RWW 175 Using Rasps Efficiently for Fast Sculpted Work

liogier raspsThis is a look at using rasps as part of a coarse, medium, and fine system of tooling for efficient sculpting and refinement of curves in your woodworking projects. Edge tools are great and leave a finished surface and I hear from many a traditionalist that this is the only way to go. But edge tools also have a greater learning curve whereas the rasp is mostly ambivalent to the grain direction and can be employed with little to no prior experience and have the woodworker shaping away in seconds. A good rasp is an extension of your hand and can make what you picture in your head a reality very easily. This video is just a quick look at how employing several different rasps can make your work more efficient. I may go into some specific techniques later on but honestly there isn’t much to using a rasp. Just point and cut. Changing the angle can produce a different cut but this subtlety needs to be learned with rasp in hand so what are you waiting for?

I also introduce Liogier rasps as an excellent provider of hand stitched rasps and an equal alternative to some of the other premium made rasps on the market. I know this name won’t be new to many of you as Liogier has been around a long time. For some reason they have not gained the same notoriety here in the US as other brands. So while this video is more about using rasps, it is brought to you by Liogier and you will find some product placement sprinkled throughout.

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I can definitely say that I’m a fan of Liogier and I’m eagerly awaiting two new rasps to add to my collection. In fact I predict that some Rifflers will end up in my tool kit in the future too!

Your Turn

Do you use rasps in your shop? How do you use them and what do they help you to do that other tools cannot?

10 Responses to “RWW 175 Using Rasps Efficiently for Fast Sculpted Work”

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  1. Brian says:

    I do use rasps, however I’m still new to them, and getting used to them. I love how fast they help shape wood. I’ve used power carvers in the past (with burrs), however the trick with them is to realize they remove a lot of material in a hurry. The hand stitched rasp don’t go that fast, and I feel I have much more control over them. I’m *not* and artistic person, so I rely heavily on guidelines and then files/sandpaper after the fact. I recently picked up a shinto rasp, just to get a feel for it, but I’ve not used it on a project yet.

    I have a couple of the Auriou rasps I picked up at woodcraft, some machine cut rasps and some japanese files (which cut more like floats than files). What I really want to do is use them on some good mahogany to finally try a cabirole leg project :)

    • Shannon says:

      I had a Shinto rasp for a while and I was never able to get any fine control from it. It hogs off wood like a power carver but I don’t think they are intended for sculptural detail at all. In other words, I place it firmly in the “coarse” part of the system.

  2. Tom Buhl says:

    When my spokeshave is treating me and my wood well, it is a favorite tool and process. But tear out can bite ya. Especially frustrating when it is going so well that you space out or work without raking light and have to “fix” tear out when you thought you were finish ready.

    I’ve been using rasps quite a bit the past few years for shaping. My work is becoming more and more sculptural either because of the possibilities opened up with rasps or as an excuse to use them more.

    I use both power and hand tools for my projects, but have not used a pattern bit with a template in a long time. Prefer to use spokeshaves and/or rasps to smooth and fair curves (created on my band saw). I do use a router with edge profiles at times but more that is also done with spokeshaves and rasps.

    Shannon, thanks for the overview and quick take on Liogier rasps.

    • Shannon says:

      “Possibilities” is the key word there Tom. I think I said “freedom” in my video. I think that idea is really what makes these tools so awesome. Personally I think I am a terrible designer and at best I can say I have good taste and can copy nice design. But when I decide to change an edge profile and create a free form curve with a serpentine hard, shadow line then I can say that detail came from my own head and my own hands.

  3. Derek Morrelli says:

    This was great! I’ve heard many times that hand stitched rasps are better, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard it explained as well and I know I have never seen or heard the difference in their performance before now. Thank you for yet another great video!

  4. Chris P. says:

    Have you heard of Corradi Rasps? I believe they are Italian made, machine cut but supposed to have a pattern that is comparable to hand cut rasps. I’ve heard good things about them, considering they are a little more easy on the wallet I was thinking of picking one or two up once I have ever a project that will justify the purchase.

    • Shannon says:

      Yes I have and I own a couple Corradi rifflers. They are very finely made. The ones I have are very fine so leave a baby smooth cut. I really can’t judge the whole machine stitched vs hand stitched aspect of them because of that, but I have heard nothing but good things about them.

  5. Great video Shannon! What cut of file do you like for that final step to leave a really nice surface?

  6. Shaun Harper says:

    According to the Liogier website the Nicholson 49 is “best match” for the #6. So perhaps the Nicholson 49 is best used for the rough work followed up by the Nicholson #50 or Liogier #9.
    I already own and use the Nicholson #49 quite a bit but as you showed it is quite rough. Usually have moved to a file or coarse sandpaper next. I’ve had failure to commit issues to a finer rasp thinking it was akin to a medium coarse file. Thanx to your nice review I’m going to fill the gap with the #9 and the Modeller’s.

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