Buying a Rasp
Guide updated on 18th April 2019 to recommend the Narex Rasp.
Guide updated on 14th May 2019 to recommend the Shinto Rasp.
Guide updated on 14th October 2019 to remove the recommendation for a four-in-hand farrier’s rasp as this is not hardened.
Although a hand stitched rasp makes for a more effective cut and finish compared with the machine made ones, as it has irregularly placed teeth, this also makes them much more expensive and less of an entry-level tool for beginners (they usually cost over £100).
For a beginner, Paul would recommend the Shinto rasp from Amazon UK, we purchased this for £25.00* in October 2019.
If you wanted one with a round, Paul recommends the Narex 8” Half Round rasp, we purchased this for £31.23* from Amazon UK in April 2019.
He has tested both of these out and is happy with the performance, however the Shinto rasp would be his first recommendation.
Note: We purchased this similar looking rasp which was not to the same standard and Paul would not recommend buying.
For a less expensive option, Paul recommends gluing a sheet of abrasive paper on a scrap piece of stock. The piece of wood should be about 10”-12” long, 1 ½” wide and ⅜” thick. One for more aggressive stock removal should have 60-80 grit, a medium level is 150-grit and a fine level 250-grit.
Paul talks more about his choice in buying rasps in this blog post here
*Prices checked October 2022
Setting Up Rasps and Files
A rasp and file cannot generally be sharpened and do not need setting up, however you can prolong their life by taking good care of them. Most of the time the sawdust which builds up in between the teeth will be pushed out by new wood fibres, however you can clear out the gullets by…
Using a Rasp and File
The file and rasp are used in a similar way to each other for different tasks which can lead to confusion. Whereas the file is used on both wood and metal, rasps are used mainly on wood and stone but never on metal. The file is used to shape, refine and to smooth out surfaces,…
The Rasp Guide
A rasp is similar looking to a file in terms of shape, however their working faces are significantly different. They have individually raised teeth, referred to as stitches, evenly dotted over the entire surface of the working face and are used for shaping wood. Stitching can be made by machine or by hand, however it…
To read more on this we recommend the following from Paul’s blog:
Hand stitched rasps are cut according to right-handed or left-handed use. If it is possible, may I suggest an update of the text informing on whether these recommended rasps are suitable for left-handed persons.
The ones we recommend for beginners are machine stitched, these work equally for left and right handed users.
Narex Coarse rasps 8″, 10″ and 12″ respectively have decreasing levels of teeth per square cm (8″ = 16, 10″ = 12, 12″ = 10 teeth per square cm respectively).
Does this mean that the larger the file the coarser it will be?
Is the 8″ rasp recommended due to the teeth count or simply a respective length?
Additionally, how is coarseness defined for Rasps?
Narex uses Coarse and Fine cut designations while Grobet uses Cut 4, 5 and 6.
Is it worth getting a Fine Cut Rasp or should I switch over to a file at some point?
The 8” length seemed best suited to the work for beginners. It is worth having having various sizes and stitching if you want to expand your tool collection, just add them as needed.
Hi, has Paul ever tried the hand stitched rasps which are being sold on eBay as ‘Hand stitched cabinet rasps European Top Quality’? They range from around £40 to £55 depending on the type of cut. It is a fraction of the cost of the two brands Paul was recommending.
No he hasn’t.
I am completely new to woodworking. I just joined Paul Sellers membership because I want to learn woodworking skills –by hand, in order to combine the two with my European-style fine hand leatherworking skills.
I read the article “AURIOU RASPS – GOOD ON THE WOOD AND GOOD IN THE HAND” and would like to go the premium tool route and slowly pick-up the Liogier’s or the Auriou’s rasps.
My question is, how many rasps would be ideal to start with? I was considering picking up two, a pretty fine grit and a medium to coarse grit with pointed tips. I am pretty sure that I will want to do a lot of fine detailed work (but who knows since I am just starting out). I am also left-handed and Auriou has a nice selection available.
@MITTE Hi Jason. Good quality hand stitched rasps are nice to have, but not essential, therefore Paul is never too eager to encourage anyone spending hundreds of pounds on them, especially if they’re not among the everyday tools. He does have a couple of these and loves using them on a project with a lot of shaping. But even then, he usually takes the bulk off with a chisel or a saw to save a lot of wear on the rasp. As of late, he has been recommending the Shinto rasp as a very economic option which works surprisingly well. If you still don’t know how much or what type of work you’ll be doing, but still want to get an Auriou or Liogier rasp, go with a medium to coarse cut which will work great for general shaping and you can refine with a file.
Hope this helps,
My youngest daughter Rachel recently remodeled a solid birch chest of drawer. She wound up cutting too deeply and damaged one side of a dovetailed drawer.
She glued in a Dutchman, and hand rasped and sanded flush and ready for her finish.
She used the Shinto rasp that Paul recommended several years ago.
Please tell him thank you again from me.