After shutting its doors in late 2007 because of a labor dispute, Auriou Toolworks is set to re-open its doors this month and start shipping a small range of rasps directly to consumers, according to one of the owners.
This is great news for woodworkers because the worldwide supply of these excellent rasps , our favorites in the shop , has dried up since Auriou closed its factory. Prices for the Aurious increased to ridiculous levels on eBay. I found one rasp that went for $600; and even last week a small set of four rasps fetched $192.
Auriou (pronounced are-you) began producing handmade rasps in 1856 in Saint-Juery, France. The rasps are hand-stitched, meaning their teeth are punched out individually by an artisan. This handmade touch makes Aurious cut smoother than any machine-made rasp I’ve ever used.
After the factory closed, its assets were sold to a group of investors who sought to re-open the toolworks with Michel Auriou back at the helm. The investors have opened a much smaller factory now and is training new employees on the art of making the tools, says Mike Hancock of Classic Hand Tools in the United Kingdom, who was one of the investors.
Workers have made about 200 rasps so far and will be ready to fulfill international orders to North America within a week or two. For details, you can visit the company’s web site at forge-de-saint-juery.com.
Initially, there will only be a limited number of models available, Hancock says, though that line will be expanded as more rasp-makers complete their training.
The five models available in September include:
– Albi rasps, a double-sided flat rasp that has different teeth on each side. It’s useful for shaping flat or convex work.
– Rattail rasps, a tapered round shape useful for getting into small areas.
– Cabinet rasps, an all-purpose rasp with one flat face and one curved face. These will be available in 10″ and 12″ lengths and in a variety of tooth configurations.
– Modellers rasps, a small tapered rasp useful for finishing work started by the cabinet rasp.
– Curved ironing rasp, a short rasp with an offset handle that is useful for working difficult-to-reach areas.
Once production increases, Hancock says he plans to start supplying woodworking vendors in North America with the rasps within the next six months so woodworkers will be able to buy them domestically.
On a side note, Michel Auriou will be attending the Woodworking in America event in Berea, Ky., Nov. 14-16. So if you are signed up for that conference, you’ll be able to meet him personally.