Looking for Some Decent Rasps on a Budget

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 03-18-2014 09:52 PM 3053 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1898 days

03-18-2014 09:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: rasp

Hey guys,

My birthday is coming up and I need you all to send me your rasps. Just kidding. I do a ton of curved work and I have really been wanting to get a cabinetmaker’s rasp or two. I wish I could go for a Lie-Nielsen or an Auriou, but I’d feel pretty bad asking my wife for a $120 rasp when she is about to fund my second undergrad degree. SO, that said:

Does anybody have some decent sources for cheaper rasps that still perform pretty well? I am thinking in the $30 to $50 range.

Loren suggested to look into Iwasaki files, which are about $40 each. They look like a very possible option. Anybody know of any other good ones?


-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

9 replies so far

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 2950 days

#1 posted 03-18-2014 10:03 PM

I have been using these 10in rasps that are in your price range. I have not used any high end rasps so I can’t compare, but they are much better than any machine cut rasps I have used. I would consider them coarse.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View waho6o9's profile


8162 posts in 2540 days

#2 posted 03-18-2014 10:09 PM

Love me some Shinto rasp, one side is coarse and the other is fine & it works well.,42524

View Loren's profile


10244 posts in 3611 days

#3 posted 03-18-2014 10:13 PM

The basic $20 Iwasakis cut very fine compared to the
patternmaker’s rasps I have (Nicolson). I started with
the pair of cheapest ones and then acquired 1 fine
3/8” straight one to refine joints (getting down in
mortises to taper them for wedges) then a curved
half-round one for sculpting round inside areas.,42524

The Japan Shinto saw rasps are very aggressive and stay
sharp for a long time. Not available in anything but
flat though. They stay sharp a long time compared
to Microplanes, which I stopped buying when I discovered
they didn’t stay sharp long.

I have the rat-tail version of that Lee Valley rasp mentioned
by SASmith. It’s pretty aggressive and while it cuts predictably,
it leaves marks than can take awhile to file out. It also
is easy to mistakenly damage work with it if you aren’t
careful. I use it on classical guitar pegheads and I am
very cautious with it.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1756 posts in 1857 days

#4 posted 03-18-2014 11:26 PM

I’ve invested in Iwasaki, very pleased.

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2146 days

#5 posted 03-19-2014 01:44 AM

I have a set of Pfeil rasps from Traditional Woodworker:

Per piece it works about to your budget. They’re quite good.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View MrRon's profile


4710 posts in 3206 days

#6 posted 03-19-2014 09:44 PM I find this rasp the most useful although I do have others.

View CypressAndPine's profile


62 posts in 1770 days

#7 posted 03-25-2014 06:09 PM

I have the Dragon Rasps from It is a Luthier tool site. They are amazing and perfectly in your price range. It is hand cut like the expensive ones and the shape and taper is really nice. I have carved a couple instrument necks with them. It’s hard for me to imagine a better quality to price ratio. I have a Coarse and a Fine. I find I almost always use the Fine one. The Coarse is a little grabby, but it removes a lot of wood.

-- Cypress Jake, New Orleans

View alohafromberkeley's profile


257 posts in 2367 days

#8 posted 03-25-2014 06:40 PM

Best bang for buck are the Iwasaki Carving Files, Shinto Saw Rasp and Dragon Rasp. The Dragon comes to a point making it uncomfortable to hold with 2 hands. A bit of painters tape on the tip really helps. The Iwasakis are amazing – sharp and cuts smoothly….........Wes

-- "After a year of doing general farmwork, it was quite clear to me that chickens and I were not compatible"-George Nakashima

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1898 days

#9 posted 03-26-2014 02:27 AM

That dragon rasp looks really cool. I might add that one onto the wish list. Seems like with a combo of that and the Iwasakis you’d be pretty set. After reading explanations of the iwasakis and the dragon rasps, it sort of seems they might have some different applications. I might just NEED to get both. ;)

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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