Rasps are handheld reduction and shaping tools that are crafted to remove quickly pieces of wood to leave a smooth surface ready for finishing or additional carving. The stage of carpentry when a carpenter requires using rasps is an exciting one as his creativity and craftsmanship becomes evident. There are many brands of rasps. Below are the top rasps for wood carving:
Nicholson Wood Rasps
For over 150 years now, Nicholson is the most recognized brand of files, rasps, and other woodwork tools, all built with uncompromising standards of quality. Specific steel with the desired carbon content was precisely shaped, chiseled, annealed ground and hardened to make tools with the highest quality, sharpness and durability. Nicholson rasps were initially made in America and were found in the tool box of every precision woodworker in the USA. They were great wood carving tools then. Today, Nicholson rasps are made in Brazil. They are hand-cut and remove stock very quickly leaving the surface perfectly smooth. Though their reputation has suffered considerably since when they started being made from Brazil, original Nicholson rasps are durable and can last a lifetime.
Auriou rasps are made in France. Auriou takes pride in being the makers of the finest handmade rasps using traditional methods such as forging, stitching and heat treatment. Michael Auriou is the owner of the small factory (Forge de Saint Juery) located in South West France, and that makes these state-of-the-art rasps. He operates with a very skilled team of 2 grinders/blacksmiths, two stitchers and two apprentices. Forge receives a worldwide demand for Auriou rasps. These rasps’ popularity can be accounted for by the fact that making rasps by hand is almost a lost art and Michael Auriou could be the only maker left who does all the work of making hand-cut rasps under one roof. Nothing is outsourced.
Auriou rasps are highly priced, but their usefulness and quality is unmatched. Discerning artists, woodworkers and craftspeople from all over the world seek this tool for its reputation. You can find right and left versions and handled Auriou rasps to suit your requirements.
Vallorbe rasps are made in Switzerland. Vallorbe is an industrial area in Switzerland that has been famous since the 16th century for iron foundries and tool production. Made by Vallorbe Swiss, this brand of is among the top rasps for wood carving used most extensively. This brand has earned recognition worldwide due to its quality performance. In 2010, Vallorbe introduced rasps and rifflers designed to close the gap between the best handmade rasps and crude machine made rasps, but superior in quality. Vallorbe rasps have therefore widely replaced Nicholson rasps. For example, the Vallorbe 5 grain rasp has replaced Nicholson #49, and the Vallorbe 6 grain rasp is equivalent to Nicholson #50.
Vallorbe rasps are supplied with handles, thereby avoiding the temptation of using a rasp without a handle that can hurt the palm of the hand. They are durable and come in a wider range than other competitors. Also, they are less expensive than Auriou rasps thus giving you an alternative if your budget can not stretch to the Auriou range.
Finally, the best bang for your buck comes in the form of Onyx rasps. These wood rasps only cost $19.99, and the quality for that price is unmatched. It comes as a 3-piece set so you will have a lot of versatility with this kit. They even throw in a free Oxford bag for storage.