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Liogier Handle-maker's Rasp

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The making of wooden tool handles has long been a specialized trade in the Western world. Many English tool dealers in the 18th and 19th century made their own totes for steel and iron tools which they purchased directly from tool makers.

Chisels and saws were common items to be sold by ironmongers who handled them in-house and stamped them with their name. Jane and Mark Rees' book about Christopher Gabriel's fascinating inventory is a key testimony to this type of work. Interestingly enough, as most specialized trades often do, there are specialized tools that accompany it.

 

 

Matthew Cianci

Enter the handle makers rasp. Years ago, Nicholson made a handle makers rasp, and Gramercy Tools in New York resurrected the form, lead by the pansophic Joel Moskowitz.

I have owned that rasp for several years and reviewed it here. It is a phenomenal tool. For a while, Gramercy was the only dealer offering a handle makers rasp. But no more...

As soon as I discovered the Liogier Handle-Makers Rasp I ordered it. No thinking. No hemming and hawing. I just found the site, and bought it. That's how excited I was to even learn of its existence. Since I received the tool, it has not surprisingly become one of the few I can't live without.

One of the most wonderful things about buying a rasp from Liogier is the personal service from Noel Liogier. Noel emailed with me back and forth a couple of times to make sure that the rasp was being stitched to my specs.

I have spoken with several other customers of theirs who have had the same experience, so I don't think it was just Noel catering to a big American hand-tool celebrity like me. ;)

What makes this rasp so special to handle making is the shape of the blank...its curved and has teeth cut into the inside of the curve. This might not seem like a big deal, at least not until you have to shape a closed tote.

Here's the problem: As you begin to shape the inside round-overs of a handle grip with a conventional straight rasp your stroke is quite limited due to the opposite side of the handle. It makes a nice target for the tip of any straight rasp and one invariably finds themselves smashing into it...

 ...and you end up with this...


 
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