Tool review – French rasps
Auriou rasps, 250 mm and 175 mm
I require a few features from a rasp. I want to remove material quickly without having to hold the work object too tightly, and I want the finished surface to be fairly easy to clean up once initial shaping is done. The two Auriou rasps that I tested met both these requirements.
The larger of the two, the 250-mm-long cabinetmaker’s rasp, has both a fine and a coarser side. I like that the teeth are stitched right to the edge, making the sides safer because there are no teeth on either of the narrow sides. This allows you to get into tight corners without marring the adjacent surface.
When the made-in-France rasps arrived, I was in the middle of making four entrance benches with through-wedge tenons on the handles. I compared the speed, ease of use and final finish of the large rasp to my second-grade cabinetmaker’s file, my standard tool for final levelling of through tenons.
First, I removed the excess wedge material with a flush-cut saw; the tenon then was 1/2″ wide by 3/4″ long and proud by about 1/16″. I normally wrap a few layers of masking tape on the end of the file to allow me to rub on the surrounding surface without leaving marks. The rasp made quick work of getting close to the surface, but the teeth are not meant to produce a fine, flat surface, so for this I switched to my cabinetmaker’s file.
I used the smaller, tapered 175-mm rasp for the final fitting of the bench’s mortises. A too-tight fit required only a couple of light passes with the rasp, but I did have to be careful in the corners as this rasp will cut on all sides. I also used it to chamfer the bottoms of the bench feet.
All in all, I was impressed with the performance of these rasps. They cut quickly with little effort and produce an acceptable surface for further finishing. The 250-mm rasp costs approximately $107, and the 175-mm rasp approximately $78. The rasps are available through Lie-Nielsen (877-967-5966) or Lee Valley (800-267-8767).