Hand-Cut Rasp - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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Hand-Cut Rasp

Auriou - Hand-Cut Rasp

This rasp has been replaced by the the 9-in. cabinet rasp, a similar model, since Auriou's reopening in 2008.

$114.19 (9-in. cabinet rasp) (As of 10/25/2005)

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Editor's Review:

by Chris Gochnour

review date: October 25, 2005

Auriou, a French company that has been producing high-quality, hand-cut rasps since 1856, is one of the few companies in the world still doing so. These abrading tools are used for sculptural shaping and detail work. Unlike a file, which has long rows of teeth across the width of the tool, rasps have smaller teeth cut all over the face. Auriou makes an array of rasps in different shapes and sizes, all with varied stitching (the number of teeth) and grain (the size of teeth). They also make left- and right-handed versions.

One advantage of hand-cut rasps is the way the teeth are positioned on the surface of the tool. Because the placement of the teeth varies, the result is a chatter-free cut. Auriou rasps, unlike machine-made rasps, have teeth up to the edges of the tool, allowing you to cut all the way into a corner. The teeth also extend to the tapered tip of the tool, enabling use in hard-to-reach places.

I tested an 8-in. Auriou cabinetmaker’s rasp (with a fine No. 13 grain cut, flat on one face, half-round on the other) on some Chippendale chairs I was working on. The rasps made quick work of cleaning up and perfecting the shapes on the pierced back splat and sculpting the crest rail.

Woodworkers who do a lot of sculpting and shaping may want to consider the advantages of Auriou rasps. The only disadvantage of these rasps is their cost. The cabinet rasp I used sells for $80, roughly twice what you’d pay for a quality machine-made tool. Auriou rasps are available from www.toolsforwoodworking.com (800-426-4613) and from www.thebesthings.com (800-884-1373).

Editor's Note: The information in this article was updated on 1/20/2009. After closing its doors in October 2007, Auriou resumed operations in November 2008, and tools are once again in full production, being made at Forge de St Juery (FSJ) which is the new name for the old Auriou Toolworks. After the company's reopening, the 8-in. Auriou cabinetmaker's rasp, which was featured in this article, was replaced by the the 9-in. cabinet rasp, a similar model that sells for $114.19. Auriou rasps are available from www.forge-de-saint-juery.com.

—Chris Gochnour makes furniture in Washington, D.C.

Editor Test Results:

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Auriou
Manufacturer's Web Site
Manufacturer's Phone Number

Hand-stitched rasps have changed my way of woodworking. I love these tools. Auriou rasps are great and according to me Liogier rasps are the very top quality... and a bit less expensive.

These are fantastic, well worth the expense. They are now again available

I use them for refining stringed instrument necks and moulds. Faster cutting and cleaner results than other hand stitched rasps I've tried.

I have two Auriou rasps, a 10" 9 grain cabinetmakers rasp and a 9 grain riffler. These are excellent rasps that seem to cut better and faster than the Nicholsen rasps that I've used. I've had my cabinetmaker's rasp for three years now and it hasn't shown any signs of dulling (even after extended use on teak).

An outstanding tool that shapes wood quickly and accurately. For its speed of cut, the surface is surprisingly smooth. My favorite usage is to adjust dovetail pins; I use an 8" modelmaker's rasp with a 14 grain.Alan Turnerwww.PhiladelphiaFurnitureWorkshop.com

Using this rasp is an experience different from any other wood removal tool that I have used. Working in three dimensions in order to make curves, indentations, and level changes is a snap! The control that the user has working the wood gives a better technique and finer results.

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