Rasp discovery & question

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Forum topic by newwoodbutcher posted 07-25-2011 09:22 PM 2896 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View newwoodbutcher's profile


539 posts in 2269 days

07-25-2011 09:22 PM

Some time ago I received a free #5 wood rasp (make unknown) with an order I placed online (can’t remember who) and it sat in my tool box protected for over a year unused. I’ve recently started building a Greene and Greene library (book cases and desk) and used the #5 rasp to test shape the bottom of the legs on the desk. WOW! I had no idea how useful these rasps are. I have learned over time to buy the best tools I can afford, and now want to get a more rounded/complete set of rasps. So my question(s): what rasps do you use (make and #) to shape wood? Personal recommendations from LJ members have always been a great source to me for this kind of information. What can you all recommend?

-- Ken

13 replies so far

View hairy's profile


2377 posts in 2951 days

#1 posted 07-25-2011 09:49 PM

I’m a fan of micro planes. I don’t have this brand, but they are likely pretty much alike. Also, I have an assortment of rasps from the flea market.

-- stay thirsty my friends...

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2059 days

#2 posted 07-25-2011 09:54 PM

Remember that the rasp bits (for the drill or die grinder) come in very handy from time to time.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2112 days

#3 posted 07-25-2011 10:01 PM

I like microplanes, especially the round ones. Ken, you should treat yourself to a Shinto rasp, now that you like them.

They changed the way I look at rasps. Aurio makes some beautiful handmade rasps that are quite expensive but a joy to use. With all my planes and chisels, I often forget about rasps. They are a wonderful thing when duty calls.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Woodwrecker's profile


3910 posts in 2994 days

#4 posted 07-25-2011 10:27 PM

Nicholson’s # 49 & 50 are my go-to rasps.
Not super expensive and the results are really nice.
I don’t have one, but I’ve heard the Shinto rasp is nice too.

-- Eric, central Florida

View newwoodbutcher's profile


539 posts in 2269 days

#5 posted 07-26-2011 08:35 PM

Thanks guys,
I’ve been online checking out your recommendations. There are a lot to choose from. Some of the rasps are not mentioned (reviewed/critiqued) anywhere but the catalogue that sells them, that makes me suspicious The Nicholson’s # 49 & 50 seem like a good bang for the buck, but those Auriou ads are tempting but pricey. Are they that much better than the Nicholson’s? Any personal experience here? The microplanes seem to be the best price wise but are they used for the same purpose as a rasp? Do they perform as well? Also what is the difference in “performance” between the wood rasp and the microplanes or the Shinto rasp? Is there a difference in the application? Any personal experience will be appreciated.
Thank you

-- Ken

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2299 days

#6 posted 07-26-2011 09:28 PM

Ken- The microplanes, wood rasp and saw rasp all serve the same purpose of shaping wood. I think a lot of it will depend on the type of work and personal preference.

I have a Shinto rasp which works great for many of the task that I do. However the Shinto saw rasp does not remove as much material as my Nicholson wood rasp. The shinto is also harder to get into tight areas where a half round metal rasp would have no problem. Thats why I am glad I have both.

I think its best to have a variety of different rasp if your going to be doing a lot of shaping. I am currently looking for some smaller detailed rasp for tight areas.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2112 days

#7 posted 07-26-2011 09:29 PM

Hey Ken, the Nicholson rasp is the “rasp” that we all grew up with. They’re cheap, readily available, and do a fair job. I’ve probably got some that are 30 years old or older. The Shinto rasp excels at removing a large amount of wood quickly. It leaves a pretty nice surface, considering its aggressiveness. Of course, they’re flat and a bit cumbersome for some applications. They’re also reasonably priced. The microplanes will gobble soft woods like nothing you’ve ever seen. They, too, are readily available, even from kitchen stores. They come in a ton of useful shapes and they leave a relatively nice surface. They literally plane tiny strips out of the piece, so it’s a much different cut, feel, and result compared to a standard rasp. The Aurio’s are just the Mercedes of standard rasps. They’re very pretty, represent fine craftsmanship, cut exceptionally well, but are expensive. You pay the premium for the “experience” of using one and in my opinion, it’s worth the money. If you don’t find yourself caressing fine hand tools, you can skip the Aurio’s for Nicholsons. That’s my 2.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Loren's profile


8158 posts in 3067 days

#8 posted 07-26-2011 09:54 PM

I recently got a couple of iwasaki files and I am really impressed. I would
recommend them over every other rasps I’ve used – and I have the Nicholson #49 and #50 rasps too but I like the iwasakis better.

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2112 days

#9 posted 07-26-2011 10:03 PM

For those unware, like me.

They make floats, too (Wayne)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View JSilverman's profile


89 posts in 2032 days

#10 posted 07-28-2011 08:14 PM

I recently bought an Auriou 10” 9 grain rasp- very spendy around $100!!! but boy is there a world of difference between it and any other rasp I have ever used. Cuts quickly and smoothly… the only problem with it is that now I am thinking about should (how) I can afford more of them!


View newwoodbutcher's profile


539 posts in 2269 days

#11 posted 07-29-2011 07:58 AM

Wow guys, thank you for your thoughtful responses So far my experience with these tools is very limited. I think I will try a few les expensive choices till I get some bench time rasping, the Auriou seems like a great choice but will have to wait till I see if rasping plays a big enough role in my projects to justify the price. The Shinto rasp seems a bit too big for the work I’m thinking of now so I’m going to start with a micro plane and two iwasaki’s (one round and one flat fine cut) I’m thinking the Nicholson combo may be next then, well we’ll see. Thanks again for your advice and generosity.

-- Ken

View wingate_52's profile


221 posts in 1988 days

#12 posted 07-31-2011 05:44 PM

I have used rasps, Surforms, Microplanes. But the best of all are the Iwasaki rasps. I have 4, 2 small ones and 2 large ones, both flat and half round. They are brilliant, take off what you need quickly and leave a smooth finish ready for scraping smooth.

View auggy53's profile


159 posts in 2099 days

#13 posted 08-01-2011 06:28 AM

a machinist friend gave me some rotory files , i use them in my drill press for shaping inside corners and they work great

-- rick

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