Chris Schwarz's Blog

Auriou, French Rasp Maker Since 1856, Closes Its Doors

The finest maker of handmade rasps and rifflers has closed its factory in Saint-Juery, France, after a protracted labor struggle with its workers, according to a release from Michel Auriou.

The Auriou company has been making rasps by hand since 1856, and have only recently become available to woodworkers in the United States and Canada, where they have been hailed as outstanding tools. Several of the North American catalog companies that carry the tools still have stock on hand (get your credit card ready), but once that is gone, no more tools are expected.

Mike Hancock, the Auriou representative for the United States and the United Kingdom, said that the company had been growing quickly during the last few years, but that some employees refused to work overtime to keep up with demand. The situation deteriorated during the factory’s normal August shut down, and now the company has been handed over to liquidators.

The full text of Michel Auriou’s statement about the closure can be downloaded below.

Auriou’s rasps are, without a doubt, the most prized rasps in the Popular Woodworking shop, even more so than the Nicholson patternmaker’s rasps that most people consider as the best. Auriou also made carving tools, adzes and other tools.

The teeth of the Aurious are made by hand, which gives them a slight randomness in their arrangement on the blank. This randomness creates a rasp that cuts quite smoothly and quickly. If you’d like to read more about how these rasps were made, Joel Moskowitz of Tools for Working Wood has written an excellent explanation of the process that you can read on his web site.

If you are looking to purchase Aurious, here are a few of the places that we know that carry them. Act fast.

As to our recommendations for the rasps to have, that really depends on your work. We typically use a cabinetmaker’s rasp followed up by one of the modeller’s rasps. We’ve also used the rifflers, which are excellent, if your work demands it. I’m not sure how fine ours are. The cabinetmaker’s rasp is coarser than the modeller’s rasp, which is a good combination for us.

- Tools for Working Wood
- Lee Valley Tools
- Lie-Nielsen Toolworks
- Woodcraft
- Highland Hardware
- The Best Things
- Classic Hand Tools

And if all of those sources are sold out, we recommend you take a good look at the Gramercy Tools handmade rasps from Tools for Working Wood. Though not quite as perfect as the Aurious, they are high-quality tools.

Download the full text of Michel Auriou’s statement.

AuriouStatement.htm (6.47 KB)

- Christopher Schwarz

7 thoughts on “Auriou, French Rasp Maker Since 1856, Closes Its Doors

  1. Earl Harding

    Mr Penn,

    Having lived in France for 5 years I can assure you that the labor laws in France are insane and result in very high unemployment in the under 30 age bracket.

    The economy is stagnant and investment in industry is very low. Did you read the press release and notice that the workers got 2 years pay when the company went under?

    I’d suggest that you move to France for a few years ahnd get some first hand experience like I did and speak from experience, not innuendo.

    Earl.

  2. R. Penn

    I just wish to add, at this late date, that I, for one, fully support the workers, after all, it was the workers that made the rasps, not the management. It’s easy to blame people who actually want a life beyond their work & then hire "Eastern European" workers who will work for a pittance. Then all of us woodworking artistes can have our gorgeous rasps. But, at what expense?

  3. Jim Linn

    Chris,

    Michel should move to the UK and open up with Eastern European immigrants. I’m serious. They are proving to be the hardest workers we have and would certainly welcome overtime. It would also stick two fingers up to the French. I’m not sure but I think it’s the law that the British do that at every opportunity. (that last bit wasn’t serious)

    Jim

  4. Tom Scott

    Hey Chris,

    I notice that the LN website now says that Auriou is "temporarily" out of business, and that they are no longer taking web orders.

    "Temporarily"?

    Is there something they know that the rest of us don’t?

    Tom

  5. Andy

    I have two of Michel’s rasps and they are wonderful. One can only hope that he will start a new company soon, or that someone like Tom Lie-Nielsen will invite him to join his company and continue production.
    -Andy

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