I timed myself the other day on how long it takes me to shape a neck with a rasp and wind up with a 220 grit finish and it takes me right at an hour.  I have been pretty happy with my rasp but this time seems excessive.  I am not working in a frenzy, but I am not taking a break in there either.  I'm just patiently working it down into a neck I can be happy with and have the neck flow into the peghead.  

I'm probably going to spring for the large dragon rasps in fine and coarse to see if it won't speed things up somewhat but wanted to know if anyone here is using them.


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No, but I have a riffler a gun guy loaned me and I forgot to return it.  Wonder if that would work?

Hey there I have heard good things about them. I myself use the Nicholson Pattern-makers rasps. As far as time goes it comes down to how much shaping you are really doing.  Here is an example of what I do on a basic neck.  For me the transitions are always the tricky part. I start with a spoke shave and use the rasps for knocking off the high spots. I also find a card scraper very useful.  I would say go for it.  

Nice neck there Jim!  I especially like the transition.  I read several great reviews, but was wanting to converse with someone who has them before taking the plunge.  I've never used a spoke shave.  I've used the Stanley shurform files which I think were originally made for car body shops, but they cut pretty aggressively until they get dull.  I've got 12 neck blanks that I'm going to carve and I'm looking to make my life easier.  I'm refining my necks by the rapid build that cbg's afford us and I want an upgrade in my neck shaping tools.

I'll be sure and share my 2 cents worth when I get them.

Noticed that you have some neck blanks and was wondering what these blanks look like. Dimensions and wood choices. I have been thinking about carving necks for a while. I did buy the Dragon rasps from stewmac and use them for a number of shaping chores. they work very well and remove wood quickly. Would you post a couple of pics of your neck blanks...Peter

Marcus, go to my page and go through my pictures and you will see necks in various stages.  If there is something specific you want to see let me know and I'll be happy to respond.

Charlotte....... what is this Dragon Rasp? is it what Jim refers as a Pattern-makers rasp?

I never have too much luck with spoke shaves but I am fond of the scrapers after I rough it out. I try for the quick and simple method to get a neck done but I'll never get the finish you get with your necks....... To each their own, what ever works.

Jim..... thats a fine neck!

Hey Corbie,


I hate to think I might spend $100 for a couple of rasps that don't cut any faster than what I have.  I'll probably bite the bullet tonight.

Thanks Charlotte....... I had a look see on that link.......they look cool to me.

Thank you for the kind words. The pattern makers rasps are made by Nicholson I bought them back in the day when they were the best game around for shaping cabriole legs. Now like with so many things boutique quality tools are available. That being said my pattern makers rasps do a nice job. Back in the day they were about the same price as what you are quoting. You might get a first hand opinion on one of the more "conventional instrument building sites" Like music instrument makers forum.  As far as spoke shaves go I am a big fan, they need to be sharp and set up. Fine Woodworking published a special issue a few years back on hand tools that was awesome. I recommend it for less then $10. that would point you in the right direction. Of course you could just goole search or look on youtube as well on setting up spoke shaves. As far as sharpening goes I have a worksharp for roughing out and use water stones for honing. I like the worksharp very much though . I actually sold my tormek  Sorry if it's information overload but one thing leads to another and often comes together as a means to an end.  Best of luck there are a number of ways to shape necks no one right way. 

I'm familiar with the spoke shaves and their setup but I find the length of the shoe to short ...... must be a trick of the wrist and my beat up hands can't seem to get the knack. I do rough out with draw knives and the handles give more control but they can be very agressive with the grain and things can get ugly fast. We ain't making wheel barrow handles here. When I make flag poles I use the drawknife to ease the square butt down to meet the round before I set up my mast lathe to spin sand them for their finish.

Sorry not to take over your post but  I also use a shave pony to shape my necks on you'll find information on building your own on the link below. You may find it useful to you as well. 


As I used to be involved in bow making I have a shaving horse in my garage and use a draw knife for the rough part - takes about 10 minutes. Ten more for the transitions with a rasp and finally some sanding with fine paper. If the draw knife is a good one and very sharp it is easily possible to work down pretty precise with not much sanding needed.

For working in the direction of the wood grain nothing beats a draw knife...just my opinion...


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