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Coyote Jim

Do I care about files and rasps?

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I have progressed far enough in my woodworking journey that I want to start introducing curves and rounds and such. That means I would like some woodworking files and rasps in my tool box. I have never once put a file or rasp to wood so I am a complete beginner here.

I want good quality tools and I don't mind spending extra for them. But I am not independently wealthy so spending $100 on a single file seems a bit silly.

For files and rasps does quality matter all that much? Will I be perfectly happy with a Harbor Freight/Home Center quality? Are there some good files you would recommend that do not cost their weight in gold?

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The difference is getting something done, or getting frustrated.  Buy one from Home Depot, use it, and then come back to discuss it some more.

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For wood files, I really like the Iwasaki files.  The x-fine leaves the surface glass smooth.  Their rasps are not bad, but don't remove wood as fast as the hand stitched ones.

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I'm with Tom try a a cheap one then try a $100 they are not even close. When I built my sculpted bar stools I purchased  two I now have a dozen or so including riflers. I guess I'm different then some in that I have spent literally thousands on some of my power tools so to drop a couple thousand on a high quality set of hand tools didn't bother me in the least. I would go so far to say I would rather still have my Ridgid TS and my high quality hand tools than have my current Sawstop and cheap hand tools. Hand tools have improved the quality of my work a 100 times more than any power tool in my shop, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference, budget, and work habits. Not to continue this rant but I will someone posted earlier that the LN Honing guide at $125 was ridiculous when you can buy an Eclipse guide for $14. Ultimately can you get an Eclipse guide to work absolutely but you cannot compare it to the LN in anyway IMHO.  Ok i'm done sorry for getting carried away.

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6 minutes ago, pkinneb said:

I'm with Tom try a a cheap one then try a $100 they are not even close. When I built my sculpted bar stools I purchased  two I now have a dozen or so including riflers. I guess I'm different then some in that I have spent literally thousands on some of my power tools so to drop a couple thousand on a high quality set of hand tools didn't bother me in the least. I would go so far to say I would rather still have my Ridgid TS and my high quality hand tools than have my current Sawstop and cheap hand tools. Hand tools have improved the quality of my work a 100 times more than any power tool in my shop, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference, budget, and work habits. Not to continue this rant but I will someone posted earlier that the LN Honing guide at $125 was ridiculous when you can buy an Eclipse guide for $14. Ultimately can you get an Eclipse guide to work absolutely but you cannot compare it to the LN in anyway IMHO.  Ok i'm done sorry for getting carried away.

All of this plus  - The hand stitched rasps don't clog up with the waste material.   I have the Auriou rasps, and yes they are $100 plus, but I have never had to take any kind of brush to them the clean them out, just use them and put then back in the rack.  Something of this quality you only need to purchase once.

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I’d like to blame it on a drunken stupor or something similiar but in reality it was probably Chet or the likes that directed me to the better rasps. Ounce you try the Auriou, you won’t go back. 

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Yup, the price is alittle steep for those rasps, but not many things have changed my woodworking like they have. I don't think I could live without my rasps. They never seem to get put away, as I find myself using them time and again for things, usually for things that I never considered using them for when I bought them. 

If the price is too steep then put them on your Christmas list. You could get by with a a nice cabinet makers rasp, you can do a lot with that. Besides Auriou (which are the ones I own that I reach for the most), Woodcraft sells Liogier, and Gramercy makes a decent rasp that is somewhat  less expensive.

Putting a nice hand stitched rasp to wood is a lot like putting a nice plane to wood, the sound the feel and the result is impressive.

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I'm with Tom on this - the Iwasaki carving files are amazing, and they're not crazy expensive. I've bought a fine and x-fine from Lee valley. The fine is the tool I use the most in fine tuning the fit on joinery, and ends up being a general problem solver. It can be very aggressive, or with a lighter touch can leave a surface almost like the wood was planed. It's so much better than trying to use a home center rasp and then spending forever trying to get the gouges out of the wood.

These ones:

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=63451&cat=1,42524

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Before you go either way (cheap or worthy) take a little time to learn about files and rasps as tools.  I can't put my finger on the URL's right now, but I found web pages explaining the types of files (e.g. what is a flat bastard) and their purposes.  It's worthwhile info no matter which way you go.  

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For a starter rasp these are hand cut and i have one and like it a lot.

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=20133&cat=1,42524

I agree that the expensive ones are worth it but sometimes you need to try something just to see if it works in to your style. Buy the expensive ones after you know you are going to use them a lot. For files and rasps having only one generally doesn't cut it.

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2 hours ago, Chestnut said:

For files and rasps having only one generally doesn't cut it.

Was that a pun? 

Great advice everyone! This is why I like to come here first. I really like Mark J's suggestion about hitting the books and learning all I can about what's what.

Thank you!

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4 hours ago, Coyote Jim said:

Was that a pun? 

Great advice everyone! This is why I like to come here first. I really like Mark J's suggestion about hitting the books and learning all I can about what's what.

Thank you!

I like Mark J's suggestion, too.  :rolleyes:

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