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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


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Showing 8 comments
  • Christopher Schwarz

    The specs for the two rasps we use are in the entry above. One fairly coarse cabinetmaker’s rasp. One finer modeller’s rasp.

    I really like the Aurious. They are the best rasps I’ve ever used, including vintage NOS high-end rasps. There is a discussion on WoodCentral this week that has some dissenting opinion and alternate sources that you might want to check out.

    Good rasps are like planes. Pick the right one and you can shape wood quickly and with little clean-up. So you do less sanding and scraping.

    If your work is rectilinear, you probably won’t use them much. I like curves.

  • Mattias in Durham, NC

    Chris,
    Dang it. I (like Bruce) would like to reply to some of the comments, but will respect your wish. Now, how can I cash in my favor? Just kidding.

    Could you elaborate on how these rasps are worth their steep price tag, as compared to things I already own: microplane, draw knife, block plane, chisels, various forms of sand paper (Dremel, belt sander, or hand sanding), or regular files?

    I would like to make a cabriolet leg table maybe one time just to try (my wife doesn’t really like that style of furniture anyway). What other task am I not thinking of where these rasps would excel? If I did get one or two, which ones should I get?

    Thanks!

  • Bruce Jackson

    For my part, Chris, consider your favor done without question. I bit my tongue bloody when I read one gentleman’s reaction to the management-worker conflict as a "failure of socialism". Just for the record, my dad was a supervisor for almost 18 years and he would be the first to say that he would have never ever supervised men (and women) in a non-unionized plant, but then he made supervisor after something like 20 years or more as a skilled tradesman himself – so he has seen this thing from both sides of the boss’s desk. I’d say more, but you aked a favor and for my part I will respect your wish.

  • Chris Schwarz

    To everyone: Can we please keep the discussions here related directly to woodworking and let other sites handle the culture, class and labor disputes?

    I would consider it a personal favor.

    Chris Schwarz
    editor

  • Guilhem Reuilly

    That sounds like bigotry to me. What do you know about French culture? There is more to life than working 60 hours per week. Perhaps Monsieur Auriou will reconstitute his firm with American labor, from Central America.

  • Don Peterson

    Rob, I couldn’t agree more. Those stupid, lazy workers with such an entitlement mentality are much better off now aren’t they?

  • Christopher Schwarz

    The following text was added to the entry above:

    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.

  • Rob

    Thanks for the heads up. Which ones would you recommend before they’re gone.

    Thanks Rob

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