Monday, May 27, 2013

Liogier Hand-Stitched Rasp Review

Awhile ago, I saw a great video of a French craftsman shaping a deer-hoof leg; he was using Liogier rasps pretty much start to finish.  Mostly what caught my eye was that these rasps seemed to work...  my previous experiences with rasps were with Nicholson #49 and #50 rasps (American made, pre-Brasil) along with some likely low-quality rasps and overall, they never became a go-to tool for shaping.

So I ordered a few Liogier rasps to give them a try and really enjoyed using them to shape the 5 legs of the Tim Burton table demi-lune (the No Comment #2 build).  These are definitely now in my first-choice pile of tools to shape wood.

While shaping those legs, if I had a lot of stock to remove, I'd often play with rasps to get a better feel for how they work at shaping a curve (that I'd ultimately be removing anyway).  There is a learning curve to them, like every tool, but mostly a lot of muscle memory for how to switch sides of a project and still push the rasp in the correct orientation.

I cover a few basics of a rasp like grain and "handedness" so people new to rasps better understand the choices and how they work.  If you're an avid rasp user, that part will be -yawn- review for you, but not too long.

Note that this is a review of the Liogier rasps.  I do not own any Auriou rasps to compare; if you want to lend me a set, I'll do a comparison :)


A viewer wrote me about these rasps quite awhile ago.  One thing he found useful was a list of what I bought to use as a starting place to sift through the options.  Here's a photo of my order.  You'll notice I added some additional handles and storage boxes.  Those were for some of my other rasps and files; hey! these handles are maple-syrup colored... doesn't get any better for someone of Canadian upbringing :)

(Click image for a larger more legible size)

I rolled this video while making the Tim Burton table back in early January.  As I sit here avoiding going outside to do concrete and paint in 100º weather, I was jealous of the winter weather in the video.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gryphon C-40 Wet Bandsaw - Review

In the "No Comment #2" build video around timecode 39:40, I processed a large piece of Onyx I scored from a local granite shop's dumpster, I mean, showroom.  The first email I received after releasing the build video was "what's that wet bandsaw all about?"

The next build video in the "No Comment #2" series (Tim Burton Table) will cover all the Onyx work for the top cap.  Since that relies on this Gryphon wet bandsaw, I thought to review it first so I don't have to do that part in the build video.

This saw is popular among artisans since it is so well designed and fits well in a studio.  Cutting tile, stone slabs, rough stone, and glass is all very easy to do.  Its glass-cutting ability would make it a fantastic tool for stained glass work.  In my case, my interests were in being able to add stone accents to projects and possibly moving into some Pietra Dura, which is marquetry with stone.

The version I have is from Paul Schürch, who modifies them to have a beveling table on the deck for the bevel cuts needed to inlay stone or do Pietra Dura; he uses one for his work as well as for teaching Pietra Dura classes.  First chance I get, I'll take that class!  They are special order from his store; if you get the saw from another distributor, it won't come with that addition, which may or may not interest you.

Part 2 includes demos with thick glass, porcelain tile, and natural travertine tile.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

No Comment #2 - Bandsawing the Tapered Octagon

Cutting the assembled tapered octagon was a lot of fun during this build because I got to use the bandsaw in a way I hadn't before.  Certainly a technique I'll be exploring more in future builds!

Basically, we built a sacrificial jig to hold the tapered octagon "spatially" in the correct orientation for the bandsaw blade to remove planes.  While we could have computed the compound cut at the top of each triangle for the octagon to get a level top, to do two more cuts on each triangle to then remove the part for the table top would have been a lot of error-prone work... any deviation in length would have to be sanded out later (end grain!).  Then add the work of triple the glue-up.  Cutting the plane on the bandsaw, especially with a smooth-cutting Laguna Resaw King, left nothing to sand (sure there were tool marks, but those surfaces were perfect for gluing in this project).

Ah, the mysterious holes in the jig are explained, too.  Had some questions about those :)

Do remember the design episode where I explained how the top part of the octagon changed.  Originally, I wanted the octagon to continue through the table so the top piece needed to be exactly positioned so Dominos could go through the octagon top, the table, and into the octagon bottom.  In the video flashback, I explain that cut that ultimately we didn't keep (but did use).

However, properly cutting off that top piece does have an importance that we'll see in a future episode on the assembly.  As a spoiler, I'll tell you :)  That top piece was used as a template for where the Domino holes in the table top were needed in order to get them to go smoothly into the octagon bottom.  Without that template, it would have been long and messy to position those Dominos; with that template, it was as simple as tracing the revealed mortises.  But you'll see that in more close-up detail in the assembly episode.

I think the next episode will be another bandsaw episode; editing all this old footage with some new narration mixed in has me busy in the video editor, not in the shop.  Not a good thing.  The next planned episode will at least have me running a tool or two!

Here's a link to the video for my email subscribers:

Monday, May 6, 2013

Technique - Matching Existing Compound Angles

When stacking up compound cuts to make an octagonal cylinder or other multi-faceted object, the minor error in each cut also compounds making the last piece fit less than well.

A better method I used for the tapered octagonal column ("tapered octagon" for short!) was to glue up the first seven facets then measure the exact part I needed for the eighth.  Matching the miter angles of the part is easy, but usually there's confusion on how to measure the associated bevel angles.  This short video (no, really! under 7 minutes!) shows how I did the measurement.

I'll also discuss an animation at the end that shows a bit of how the bevel angle relates to the included angle and stock thickness.

No math is used or harmed in this video; safe for all ages :)

(Here's a link to the YouTube page for my email subscribers; sorry I've been forgetting that lately: Technique - Matching Existing Compound Angles)

Over the weekend, I renumbered all the videos (and renamed my local copies to match).  Generally, a new video gets the next number, but videos that are in a series get point numbers.  For example, #82 is the No Comment #2 series so each video is #82.1, #82.2, #82.3 etc to better know the order of the videos.  A viewer on YouTube suggested numbering them all since he found one mid-series by chance and didn't have an easy way to see where he was at. Hopefully this helps, although I understand it can look confusing on, say, the Sculpted Mahogany Vanity build where the last video was #38.12 released after one of the Domino crib-sheet videos #56.  I'm thinking the order in a series is more important than strict chronological order over all of them.  Might be wrong; do that often :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

No Comment #2 - Tapered Octagon

The tapered octagon piercing through the shaped demi-lune top of the Tim Burton table (formerly known as No Comment #2) involves the nemesis of most woodworkers: compound angles (the stair builders are laughing right now...)

True, compound angles are more complicated than square cuts with a square blade by a square woodworker :) ("triple square cuts"), but some techniques can make them really easy to work with and get great results.

In this episode, a large part deals with cutting and Domino-ing the triangles that make up the tapered octagon along with some tips on eye-balling the cut with an angled fence and how to recover from Dominoing with a less than perfect bevel angle setting.  The Domino trick actually comes in really useful in the triple-square arena as well.

There was a lot of interest in the new-to-me technique of using the Domizilla to mortise through multiple parts simultaneously; the process is really easy (though I over-explain, I know), but saves on a lot of awkward calculation of other compound angles.

Next up will be a short video on how to measure a compound angle off a project; this is really useful when you are making an n-sided object... make n-1 sides according to your formula and tool settings then calculate the last perfect-fitting piece directly off the rest.  The savings in caulk alone make this worthwhile to learn!

The video refers you to the Angle Madness Jigs video if you want to know more about cutting miters with triangles.

Sorry it's longer than I expected... jeez, it's just a tapered octagon!

As an aside, apparently all my friends had very very bored parents in August because we just had a string of 12 birthdays to celebrate.  Nice full social calendar; completely bumped video editing :)  Hey, at least it was for very pretty, I mean, very good reasons!