Hi all,

I'm getting ready to start my first build & am finding out what tools I need to acquire before I start.

I've read various articles and tutorials recommending surform or spokeshave tools for shaping the neck profile - which would you recommend?

Cheers :)


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I have been building for years without one, but I recently got a Dragon Rasp from Stewmac and I hardly need to use my spokeshave anymore. I have yet to try it on a hard maple neck, but it works beautifully for shaping walnut and even irregularly grained stuff like mahogany.

I have both and rarely use them, I love using my trusty cheap harbor freight rasp. i bought a three rasp set for like 6 bucks when I first got into this addiction. and I find I do most if not all my neck shaping with the flat rasp and the heel portions with the round and half round. then finish with 80 grit then 120 then 220. I usually draw a pencil line along either side of the back bone of the neck and about an 1/8 from the tip on the sides as rasp lines as im shaping to keep me straight . they help . Good luck and rasp with the grain . have fun it is the funnest part of building for me .

Shur form tool suck......not nearly sharp enough. In answer to you question....they are very different tools...shurform roughest of them all....spoke shave can be set to do just that take a single fine shaving more for refining the shape. Alot of good stuff is mentioned here ....faves.....files and fine cut rasps..they come in all profiles and sizes. One caveat on the machine cut rasps.....because are evenly cut can leave groves that look just like the teeth of th rasp.....just keep moving it as random as possible and if the rasp is sharp not too much pressure........my 2 cents or so

True about the tooth grooves. Need coarse sanding to remove.

Can buy (cheap) replacement blades for Shurform, but no way to sharpen them yourself.

Hi Anna. I much prefer a spokeshave to one of those cheesegrater surforms. Even more usesful is a decent rasp. The cheap ones work great but if you can afford one, or are planning to make several instruments, a more expensive one like the dragon rasps from Stewart-MacDonald are a joy to use. I agree with Vinylhed, shaping the neck is by far my favorite part of making these!

i use a utility knife, rasp, and finish with a foam sanding block. 

in defense of surform these are just to remove material in quick fashion, and they do that at least for mahogany. I clean  the cheese marks up with long 40 and 80 sanding blocks I made with sticky back sandpaper, I make a lot of different shape sanding block this way rounded nintys whatever is needed. But I always end up using my combo rasp. I remember that vid Jim  High school was the last I time had  seen a drawknife.

  Do I want a flat or round spokeshave or both to shape necks?

Pre-1800s there was no sand-parchment. Supposedly they used skin from sharks. (REAL sharkskin.)

Anybody living on a coastline got a channel to authentic shark pelts?

Surform Shaver (http://www.homebase.co.uk/en/homebaseuk/stanley-surform-moulded-sha...), shoe rasp and cabinet scrapers.  Then sandpaper.

Wow thanks, really surprised how much advice I've had - this forum is awesome! :)

I'm quite surprised how few people are saying they use a spokeshave. Mine's a cheap and cheerful Silverline 250mm flat one and it's been brilliant right from the get go. I've not used a curved spokeshave, but I might pick one up sometime


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