I never gave much thought to wood rasps. I own some pretty nice ones from when I made furniture, but as a carpenter I only occasionally used them—mostly for cleaning up cope cuts. If someone asked if I’d spend $100 on a rasp I’d probably laugh and think they were kidding. But that was before I saw a video of rasps being made at the Auriou Toolworks in France. It’s hard to believe how much handwork goes into making these tools, or that once upon a time all rasps were made by blacksmiths in more or less the same manner.

Does this mean I plan to run out and buy one of these rasps? Heck no—I’m too cheap. But that doesn’t mean I can’t watch the video of rasps being made at the Auriou shop. After all, YouTube is free. Highlights include:

  • 0:40 using a power hammer—who doesn’t like to see a machine hammer red-hot steel?
  • 2:45 breaking out the tang
  • 4:55 using a press and a jig to put an arc into the file
  • 5:15 hammering a maker’s mark into the file
  • 5:25 here’s where it starts to get weird; the maker uses a chisel to notch the edge of the rasp
  • 6:00 even more surprising is the way he cuts ridges into the face one-at-a-time by hand
  • 6:25 after heating the file red hot in a furnace the maker quenches it slowly to harden the steel
  • 9:00 sandblasting the file to remove scale

I’m impressed by the number of steps that goes into making one of these things. I still don’t want an Auriou Rasp. But if someone I know buys one I won’t give him a hard time for spending so much; I’ll say, “That looks pretty nice; would you mind if I try it?”