by Robert W. Lang
In 2004, Popular Woodworking introduced hand-cut French rasps to American woodworkers. Those tools from Auriou were definitely a cut above what was previously available, and we happily added them to our tool kits.
A few months ago, we learned about another French maker, Liogier – a company similar to Auriou Toolworks at Forge de Saint Juery (Auriou’s current name). Both are family owned and have been making these tools for generations. I ordered a couple of cabinetmaker’s rasps and have been using them for the last few months. As with the Auriou rasps, these tools are a delight to use, and well worth the price.
I tested a 250mm No. 9 grain and a 200mm No. 11 grain. These are middle of the road in size and grain, and either would be a good introduction. The handles are comfortable, the teeth are sharp and consistent and the tools simply felt like part of my hand. They remove material quickly, but with an amazing amount of control. The finish left on the wood is nice; a quick follow-up with a card scraper removes the fine tooth marks.
Liogier does not have an American distributor at present, but online ordering is simple, with shipping to the U.S. for about $15. The variety of sizes, shapes and grains (coarseness of cut) of available tools is staggering, and left- and right-handed versions are available. Start with one, use it for a while and you’ll soon be ordering more. (Price: $62-$137)
From the April 2012 issue #196.
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