Lill's Quilt Rack: Part IX It's Getting Shapely In Here

With the cross pieces rough shaped and fit to length, I started the shaping of the quilt rack by hand shaping the edge of the maple front legs with my Shinto rasp. This was a little hard to reach due to the shelf being in place and it was also fairly slow. After roughing the curve of one front leg where it met the shelf, I soon switched methods.

The first, tepid shaping.

I dissembled the rack and began the rounding work by addressing the inside edge of each middle and rear leg at the overlap joint. These were the edge which buried into the adjoining, proud leg where they overlapped. Here I wanted a subtle curve, not the large flowing curve I would use elsewhere. When I found that I couldn’t fit my 1/8” round over router bit in because the bearing didn’t clear the leg joint, I used my Lee Valley cornering tool to create a simple 1/8” radius round over. By curving this edge, I not only maintained continuity with the overall curved design, I created a shadow line where the lack of curve could have revealed an uneven joint.

The Lee Valley 1/8" cornering tool worked wonderfully.

it left a softness to the finished joint.

Then I took out my RAS 115. I used a hard platen with 36 grit paper. Used with this setup on speed 1 the RAS is more like a gentle grinder than an aggressive sander. It effectively removes wood. With a little practice it leaves a fairly smooth curve.

Time for fun.

With the grunt work done by the RAS, I ran my hands over the curves. Any spots which were flat or where the curve felt uneven were further rounded and flared with the Shinto Rasp. This was the most important part of the shaping, as an uneven curve at this point would remain through the latter shaping stages. Then I went over the entire edge with my Auriou #9. This is a large, medium toothed rasp which further refined the shape and smoothed the surface. Finally I ran used my Gramercy 5” Cabinet Maker’s rasp over the whole curved surface. The Gramercy leaves a very smooth surface. So smooth, it’s sometimes hard to believe it came from a rasp.

Slowly, each leg went from square to this.

This process of RAS, Shinto, Auriou and Gramercy was repeated over and over and over as I worked my way over almost the entirety of the front and rear faces of each leg, turning the square edge into a flowing curve. The only locations I didn’t round over via this process were the leg-to-leg joints on the front leg. The rounding of these joints would have to wait until after glue up in order to avoid gaps.

This clamping worked, but was less than ideal.

I’ve learned that my face vise is less than ideal for the constant clamping, unclamping and re-clamping necessary for this type of round over work. I’m leaning towards a leg vise on my next bench. If anyone can speak to its utility regarding this task, I’d love to hear it.

Next time I'll get to sanding. For more quilt rack posts, check here.

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