Monday, May 27, 2013

Liogier Hand-Stitched Rasp Review

Awhile ago, I saw a great video of a French craftsman shaping a deer-hoof leg; he was using Liogier rasps pretty much start to finish.  Mostly what caught my eye was that these rasps seemed to work...  my previous experiences with rasps were with Nicholson #49 and #50 rasps (American made, pre-Brasil) along with some likely low-quality rasps and overall, they never became a go-to tool for shaping.

So I ordered a few Liogier rasps to give them a try and really enjoyed using them to shape the 5 legs of the Tim Burton table demi-lune (the No Comment #2 build).  These are definitely now in my first-choice pile of tools to shape wood.

While shaping those legs, if I had a lot of stock to remove, I'd often play with rasps to get a better feel for how they work at shaping a curve (that I'd ultimately be removing anyway).  There is a learning curve to them, like every tool, but mostly a lot of muscle memory for how to switch sides of a project and still push the rasp in the correct orientation.

I cover a few basics of a rasp like grain and "handedness" so people new to rasps better understand the choices and how they work.  If you're an avid rasp user, that part will be -yawn- review for you, but not too long.

Note that this is a review of the Liogier rasps.  I do not own any Auriou rasps to compare; if you want to lend me a set, I'll do a comparison :)


A viewer wrote me about these rasps quite awhile ago.  One thing he found useful was a list of what I bought to use as a starting place to sift through the options.  Here's a photo of my order.  You'll notice I added some additional handles and storage boxes.  Those were for some of my other rasps and files; hey! these handles are maple-syrup colored... doesn't get any better for someone of Canadian upbringing :)

(Click image for a larger more legible size)

I rolled this video while making the Tim Burton table back in early January.  As I sit here avoiding going outside to do concrete and paint in 100º weather, I was jealous of the winter weather in the video.


  • Unknown said...

    Hi Paul,

    Great review of the rasps.

    I am looking at making a Hal Taylor Sculptured Rocker and am going to be picking up some Liogier rasps. I am stuck between the 3-piece and 5-piece starter set.

    In your opinion after using the various rasps, could one get away with the 3-piece set? Is the #9 coarse enough for the basic shaping?


  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks, Nate,

    I'm assuming you mean the 3-pc set off Liogier's site (instead of a set from perhaps Lee Valley).

    The 3-pc set Noel proposes is a #9, a small modeler's rasp and a rat-tail. The modeler's and rat-tail were the least used of my kit; they are useful, but least used. If you were shaping some relief adornments, they are both very useful.

    The 5-pc is the same with the addition of the #6 and #11. In my case for the legs of the No Comment #2, the most used in order were #6, #9, #11. The #6 did far and away the most heavy removal. If you don't foresee a lot of removal, the #9 will work albeit slowly. The #9 still leaves a decent scratch pattern that the #11 can greatly reduce.

    After using them, honestly would go for the 5-pc. If you aren't going to do small relief work, maybe price just the #6, #9, #11 and compare to the 5-pc to decide.

    I'm thinking I answered your question with a question... sorry! :)