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Techniques for Using a Rasp
A rasp is one of those tools that just seems to be easy to use — and it is. In fact, they don't come with instructions. But the truth is, there are a few tecliniques that can make getting smoother, more consistent results with a rasp as easy as 1-2-3.
There are three basic sets of motions for using a rasp effectively. The first two motions are used to remove the tool marks and rough out the overall shape of the work-piece. The final strokes will refine
and smooth the shape before finishing up with sandpaper.
There's one more tiling to note. While these techniques are shown using a Micropl/itw, they work just as well with a traditional rasp.
Cutting Direction. Although rasps will cut in any direction to the grain, it works best to take cuts at an angle. This is especially true of Microplartes. The teeth are more likely to clog when taking cuts with the grain. The reason is that cutting
with the gram results in long splinters instead of small chips.
Cross Strokes. The first step in shaping a workpiece, like the cabriole leg shown here, is to remove the saw marks left by the band saw and establish the overall shape. For this, I use cross strokes.
I'll hold the rasp with both hands, then take an angled stroke across the workpiece with firm pressure. This stroke is similar to a sawing motion, as you see in the
the grain to rough out the overall shape. The overlapping strokes will remove wood quickly.
A The Other Way. Use cross strokes going in the opposite direction to further shape the workpiece and remove the marks from the previous step.
The trouble with most hardware store rasps is that they only come in one style — aggressive. And I can easily end up going past the layout lines when cleaning up the scratches left by these rasps.
That's where the Auriou (Are-you) rasps you see here come in. Thev've
▲ Several Grades.
Auriou rasps range from large, coarse-cutting tools to small and smooth-cutting
been made in France since 1856, but only recently have become more available in the United States. It may be tempting to think that a rasp is a rasp, but there are a few features that make these rasps stand out from rest of the pack.
Hand-Cut Teeth. The first things that I noticed were the teeth. They're set in a random pattern. The random spacing means the rasp leaves a smoother surface than if the teeth are set in straight rows like a typical rasp (photo at right). The Auriou rasps accomplish this by "stitching" or hammering the teeth by hand.
Grades. Cutting the teeth by hand makes it easier
ShopNotes No. SO