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Thread: Rasp Road Test

  1. #1
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    Default Rasp Road Test

    Hi Guys and Girls
    A few weeks ago, well maybe it was a month or two ago I was asked to review the Liogier rasps. Fence Furniture was organising his Megabulk buy and had the chance for someone to do a test drive on the handmade rasps from France. I was very happy to be the lucky test pilot.
    Like many others on the forum, I was already drooling after seeing a thread on the rasps and their manufacture. I had plans of buying one to see how good they were, the video on their web site looked amazing and was enough to convince me I should spend some money on one of these hand crafted delights.
    I made my choice of weapon (300mm cabinetmakers in 8 grain, right-hand, base model “Traditional”) and Noel Liogier made and posted it to me just before going on holidays. To ensure I was comparing apples for apples I bought (through Lee Valley) an Auriou 6 grain which is also hand made in France as a comparison. The grain was slightly different but close enough that I thought I could judge how good or bad they are. I already had several near new Nicolson rasps from Lie Nielsen, a 49 and 50, as a mass produced comparison.
    On getting both the Liogier and Auriou they looked almost identical, grain size, similar length, weight, toe tapper and handles. I got the Auriou first so had used it on a couple of small jobs first and had thought that if I had known how good they were I would have bought one years ago. Compared to the off the shelf varieties that I had had in the past, even the Swiss Grobet that I had used a while back, this was a whole different ball game. Then the Liogier arrived and I started on my next carving. I compared the two rasps side by side and yes the Liogier was even better again. I could not only feel the difference - I could hear the difference. Even when the rasp was fully loaded with wood filling the grains the Liogier would still cut. The Auriou is still a very good and very similar rasp and I would still be very happy to buy another but Noel’s are just that much better again.
    This made me curious, how could Noel’s be so much better when the two rasps looked almost identical. I emailed Noel and asked the question. This was his response:
    “Hello Mark ,
    The answer would be a bit the same as for a cooking recipe: the final result depends on a large variety of details. Details that my family has refined during 4 generations now, mostly empirically, in order to find the best balance.
    If talking only about the cutting power compared to other handmade rasps, I would mainly point out :
    -First thing of course is the special grade of steel we use.
    -Then, the perfectly smooth and polished surface before hand-stitching is very important. This is because defects on this flat surface will end up at the tops of teeth after stitching, which is unacceptable.
    -Also, and this is probably the most important, is the know-how of the hand-stitcher: depending on the way and on the regularity that he hits with his hammer and that he resharpen its punches, the shape, size, height regularity, orientation of the teeth can go from poor to perfect.
    -Finally, we have some secrets on the sandblasting operation (that is necessary to be done to clean the rasp after the heat-treatment) that preserves the cutting power.

    Now comparing this time to other rasps made by machines, they are many other very important differences:
    -First, the shape: machines cannot make teeth on the tip of tapered rasps. This is why machine made rasps have truncated tip, which is not a small defect when you know how useful to users this part of the tool is.
    -The machines do not make the smoother grain. Not that they cannot, but as their teeth have much less cutting power, they are forced to make bigger teeth. But the smaller the teeth are, the best the obtained surface is. Machine rasps usually have no finer grain than our Stitching Grain #8, while we go up to #15 (this also gives an idea of the difference of the cutting power between hand-made and machine-made rasps)
    -The machines only make a regular pattern of teeth, whereas the slight variation of pattern in hand stitched rasps greatly improve the smoothness of the surface obtained.
    -The machines are using not very sharp punches to do the teeth, otherwise they would break too often. Whereas when you do it by hand, you break them less often, and anyway you don’t care because you immediately see it and can re-sharpen your punch before damaging the rasp.

    Hope this will help you a little bit; I could talk about this for hours, but I am afraid I would become boring.

    With kind regards,

    NoŽl”
    End quote
    So I just happen to have a USB microscope, and yes you can pick the difference, I think the grains/ teeth on the Liogier look crisper than the other rasps. I have included some of the photos. Both rasps produce a good clean cut and both are miles ahead of the mass produced rasps, so other than a photo of a No 50 I have not included them in this review.
    When it’s all boiled down I will be buying more of Noel Liogier’s rasps and this was just the base model (Traditional) he also has another two levels of quality above this.
    The other thing to mention here is a little care and maintenance. After many years as an air conditioning service technician/mechanic and having tools roll around in your tool box in the back of the service vehicle, I had learnt to keep my files safe so they would still cut when I needed them. It’s like throwing your good $200 sharp tenon saw into your toolbox and letting it roll around with your hammer and pliers. I used to wrap them in rag to start with but then used to cut a piece of old bike inner tube and slip them in that, safe and sharp.
    I still keep my rasps and files in a piece of bike tube, more so when going out to do install work. So when you have used your rasp and packing up for the day, clean the wood out of your rasp - chances are there is still moisture and sap in the wood and this will soon start to rust the fine sharp tips of those teeth/grains. Brush the rasp/file with a tooth brush or other nylon brush, I use a clean bathroom nail brush. Then once you have all the saw dust out give the rasp a light oil as you would your saw or plane and then store it away so it is not rubbing or bumping on other tools. If it is rubbing shoulders with other tools slip it into a piece of bike tube and protect it.
    I do not have any affiliation with Liogier other than them supplying a rasp for us to test.
    Price, a little tricky with changing rates and shipping costs at the moment but they are comparable, see what FenceFurniture can come back with on that.
    EDIT: FenceFurniture tells me that we can be buy a “Traditional” 12” Cabinet Maker’s #6 grain from Liogier for around A$73 (depending upon the exchange rate). I paid US$115 (plus freight) for the Auriou. The price for the same rasp from Liogier with the “Sapphire” coating would be around $98. This means that Liogier rasps are not only superior in performance, but less expensive to boot.
    The Sapphire coating is applied by a third party, under vacuum conditions (the rest is a secret that not even Noel knows). What is important to note about this coating is the hardness: according to Wikipedia, Tungsten Carbide has a hardness of 2283 Hv on the Vickers scale, and this Sapphire coating is 3800 Hv. This is what gives it a claimed 4x life over the “Traditional” rasp, which has a hardness of about 750 Hv or 60 HRc on the Rockwell scale. The Sapphire coating also helps significantly to inhibit rust. Sounds like the extra bucks for the Sapphire coating could be well worth while, particularly as it is still less expensive than the Auriou. This is important to note when purchasing not-so-easy to acquire tools from overseas – they don’t need replacing as often.
    I also found myself using these rasps for a lot more jobs than I have in the past as they are so much better to use. Even to small jobs like puting the bevel on a dowel before driving it in, they are a joy to use.

    I hope this is of benefit you, as it was to me.
    Thank you to FenceFurniture for arranging the test and Noel Liogier for the rasp.

    The carving isn't finished, I have realy only just started. In the pics the ones marked with a "c" are for cleaned which was just a quick wipe with the nail brush, you can see the rough surface in the No50 photos that Noel was talking about which results in a poor cutting rasp.

    The Liogier is the one with the lighter colour handle.
    If you scroll over the images the names should show
    Attached Images Attached Images

    www.solidwoodfurniture.com.au

    A good edge takes a little sweat!!

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  3. #2
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    She looks like she's got a splitting headache.
    Regards, FenceFurniture
    Please sign my Petition to get decent Saw Files made
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  4. #3
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    A part of the joys of carving, she'll no doubt end up with a few more before she's beuwdiful and then I throw her outside for six months to go grey. Ok must go and feed the chookies.

    www.solidwoodfurniture.com.au

    A good edge takes a little sweat!!

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    Thanks for the review Claw. I almost bought some Liogier rasps after their video was posted here, but then chose two Corradi Gold cabinet rasps instead. They are very good but I wish I had an Aurio and Liogier to compare with (no I'm not sending them to you)

  6. #5
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    Hi Mic so post us a pic and tell us about them. Using the Liogier was a bit like when I got my first LN plane (a No 7 Jointer) I just couldn't believe there could be so much difference between tools. I had had a Stanley No 7 and a Millers Falls No7 but the LN just blew them away. This was the same experience.

    www.solidwoodfurniture.com.au

    A good edge takes a little sweat!!

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claw Hama View Post
    Hi Mic so post us a pic and tell us about them. Using the Liogier was a bit like when I got my first LN plane (a No 7 Jointer) I just couldn't believe there could be so much difference between tools. I had had a Stanley No 7 and a Millers Falls No7 but the LN just blew them away. This was the same experience.
    But unlike your review, I have no other rasps that claim to be superior to compare with so it would only be a subjective and pointless review, unless of course you want to send me you Liogier to use C'mon!

  8. #7
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    I'll consider it but I wouldn't like to be without it now it's become one of my important and most used tools

    www.solidwoodfurniture.com.au

    A good edge takes a little sweat!!

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    Great review Mark, thanks I'm sending you a greenie for the use of microscopy in a review.
    Interesting, and enlightening, input from Noel as well. I think I will pick up a rasp or two in the near future.
    Built: a Bench, a Desk, an Archery Display, Planning a DVD Storage Unit,

    Those were the droids I was looking for.

  10. #9
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    Will you blokes stop doing tool reviews such as this - Tool junkies like myself will not be able to kick the habit

    I don't need a couple of fancy rasps
    I don't need a couple of fancy rasps
    I don't need a couple of fancy rasps
    I don't need a couple of fancy rasps
    I don't need a couple of fancy rasps

    Oh no, I'm weakening
    regards
    Nick
    veni, vidi,
    tornavi
    Without wood it's just ...

  11. #10
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    LOL! Your cake is transferrable to this thread. I know ...... a RASPberry cake! Yummm!
    Regards, FenceFurniture
    Please sign my Petition to get decent Saw Files made
    ...it takes a few seconds - help us get a result!

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claw Hama View Post
    I'll consider it but I wouldn't like to be without it now it's become one of my important and most used tools
    Cool does that mean we can come by and pick up the rubbishy ones?

  13. #12
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    I'll 'bagsy' the 'rubbishy' Auriou rasps then!
    Cheers, Richard

    "... work to a standard rather than a deadline ..." Ticky, forum member.

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    Hey Claw, if you put a straight edge to your rasps how flat are they on the flat side and on the curved side?

    Cheers
    Michael

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    www.solidwoodfurniture.com.au

    A good edge takes a little sweat!!

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    I realise they are made to be slightly curved along their length to make them easier to use with the human action and one of mine, the 10" 10 cut is ok, but the other 10" 8 cut the bend is more. When I rest it on a straight surface on the curved face, there is a span(gap) in the middle of the rasp to the straight edge. It makes it hard to use for hollowing tasks on straight sections. I have been communicating with the factory via the reseller and may ship the coarse one back for assessment.

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