
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
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?
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
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,
Just say (tmPL) Yes, to spokeshaves.
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) />/
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
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.
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
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
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.
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." ;>
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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