• Saturday, January 12th, 2019
RP rasp

This unique rasp, handmade by Liogier in France, will allow you to deftly produce beautiful curves in your woodwork. 

The stitched surface is flat across its 30mm (1 3/16″) width with a shallow convex curve (radius = 320mm) along its 160mm (6 1/4″) length. The robust hardwood handles at each end can be gripped from the sides or over the tops to give you power and control with an in-line push or pull stroke.

You will feel exquisite tactile feedback as you fair gradual curves such as refining bandsawn curves in a table leg or rail prior to final smoothing with a scraper or sandpaper. I suggest grain #10 or 11 for general furniture work.

RP rasp

After years of wishing such a tool existed, I designed this rasp in my shop using wooden and sandpaper mockups, and extrapolating from other rasps. I experimented with various curves, lengths, and widths for the cutting surface, and also put a lot of time into trying different positions and shapes for the handles. I presented the design to Noël Liogier who produced it with his legendary skill. The result: c’est manifique!

It is now available from the Liogier website for €58, currently $66.57.   

RP rasp by Liogier

You may find it helpful to visit the post I wrote a few years ago about available options in tools for working curves by hand, and the two posts about the process of fairing curves. There are two key points. First, distinguish between two different processes: shaping the curve and smoothing the surface. Second, when fairing (shaping) the curve, you need a tool that provides continuous tactile feedback of the developing curve. The tool must have sufficient rigidity and length to reduce aberrant bumps and troughs. 

This new rasp is far better for fairing curves than other options such as an adjustable float, Surform shaver, or diagonally pushing the convex side of a half-round rasp. It also provides better control and power than do curved ironing rasps for this task. Shorter tools such as a spokeshave or scraper are less reliable for fairing. I also think you will find this rasp more user friendly than a compass plane or other curved-sole planes. 

new Liogier curved rasp

Liogier is one of the two best-in-the-world makers of hand-stitched rasps, both in France; the other is Auriou. This video shows some of the incredible workmanship that goes into these tools. There is nothing quite like using a hand-stitched rasp. This new design adds to the venerable repertoire. 

If you do give this new rasp a try, I’d love to hear what you think of it.

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6 Responses

  1. 1
    Tico Vogt 

    Rob, I see that they advertise it as “Designed by American furniture maker Rob Porcaro.” That’s great! Congratulation on creating what looks like a must-have tool.

  2. 2
    Pascal Teste 

    Looks like a great tool! I was fairing a curve yesterday using a combination of spokeshave, scrapers and 80 grit sandpaper… I’m sure that rasp would have been a lot quicker to do the job. I will order one. Should I get #10 or 11? I was thinking of #10.

  3. 3

    Thanks, Tico.

    Pascal, it’s tough to fair a curve with short-sole tools. The spokeshave can work, yes, but it’s very easy to ride the bumps and troughs rather than even them out.

    I think you’d like the rasp. I have #10 grain. For most woods, after fairing the curve with that, I can go to a scraper to smooth the surface. If you’re getting pretty close with the bandsaw, #11 may be a better choice, but not a big difference.

    I’d be very interested to hear what you think of the rasp.


  4. 4
    Pascal Teste 

    Great, thank you. I ordered a number 10. I will let you know as soon as I receive it. I’m in Canada, I do not know how long it will take to get here?

  5. 5
    M Steffing 

    Rob, I ordered the 10 grain tool … excited to confidently fair curves coming off the bandsaw.


  6. 6

    Hi Michael,

    Great! I think you’ll like it a lot. Keep in mind the tips in the post following this one. You’ll get the feel of it quickly.
    I’d be very interested to hear what you think of it.