February 2013 – I knew these old machines could turn useful again one day…

 

As far as I can remember, these milling machines have been waiting, useless, in a corner of the Liogier workshop. They date back from the periode when my grandfather was producing, besides hand-stitched rasps, some milled teeth files for car body repairing (yes, at this time they took the effort to repair the bodywork of a car after an accident, they did not replace the part immediately…).

 

I’ve never been able to bring myself to scrap them, perhaps waiting unconsciously a reason to restart them one day.

The opportunity came thanks to some of my english speaking customers (from UK, Australia, Canada & USA) that kept asking me if I could make them some « floats ». It took us some times to understand each other because these tool strangely never existed in France !

 

So here it is now !

After overcoming the difficulties of transcontinental understanding and many technical difficulties, the first model of Liogier float, a standard flat joinery float, came out the workshop.

 

The joinery float popular among patternmakers and cabinetmakers of the past has regained popularity among modern hand tool users. This joinery float is ideal for smoothing wood surfaces, such as the cheeks of tenons or the sides of mortises; anywhere that a flat smooth surface is desired.

 

This float has a broad face which makes it easy to register on a surface ensuring your work-piece stays flat and helps to avoid round-overs where they are not desired. The float can be used right out of the case, however a quick sharpening with an extra thin taper file will improve the cut. The float should be sharpened occasionally with use to maintain a keen cutting edge.

 

Spec : Width : 25mm (approx 1″) / Thickness : 4mm / Working length : 180 mm (approx 7″) / Total length with handle : 330mm (approx 13″) / 9 tpi / in the webstore

 

I am currently working on extending the range. The next model may be a cranked tang float (a bit like an ironing rasp) or a thiner flat one. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have an advice about floats or an idea on which models can be useful. Thank you !

 

Noël Liogier

 

Edit 23rd of February : I have found a solution to do the straight floats in both version, push strokes or pull strokes. In addition, doing a crancked version was fairly simple : so we know have 4 different floats now !

 

Edit 25th of February : Richard Wile from Canada shares with us a video about these floats.

11 réponses à February 2013 – I knew these old machines could turn useful again one day…

  1. Trent Doherty dit :

    Hi, I would be interested in purchasing floats from you if you produced more styles. I have purchased rasps from you in the past and have been very happy with them. You can get mor information and check out your competition at the Lie Nielsen website

    http://www.lie-nielsen.com/catalog.php?cat=534

    They offer joinery and plane makers floats. Thanks for listening.

    • admin_liogier dit :

      I think it was 3 left-handed rasps I did for you last year. I’m very glad you enjoy them ! Regarding LN floats, they are recognized as good quality and well designed tools. But I always try to bring some improvement to the state of the arts, so any new ideas are always welcomed. Actually some « new » ideas can be found in the ancient floats that many woodworkers have in their workshop.
      Noel

  2. David Rompel dit :

    I’ve had the privelege of owing one of your rasps and love it. Now i’m ready to order the new float but now you’ve got me sharpening it. How does one do that. Please reply.

    • Noël dit :

      Resharpening the float shouldn’t occur soon. Before that, I will try to put online a video showing how to do this.

      PS : If one of my customers who speaks better english than me is willing to help with this video, you are more than welcomed !

  3. Richard Hvizdak dit :

    Sir,
    I would be willing to possibly help with your video. Please contact me if interested. Thank you – Richard

  4. Charlie Moore dit :

    I am so happy to hear about you making floats. I am really enjoying my rasp and plan on ordering
    again from you in the near future.
    One question for you, do the floats cut on the pull or push stroke?
    Thanks and Cheers!

    • Noël dit :

      Thank you. I’m very glad you enjoy the Sapphire modeller rasp I made you.
      The float cuts on the push stroke. I will edit its description in the webstore to make it clearer, thank you.

  5. Dan Roberts dit :

    Hey Noel. It’s wonderful to hear that you are now making floats. I have a few Iwasaki Japanese Floats and a few Lie Nielson floats for fitting bracing into the side assembly of a guitar. I will be buying the 1″ wide float soon to join my 8 Liogier rasps. If you can make one about 1/4″ wide and one about 3/8″ wide I would be able to use those quite regularly I think. The teeth look slightly shallower than the Lie Nielson planmaker’s float I have so I think it may work better for fitting braces although the LN float works just great. As for sharpening these floats guys, if you have the skill to get chisels really sharp etc. you will have no problem getting a float sharp. Using the correct fine files and machinist layout fluid (an ink of sorts) This allows you to see where your file is removing material and to keep track of when a tooth is sharp and which teeth you’ve already done. Not to worry. Talk with you soon Noel.

    Dan Roberts

    • Noël dit :

      Hi Dan, hope everything is fine for you.
      Do you have a specific idea in mind of when to use a 1/4″ and a 3/8″ wide or would these be floats be « general purposes » ?

  6. FenceFurniture dit :

    I should pay more attention to this blog!

    Just as background info for those who are interested in these floats, I sent a a sample around to 4 very experienced Aussie Woodworkers, and they all said it was the best float ever, with unparalleled cutting ability. Terry Gordon (the planemaker) raved about it, saying how good it was at cutting Gidgee timber (which is damn near as hard as Ebony). In fact, Terry said that it was better than the High Speed Steel floats that he makes for himself.

    They are very easy to sharpen with a 6″ Slim Taper file – hey, if I can put an edge on it to please Terry then it has to be easy!

    We are eagerly looking forward to the next models.

    Regards
    Brett