Not long ago I was shifting from flattening the face side of my massive Soft Maple boards (8 1/2″ W x 3 3/4″ D x 75″ L), to one of the edge faces. On one board both of the edge faces were about equal in perceived work, as each had some twist and similar nasty rough characteristic. Many times I’d grab my old Bailey #6 hand plane set up with a decently cambered iron, and start with the iron way out there, just to expedite the process, as I hate just getting a whisker or two on a pass, at least at this stage. Oh, and I am talking about wood that I purchased that is basically rough, to the point where it has some fuzzy all over.
On this board, I reached for my #6 and I’m really not sure why my hand re-directed to my 9-grain Auriou Rasp, which is my medium grit, as I also have a 5-grain for really heavy stuff and a 15-grain model makers for the super fine work (Auriou rasps 1-grain – 4-grain are intended for working stone, while 5-grain – 15-grain are good for wood).
From my perspective, the far right corner of my board was elevated, as was the near left corner, as you’d expect when you have some wind/twist. I stood the board on it’s opposite side, with a wedge under one corner, to keep it from rocking (or at least too bad). I grabbed the 9-grain Auriou with it’s handle in my right hand and the tip in my left, and held it in an almost 45-degree position with my left hand leading the way. As I touched the wood, I tried to keep both of my hands at a similar level from the floor, and started near the far end of the board. Since I already knew the high area was on the right, it was easy to use that to confirm I was keeping my hands fairly level, as I expected to see wood removed on the right and nothing on the left, and the area removed shouldn’t slope to the right.
Since I’d never tried using my Auriou like this before, I made a couple of passes and then stopped to see if it was worth continuing, or if I was just wasting my energy. Surprisingly, this medium-grit rasp was rapidly bringing the high sections down, and as is somewhat usual for Auriou, it was leaving a very decent texture to the surface. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it wasn’t chewing it up and/or ripping it to shreds! With the positive results, I really got into it and gradually worked my way to the other end of the board.
After the I had all of the major high areas lowered down, I shifted over to my #6 hand plane, with it set at a much more reasonable bite, and rapidly completed this edge face. When I was done, I wondered if I might should’ve tried bringing in the 5-grain Auriou, but that bad boy was probably overkill, at least for this level of stock removal.
For those who haven’t yet had the chance to use any of the Auriou line of rasps, I’ll share a tip that I found during my time with these tools. I think my first tendency with a rasp (maybe just because I’m a guy, but I can’t say for sure) is to lean into it while applying pressure, to get the wood out of the way. While this tactic will certainly remove wood briskly, the overall surface can seem like a chainsaw hit it. I’ve found that using a light touch on the downward force, and controlled strokes can still rapidly remove wood, but ends up leaving a much better surface. This seems to go for any of the Auriou rasps I’ve used (the three I listed are all the cabinet maker’s shape, with one flat side and one that is curved from side-to-side, but I also have a 13-grain in their handle-maker’s style, that has the same side-to-side curve, but also curves on the long axis, towards the tip), so if you buy or are lucky enough to receive as a gift, try this to get the best results from your rasps. Oh, and Auriou make their rasps as either a right-hand or a left-hand rasp, based on how the teeth of the rasp are created. If you are a right-handed person, and are using a left-handed rasp, you’ll end up roughing the surface rather than the teeth actually cutting like they are intended. Just keep that in mind if you are buying one of their rasps, whether new or used.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the information and may give it a try as well. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
A few days ago, I wrote about starting two racks to house some more of my chisels. I’ve been a bit stretched this last week, and unfortunately I didn’t take nearly as many photos of the process as I would have liked. Those of you who also follow my Twitter account, @LeeLairdWW, saw my brief tweet yesterday evening showing the smaller of the two racks I’d planned.
The smaller of the two racks (photo above) is storing three of my chisels that have extra long handles, or are overall longer than standard chisels, two of which are Japanese paring chisels. With the location of each chisel marked with a pencil, I followed that with a deep dimple with an awl. This helps to provide solid registration for the center point of the drill bit, to prevent the bit from potentially “walking” to an unintended position, before entering the wood.
Before drilling, I took measurements on each chisel, of the hosel/socket approximately 1/4″ down from the widest point. This measurement would ensure the chisels would fit into, and then sit down into their respective slots, providing a good home. I also measured the minimum size of each chisel’s shank/neck, to make certain the chisel would fit into the intended slot in the rack. I documented each of these measurements (shown in photo below) directly to each chisel position, so there was less chance I would create the incorrectly sized hole at any of the locations, while at the drill press.
After drilling all of the holes for all planned tools, it was over to the band saw to cut the slots that allows the chisels to enter from the front of the board instead of dropping down into each hole. As you can probably imagine, if you decide to go with a “drop-in” solution, the hole must be large enough for the cutting edge of the chisel to fit through. On smaller chisels, this works fine. On larger sized chisels, the size of the cutting edge can easily eclipse the diameter of the handle, which obviously prevents hanging larger chisels via the drop-in method.
After I made all of the cuts, to open up the slots, it was back to the workbench (on the smaller rack, this left little to do before mounting). I used some 1 1/4″ self-cutting Kreg screws, to mount the small rack, to the previously mounted plywood. This size screw was reasonable for this application, as they didn’t need to pierce drywall before contact wood. These square drive heads provide such a solid connection to the driver, that there are few other types I generally use, especially in a storage solution. I pre-drilled the holes through each end of the smaller rack, large enough so the screw’s threads didn’t bite into the rack itself. As these are self-tapping screws, and they screwed into plywood, I didn’t drill pilot holes. Just before installing, I noticed the end of the screws were only about 1/4″ beyond the rear edge of the rack, which wouldn’t penetrate deep enough to have the intended strength. Back to the bandsaw. I drew a line approximately 1/4″ in from the rear edge of the rack, as that would let the screws reach to full thread-depth in the plywood, and just followed the line. I hand planed the rear edge, to create a smooth, flat surface. When I tested the screw’s projection length again, all looked good. Before attaching the small rack with screws, I wanted to make sure it was level. I removed the head from my large adjustable square, and with it sitting on the top surface of the rack, used it’s bubble to confirm level as I drove the screws home.
The larger rack had quite a bit of the same processes, but since I wanted the chisels to sit farther out from the wall, I used a second board that is 90-degrees to the first. The rear board has a face-side against the drywall, while the board the holds the chisels, is set so it’s edge is against the rear board’s outer face-side. The studs in my shop are on 24″ centers, so I cut the rear board to 28″, providing a 2″ overlap of the stud on each end. I cut the front board to 22″, so it wouldn’t interfere with the screws I’d use to attach the large rack to the studs.
After I drilled all of the chisel holes, and cut the necessary slots, I used my Auriou Model Makers 15-grain rasp (does it seem like I use this rasp on every single project?) to remove soften some edges. I also used a paring chisel to cut chamfers on the edges of the slots, which helped refine the fit on a few, but it is also a nice visual.
I placed the two boards together in their final orientation, and made marks on the rear board, centered on each of the remaining thick sections between the holes/slots. I measure half the thickness of the front board, and marked along the rear board to intersect with each of the centered marks, which will make sure the connecting screws hit their target. I used the awl to again make marks deep enough so the drill bit (and I) could “feel” them. Using my 1/8″ drill bit, I pre-drilled holes at each of the marks on the rear board. With the front board held in my vise, I placed the rear board against it, so they lined up as planned. I re-chucked my 1/8″ drill bit and while holding the two boards aligned, carefully drilled the middle position, and then drove a screw, and lightly snugged it up. I did the same at one end position, and snugged the second screw. Now I drilled the rest of the holes as deep as the bit would reach, without worrying that one of the boards might move. This drilling operation only created a starter hole in the front board, since 1/8″ bits are fairly short, but the alignment is also transferred besides just the location.
After removing the rear board, I drilled each of the starter holes, on the front board, as deep as the bit could reach. With the rear board out of the way, the bit easily reached the depth needed for the intended 2 1/2″ screws. Since this larger rack carried additional weight, these screws seemed prudent, both to hold the two boards together, and to attach the pair to the studs. Before I drove the screws to mate the two boards, I put a bead of polyurethane glue on the front board’s mating edge. I didn’t take a photo of the glue on the board, but put a little bit on a paper plate just before applying to the wood, and then a second squeeze on the plate immediately after the rack was installed (below, second photo). I used a damp paper towel to put some extra moisture along the mating surface of the rear board, and then drove all of the screws until the heads were flush with the rear face.
I used my stud finder to mark the two wall studs and their outlines, and with the rack held up to the wall, I determined and marked the location of the screws for attaching. I again pre-drilled the holes through both ends of the rack, for the screws that would attach to the studs, and chose to use three on each side for this larger piece. After I drove the first screw lightly into one stud, I verified level using the square’s bubble, before sinking a screw at the other end of the rack (below, top photo). After a quick look to make certain the tools fit, I drove the other four screws into their respective holes (below, bottom photo), and it was time to load the chisels.
Even though I hadn’t actually planned to have any other tools on the larger rack, I noticed there was plenty of room to put both my winding sticks, and my micrometer case, on top of the rack behind the chisel handles. I love to realize extra efficiencies when making a project.
It is great to have this many of my chisels so close to the bench, yet each with it’s own home. The time spent adding these racks was certainly well worth it, and will pay back in time saved in the future.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.