Shop's Log #7: Gramercy Rasp Gets New Handle

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Blog entry by terryR posted 03-17-2014 11:21 PM 2327 reads 1 time favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Cherry Tobacco Pipe Part 7 of Shop's Log series Part 8: Two More Pipes »

Well, this is a short blog that I sorta wish I didn’t have to share, but not every day in the shop is cherry…

Was shaping a little smoking pipe from Briar the other day, when the handle came off my year old Gramercy Saw Tote Maker’s Rasp. I was sorta shocked! The hand-stitched teeth in the steel really make this a fine user, but less so without the handle.

Upon closer inspection, I could see no evidence that the handle’s hole, the steel’s tang, or the brass ferrule had ever seen signs of glue…

In fact, the hole drilled for the tang was too large, and wood/steel contact only occurred for the final 1/8“ of the drilled hole. I was dismayed to see no scratch marks on the inside of the brass ferrule or on the tang of the blade. I know the handle was made in USA, but whomever assembled this tool was in a hurry, or missed a day during instructions.

No biggie…gives me a chance to turn a new handle, in fact. So…let it be Cocobolo…

So, onto the lathe with a 4/4 piece of the sweet stuff…round and round she goes! First, I turned the square blank round, then placed it in the 4-jaw chucks. And, after the usual re-turning round, I drilled a .200“ hole for the tang…a bit smaller than what I had received. You can my high-tech depth stop on the drill bit above.

With the proper size hole finished, I used the 60 degree revolving cone in the tailstock to keep the piece held in center while I shaped the handle. The area underneath the brass ferrule comes first in my book. I have to constantly turn the lathe off and on and pull the tailstock out of the way to test fit the ferrule…even using 100 grit sandpaper the last few thou’ of an inch. It’s that important! I also turn v-grooves into the wood underneath the ferrule to allow extra room for the epoxy. Sorry, I missed a photo of that portion…next time…

I shaped the handle according to a template I made months ago, but allowed for any differences that popped up. Just the general shape, please. Sanded on the lathe to 600 grit, then removed so I could subject the cocobolo to the THREE buffing wheels in wait.

First buff is Tripoli, second is White Diamond, third is just cotton that I use to buff the coat of wax finish. And, IMO, this is some fine wax…

I just use the clear so far. But love it absolutely for the sheen it creates and how it deepens colors. Of course, this is cocobolo…you could polish it to 2000 grit and finish it with ear wax and it would STILL look like a million dollars!

And, for the important part, the epoxy. No, not borg epoxy, please. Spend your hard earned money on quality epoxy and soft tissue paper I always say! I usually heat the epoxy with the heat gun till it drips easily from the bottle, and I heat the wood, the mixing stick, everything that comes in contact with the epoxy. Especially when it’s winter.

And, no, I don’t have a clamp fetish!

Well, OK, yes I do.

And for the finished handle…

Came out so nice, I’ve been trying to get the handle OFF my other Gramercy rasp so I can make them match! But, it won’t budge…yet.

I’m certain that Tools for Working Wood and Gramercy have the utmost respect for fine tools, and somehow, this rasp slipped through QA to find its way in Alabama. No real complaints from me on a $50 tool since I can crank out handles and enjoy it. The hand-stitched teeth still perform madly, and the shape of this rasp makes it a joy to shape round objects.

But…ummm…I just may stick with Auriou or Lioger from now on. Unless I can buy hand-stitched steel without the handle at a discount! Then, that’s not a problem…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

18 comments so far

View TerryDowning's profile


1077 posts in 2140 days

#1 posted 03-17-2014 11:29 PM

Nice looking handle Bud!!

That cocobolo came out great.

What is the brand on the wax?? I can’t tell from the photo.

-- - Terry

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2591 days

#2 posted 03-17-2014 11:30 PM

You “handled” it well.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View terryR's profile


7168 posts in 2331 days

#3 posted 03-17-2014 11:33 PM

Terry, it’s Liberon wax. stinky good.

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View CL810's profile


3797 posts in 3011 days

#4 posted 03-17-2014 11:50 PM

Beautiful work T!

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4089 days

#5 posted 03-18-2014 01:01 AM

So, you got a handle on it :-). Good story and the handle looks amazing. I just might have to order some of that Liberon wax, I have been using Renaissance Wax – how does it compare to that, or are talking Apples and Oranges?

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3314 days

#6 posted 03-18-2014 01:13 AM

I like that buffing wheel rig. Can you show us (i.e., me) some more details?

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View AnthonyReed's profile


9755 posts in 2463 days

#7 posted 03-18-2014 01:38 AM

Wonderful Terry. Always a pleasure to see your work.


-- ~Tony

View terryR's profile


7168 posts in 2331 days

#8 posted 03-18-2014 01:04 PM

Thanks, again, guys.

Bill, PM sent, but I say use that Renaissance till it’s gone…great wax!

JJ, the buffing rig is sold by several vendors online, this one is by Beall…

Mine came from Klingspor since I was ordering sandpaper from them as well, but is the same. It’s essentially a 17” long mandrel that one end fits a MT2, and the opposite end can be grabbed by your tail stock. Uses pvc spacers and washers to hold 3 buffing wheels. They run about $95, but I’m already sold on the time savings! Not to mention the final finish…love it!

For the record, most turners apply Tung Oil to the wood piece, allow to dry, then start with this 3 buff system. I’m out of Tung, so skipped that step…but will grab some in town later this week, and see if deepens the wood colors…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View TerryDowning's profile


1077 posts in 2140 days

#9 posted 03-18-2014 05:40 PM

Or you can make your own multi-wheel buffer (2, 3, or even 4 if desired).
1/2” all thread
6 nuts and 6 washers to hold the wheels in place
sufficient 3/4” or 1” PVC I used 3/4” on mine to act as spacers between the nuts
a starter drill for putting a hole for a live center on one end of the rod.

I use a collet chuck with a 1/2” collet to hold and spin mine. I had the all thread on hand form a different project, 6 nuts and washers cost me less than 10 bucks.

Great time saver.

-- - Terry

View Slyy's profile


2840 posts in 1678 days

#10 posted 03-18-2014 05:49 PM

Great save terry, that cocobolo handle looks pretty sweet. Thx for bringing the buffing wheel attachment for the lathe to my attention…. More reasons to get one!

-- Jake -- "Not only do we live among the stars, the stars live within us." - Neil Degrasse Tyson

View terryR's profile


7168 posts in 2331 days

#11 posted 03-18-2014 11:49 PM

Very nice, Terry I knew there was a shop made solution! I already had the buffs, so splurged on the mandrel for $40. I’m not much of a metal worker…yet…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15368 posts in 2641 days

#12 posted 03-18-2014 11:57 PM

Wow, beautiful finish on the handle! Very nice work.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8517 posts in 2005 days

#13 posted 03-19-2014 03:52 AM

I really like the pattern you use for your handles. The ones you share with me are prized in my shop.

And I didn’t even know there were better quality epoxies….now I do;-)

Good stuff man. I need to go back and read more of your blogs.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15368 posts in 2641 days

#14 posted 03-19-2014 03:55 AM

Now I think you need to include a pic showing a bit of the ole’ shop log if your going to name this series “Shop’s Log…”

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View CFrye's profile


10229 posts in 1863 days

#15 posted 03-19-2014 08:20 AM

Terry, that new handle is a thing of beauty. What kind of wood was the old one? I checked the Gramercy website. It said “With wood handle.” Well that was helpful! Thanks for the step by step.
Edit: and thanks for the tip on heating the epoxy!

-- God bless, Candy

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