Auriou Rasps Review

With a Birthday on the way and some cabriole legs on the cards for a future project, I lashed out and invested in some new Auriou Rasps.

If you not familiar with Auriou, there is a great clip on youtube showing the manufacturing process.

I ordered, 3 rasps all 12inch in length, a 3 grain, 8 grain and 12 grain. 3 grain being the roughest and the 12 grain the finest.

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The rasps arrived in record time, and very well packaged, another bonus when buying from Lie Nielsen is that they include their own handles which complement these rasps very well.

I did a quick test cut, on some scrap Melunak and was very pleased with the speed and quality of cut. This photos show a comparison between the various grains and the result after 10 strokes.

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I was surprised and how similar they were in speed of cut, the main difference was with the size of the tooth marks left behind.

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Now onto a real project, shaping a cabriole leg. When shaping a leg, I try to do as much as possible with a spokeshave, but when fairing to the edge of the leg only rasp will get into those tight spaces.

I found the 12 grain did the job perfectly, the rougher grains simply took too much off and would have been ok if I started the process with them instead of the spokeshave.

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The finish of the 12 grain is very good, but I am seriously considered adding the 6 inch 15 grain to my arsenal to reduce the sanding stage as much as possible…

VALUE Rating: ★★★½☆

BUILD QUALITY Rating: ★★★★★

OVERALL Rating: ★★★★☆

Piano Stools finished…

The Stools are finally finished. 🙂

Finishing consisted of a coat of linseed oil followed about about 6 sprayed coats of pre-cat lacquer (75% gloss). I added a little walnut stain to the initial coats and only applied those coats to the lighter pieces (legs).

I am happy the way they turned out, especially considering I had no plans to base them on.

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Piano Stool with insert padded seat. Still might add some bracing to the lid to support the center section of the lid. Really like the way this turned out. This ones going into our bedroom to provide some much needed storage.

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Piano Stool with full padded seat. This stool is a touch bigger, but honestly until the upholstery is completed it doesn’t look like much at all. Hopefully my better half will tackle this soon so we can put them into use and out of the garage (actually the kitchen lol).

Piano Stools continued…

Back to the pianos stools again this weekend 🙂

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The Second stool has an inset padded seat. I cut dadoes for some 6mm MDF and dominoed the frame together using 6mm x 40mm Dominoes.

Not 100% sure that there is enough strength in that slot to support a person, I might end up putting some bracing under the lid for some added safety.

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Here are a couple of pictures of the stools, pretty much finished. The second stool is still in need of some arm rests and they need a final sanding, and they are ready for a finish.

I’ll probably start the finishing process with a coat of linseed oil to darken the timber a shade. One Stool will be left unstained getting a couple of coats of lacquer. The stool with the inset seat will be darkend to match the existing furniture in the room.

Lee Valley Spokeshaves – Review

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Recently I have been taking advantage of the booming Aussie Dollar. One of my latest purchases has been a couple of Spokeshaves from Lee Valley.LINK: Lee Valley Spokeshaves

I’ve made a few attempts at using a spokeshave in the past but could never get the results I was after, usually resorting to raps/files and sandpaper. This time around I thought I’d invest in some better quality shaves and see if I can get the results I knew I should be getting.

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Open the box you get a well protected spokeshave, a set of instructions and a yellow envelope holding a couple of plastic shims to close the mouth if needed.

The picture on the right is showing the Lee Valley spokeshaves compared to the more common Stanley 51/151’s (I think thats the model no’s) You can see how much nicer they are and the size difference especially the round bottom shaves on the Right.


One of the biggest differences you will notice is in the thickness of the blades, the Lee Valley Blades are double the thickness of the older Stanley spokeshaves.
I am sure this goes a long way to help reduce chatter when shaving away. I find this also gave the tool and nice balance when in use.

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Out of the box I had no problems getting shavings from some scrap. Now I am able to take the cuts I always thought a spokeshave could, and if there is a problem using these I am sure its the user not the tools.

I can see these soon becoming my favorite tools for cleaning up bandsawn work and for refining the shapes on all kinds of work. 🙂

VALUE Rating: ★★★★☆

BUILD QUALITY Rating: ★★★★★

OVERALL Rating: ★★★★½

Piano Stools

Now on to something more practical, some piano stools. I am making 2 stools each slightly different , one without an armrest and a fabric top, the other with arm rests and a solid top with a fabric insert.

Note: You can see a full thread on this build under the projects tab.

Piano Stools
A nice pile of rough sawn Melunak for AF Timbers. There is more than enough here for the two stools.

I am hoping to use the left over to start on a wall hung cabinet for handtools in a future project.

I picked a couple of similarly colored boards and rough cut them to length and cleaned them up.

There is quite a variance in color between boards, depending on how the finished piece looks I’ll apply some stain to even things out when finishing the pieces.

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After letting them sit for a few days I trimmed the boards to final dimensions and cut out the x8 leg blanks on the tablesaw.

Piano Stools
Giving all the boards a quick once over with the handplane.

Piano Stools
All the leg tapers were marked on the legs for easy reference, technically if your cutting the boards on a taper jig you dont need all the marks but they come in handy when finishing with a handplane or keeping an eye out for mistakes.

Basic taper jig I whipped up using some scrap 12mm MDF and a few jig fittings.

I bought 10 toggle clamps on eBay a while back and I just re-use them on jigs when needed, turned out very handy and they only take a minute to screw in anywhere they are needed.

Piano Stools

Piano Stools

Tapers were cleaned up with a handplane and legs milled to final dimensions. The legs developed a nice shine after handplaning. I think I’ll either round over the edges or chamfer them to soften those corners, still unsure what to do just yet. I’ll wait till I do a dry fit before making a decision.

Piano Stools

Piano Stools

Joints being cut ready for glue up using a domino.

Piano Stools
I used x3 6mm domino’s per joint, I trimmed them down from 40mm to 35mm so the mortises wont meet up in the legs.

Chippendale Mirror the finish.

Frame Back

Finally after paying my dues in the Garden, I got to spend some time in the workshop.

With the front all glued up and ready for finish, I got to work on the back putting in some blocks for additional support and making a mounting bracket from some old brackets I had lying around.

Not 100% sure about the grain direction on those support blocks, but they are only about 2mm thick so I don’t think it matters that much anyway.

Frame Hook
Bracket was drilled and counter sunk, the hook hole was cut with a scrollsaw. The hook hole is oversized to allow a little sideways moment to help straighten out the frame when its hung on a wall. The whole bracket was morticed into the frame to allow it to sit closer to the wall.

Now time for a finish, in this case pre-catalysed lacquer my finishing schedule was:

4-6 Coats of 100% gloss thinned at about 4:1
Rub back the finish with 600 grit sandpaper
4-6 Coats of 75% gloss thinned about 2:1

I spraying using a HVLP gun with a 1.2mm tip.

Initially I tried to apply the gloss coats at about 10:1 but the finishing wasn’t leveling out so I increased the thinners to resolve this.

In these two pictures you can see the results after the rubbing back.

I used a high gloss because its clearer ie no dulling agents added. This allows me to build a clear finish quickly and build some depth to the finish. The gloss level of the final coats allow you to adjust the shine later on.

Here you can see the results after rubbing back the finish, the low spots appear glossy. The photo makes them look pretty significant but in reality I doubt they’d be much more than 1/4 the thickness of a piece of paper.

If I were after a glass like finish I would repeat the gloss coats and rubbing back until the gloss area’s disappeared. Personally I like a little texture, it is wood after all, so I stopped my gloss coats at this point. I also find that as the finish continues to dry of the next week or 2 this will flatten out even more.


Here is the quality assurance officer, not looking to impressed!

Top figure

Here is a quick picture showing the top of the frame, its gives you a good idea of the grain in the veneer. These were taken in full sun with the wet finish so not ideal but you get the idea.

Bottom Figure
Bottom of the picture frame.

I’ll post up a finished picture soon, beveled glass has been ordered and is due in a week or two.

Sometimes its better to do things the hardway.

Scrub Plane

When I first started working with wood, the weekend was a mad rush to get things done, my goal was to just get the job done. Come Monday morning as long as I had some pictures to show my mates or post on a forum I was happy.

Inevitably when I sat back in the following weeks all I saw was the little mistakes I made on the way, an out of square piece here, a chip there. Output and speed were my primary goals.

Now my goal is to be a better woodworker, to develop and improve my skills. This got me thinking, other than taking a year off and going back to school or doing an apprenticeship how can I do it? It just didn’t make sense to me to be honing my skills on a precious piece of a project and my time was to precious to spend it practicing. Let face it, no one wants to spend hours sawing to a line or cutting dovetails only to see it end up in the bin.

I think I have an answer, do some of the easy things the hard way, sounds weird huh? Let me explain.

During a build most of your work cannot be seen, the insides of a cabinet, the runners of a drawer. Most of the time we just rush off to a machine, fire it up and make the cut. While this may speed things up it contributes nothing to you as a woodworker and that should be one of the main goals on every piece you touch. Now if you grab the same piece and rip it to length with a hand saw, or square it up with the hand plane it may take you a little longer and you might make a mistake but who cares, its an unseen component remember.

What you will soon notice though is that rip saw which used to bounce all around will start better, your cuts will get straighter, that hand plane will start to sing. Your hand tools will become an extension of your body.

You are essentially practicing without practicing. In the future when it comes to making that perfect cut, or planing a key component you will realise you’ve already done the hard yards you have done it x100 before. Muscle memory will kick in and you’ll perform the task like a master.

Now I am not saying do everything the hard way, but choose some unimportant components from every project and make it the hard way. I guarantee you will grow and improve as woodworker with every project you do.

If you have any suggestions or tricks please post them up 🙂

** Scrub Plane picture courtesy of Lie Nielsen

Chippendale Mirror Final Assembly

Ah the weekend is here, finally some real shed time 🙂

I routed the dadoes and squared up the edges with a small mortice chisel, everything is ready to receive the scroll work.

I have to say that Tasmanian Myrtle is beautiful stuff to work with, its up there as one of my favorites.

Planing Down

Planing down

Understandably the panels are over sized, so I planed all the panels down to fit.
Holding the work in between a couple of clamped cauls worked a lot better than simply holding everything down by hand. No risk of snapping anything in half either (been there done that 🙁 )

I love this part of the process, the swishing of a hand plane, watching those curly shavings peeling off your work everything slowly coming together. All those separate little pieces slowly merging into one piece of furniture.

Dry Fit

Here we go, the final dry fit. This time with the ears on the right way up!

Cant wait too see the veneers with some finish on them to pop that grain.

Unfortunately with the wet weather the way it is at the moment, I think I’ll put off the finishing til the weather picks up. I really want to take my time and will probably spend a full day spraying a number of coats and rubbing it back

Glue Up

Final Glue-up, looks trickier than it was.

A couple of little “C” clamps to hold the sides in place and two Besseys’ to fit the top and bottom and were all done.

Not 100% sure yet but I might put some glue blocks on the back to further strengthen the scroll work, only issue is that there isnt much room back there.