It’s Gone Bad…

For more information on rasps, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.

…because many of the four-in-hand shoe rasps no longer measure up as the quality has not been kept. Take care where you buy from. Not all of these are created equal.

Three decades ago we used to pick up a four-in-hand rasp at any hardware store in the US knowing it would be good to go and at an economical price. They weren’t fancy, just functional. The farriers used them to trim and shape the hooves on horses during and after shoeing them. Not a fine tool in any way, they had a round side and a flat side and to each end on both sides was a coarse rasp and then a reasonable finer end opposite. Basically this tool is used for heavy removal of keratin, the stuff a horses hoof is made of and so too our fingernails and hair.

The top one is a four-in-hand version. The bottom one a mass produced rasp that does have hardened teeth but is machine stitched.

Around that period I held evening classes for the local kids to come into the workshop and make spoons, spatulas and cutting boards and such. It was basic woodworking and the children didn’t really have any spare cash. It was here that I introduced the four-in-hand. It worked effectively at an affordable cost. Of late though I’ve noticed how poorly they work after just a short period of use. The investigation begins!

Taking a regular 10″ flat file to one I tested the tool for hardness and found the metal to be as soft as any untreated mild steel. Zero hardening and zero resistance at all. The before and after pictures below show what I mean. Three strokes only!

So, just why do they think that they can get away with it? It’s because they did. But, this ever more is as it has been with many tools through the years and no matter how much anyone shouts that things are always improving, getting better engineered and better made it is actually getting worse. The problem arises if we didn’t know that they were indeed better at one time than now. Some coming after us might think that this is the industry standard but they are not. These are a mere apology for what once was and it’s time we found tools we can truly rely on again. And it’s not just the makers that need to answer to us, so too the suppliers on eBay and Amazon, the big box stores and of course the online catalogues. Give credit where credit is due and give bad press to those that think we are duped. If you have one of these then give an honest revue.

My three favourite rasps

Now I personally use three premium rasps made by European makers, one in the Czech Republic who I can no longer find trace of and two in France. Rasps of this ilk range in price from £80-140 so not a price a parent might make for a child to use and not the price someone might pay when they are dipping their toes in the water to see if they like woodworking either. No, it’s something you might aim for if you’ve put in a little time and you are sure you will reach for one as I do on a day to day basis. So you might ask what the alternatives are?

I have now tested out the Shinto rasp long enough to say that it’s a reliable tool at an affordable price and it really does work well after a little practice. At around £20 you get two levels of cut in one rasp. The issue between the Shinto and the traditional rasp is the traditional rasps have a half round face one side and a flat the other. The Shinto is two faced, both flat, one coarse and the other fine.

This bevel to end grain is about ten strokes with three on the fine side of the rasp and two on the flat file.

They work on the thrust stroke as with any file or rasp and for rapid removal of wood I think this tool will take you by surprise with both its aggressiveness but then too its finessing qualities.

The teeth to one face are 10ppi and the opposite face is 20ppi. With the final strokes lightly taken you can develop close-to-finished surface that a file will readily perfect with two or three strokes.

As a final thought. Don’t forget about making simple paddles 10″ long, 1 1/2″ wide and 3/8″ or so thick with abrasive paper glued to the face. You can make three levels of abrasive on three paddles and you can also round the back of them to make a half round surface. Use contact cement to stick the abrasive down and these will work well for you too.


  1. I’m sure some things are better now but so many things you buy now are terrible. We can’t buy a manual can opener that lasts more than a couple of years and we don’t even use one that much.

    The shame is that products could be made much better than they were in the olden days. Instead of using technology to make things better they use it to make things cheaper.

    1. As Ken said:

      “Instead of using technology to make things better they use it to make things cheaper.”

      So true of a LOT of manufacturing. Not across the board, but enough to make it a crap shoot sometimes to purchase anything nowadays. A throwaway society. To make it worse, even with products that can be fixed you have to buy an entire assembly for half the price of the whole thing instead of the $1.50 part that really needs to be replaced.

      There are still places and vendors that take pride in what they sell, but you have to search for them.

      1. On the topic of giving credit where due and good parts suppliers being difficult to find, I feel this is a good place to put this info:

        I’m in the process of restoring a (probably) pre ’60s Record 53 QR vise. The spring on the quick release mechanism snapped during disassmenly and cleaning (the vise was left bolted to a picnic table outside unused for who knows how many years at my work and I liberated it with permission).

        Living in South Africa I really struggled to find the spring itself and found evidence of people in more well supplied countries also struggling.

        Eventually i found a supplier in the UK ( who was quick to help and are ordering the part for me for about £6 (that includes the specialised nut that comes with it). Due to shipping cost and me being unsure of the quality (assuming the part is made in a factory in China nowadays) I ordered two.

        They have yet to arrive (they were very upfront about it taking a while), but just from dealing with them it seems they really care about their business, have good customer service and are very accommodating. I’d like to use this platform to thank them and Mr Woolley who is my contact there in particular. I cannot speak for their other products, but I felt it worth mentioning.

        Hopefully others will see this and may he helped through it.

      2. I have been saying since the appearance of big-box stores in the 1980’s that we are bringing this on ourselves by making price the overriding buying criterion. To accomplish this thirst for all things “cheap,” one of two things (or both) must suffer: quality and/or service. So what we now “enjoy” is what we wished for, cheap.

  2. One thing that is better now is websites like this one full of good stuff and no duff gen

  3. If the rasps are made from carbon steel they can be hardened. Since they are already barely functional there is no risk. Do a search on YouTube for hardening steel. All you need is a torch and a magnet. Then your kitchen oven will do the rest.

    1. I know, but should we need to? That’s really the point. Not looking for more work with tools that miss the mark and then the purchase of blow torches and such.

    2. You cannot harden low carbon steel. Well, I guess you could case harden it? There’s no case you can make for a file that you can file though. That’s like a rubber wrench. I think I have a 4 in one sitting on one of my benches someplace. Now I have to go see if it is soft, or not. Nah, it is a Black Diamond brand one so it is legit. I have to say the coarse teeth on it look almost as bad as the ones Mr. Sellers filed down. That’s just a comfort grip feature for using the other side.

  4. Been buying germany’s PFERD here in South Africa a few years ago, I believe they’re still good?

    1. My experience is confined to Pferd’s saw files – they certainly last longer than the cheapies.

    2. @Herbert, as a fellow South African, where are these available. Been struggling, especially with poor quality saw files

      1. @Michael, I’ve bought mine directly from the Pferd outlet in Montague Gardens in Cape Town. They have similar outlets in other cities – have a look on their website.

        1. @Michael, PFERD files can also be bought / ordered online from Tool Centre in Benoni (

  5. I love the Shinto rasps, I use them to shape guitar necks along with a half round rasp and a spokeshave…excellent tool and great value.

  6. I found myself noticing products are getting worse, and it’s not just tools for woodworking. I enjoy cooking and you have to be careful in that arena too. A lot of the old stuff is not as good as it used to be. It’s not everything, just a lot of it. I have used amazon a lot. It seems you have to read the reviews of the products you are buying. I tend to read multiple sites to make sure the reviews line up before I make a purchase, making sure everything will hold up and am getting a quality product

    1. A lot of Amazon tool reviews can be misleading. People giving poor scores because chisels arrived blunt, saws don’t have instructions etc. Reviews usually left immediately after receiving goods. A lot of chisels, planes etc seem to have case hardened cutting irons. They can be fine to begin with but after a few sharpenings , toffee inside.

    2. Online reviews are a funny thing. People are more apt to complain than they are to praise anything. Some can be dissatisfied due to their own ignorance about particular items too. So take them with a big lump of salt.

  7. I like the Tome’ Feteira rasps and find them reasonably priced.
    But this is not relevant to the point Paul is making .

    I think the cost of materials and production is going up faster, then income or maybe just going up faster that what we are willing to pay.

  8. I have a large, rough grasp from Narex in the Czech Republic. Before that purchase, I bought their awl and a set of chisels. I found them to be very fairly priced and (I think) of good quality. Your comments, Paul, make me wonder if I’m just too easily pleased or if I’ve found an exception to your comments.

  9. I think a lot of “tribal knowledge” is lost when companies get rid of their experienced workers or move manufacturing to another country/ location because it’s cheaper. I have some Narex paring chisels that are outstanding and were very reasonably priced, I fear that they are no longer available at the quality needed, I am set for life personally but my sons will have to fight over my tools once I’m gone.
    There is a French rasp maker that’s looking for crowd source funding because a former owner squandered the family and company fortune. These events will make “vintage” tools all the more valuable going forward. Yes, there are very good quality manufacturers out there but the prices are going to skyrocket.

  10. Do you suppose we could make a “Poor Man’s Rasp”?
    Like the Shinto, but 7x Course hacksaw blades, spaced with 6x Fine blades, upside-down. Nut & Bolt through the anchoring holes would also secure a handle.

  11. I loved the Shinto and wanted a half-round desperately before two things happened:

    1. I learned about Iwasaki files.
    2. I learned how to USE the ones I got (half-round curved fine pull 100mm, half-round flat medium push 150mm) properly.

    Just gotta lightly slide them so the teeth are almost lined up with the grain and they’ll slice away tool marks and crushed/torn grain nicely: I followed up with a scraper and a 400 grit buffing to shine it up before the beeswax+mineral oil.

  12. I know the Shinto don’t come in a half round, but Japanese milled tooth files do. I do not have any experience with them, but from what I read they are an inexpensive alternative to the hand cut rasps. Have you ever used these Paul?

    1. If you mean the iwasaki ones, they’re very weird, and at first will seem like a hunk of garbage if you’re trying to use them like a regular rasp or file.

      I’ve been calling them carving files since I stopped fighting with them and moved to lightly sliding the teeth along the grain as I work and letting them slice clean little curlicues from the surface like a bundle of tiny little skew planes.

  13. “There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person’s lawful prey. It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.”

    John Ruskin

  14. I bought a good used 18″ crosscut saw with 10pt teeth and took a saw my grandmother gave me around 1952 to one of the better known sharpening workshops in Vancouver. They said I would probably have to wait 6 to 8 weeks
    before they could have the saws sharpened, as the hand saw technician is retired and comes in to work a couple of days each month. The population of Greater Vancouver, BC is 2 million ! So cheap hardened steel saw teeth have taken over, making saws good only as one time sharpened, then to be dumped as garbage !
    Times have changed ! But I do have a table saw, band saw and mitre saw all powered by the North American 120volt 60 hertz system.

  15. A few days ago a LED bulb went defect. It surprized me, as I had specifically bought it from a renowned brand (Philips). It cost 8 euro and lasted 2 years and 3 months (I always mark bulbs and batteries with the date I start using them, price paid and shop where it was bought). Unacceptable.

    I replaced it with a no-name LED lamp from the Action (hard discounter) that costs 0.99 euro. What’s the point buying expensive products from a renowned brand when the quality is just as shoddy as the discounter stuff. At least with the discounter, I can keep the other 7 euro in my pocket. Loyalty and trust from customers have to be earned and can easily be lost.

    As for the files and rasps, as the quality continues to decline and the older generations of wood- and metalworkers (who knew how long tools could and should last) disappear and get replaced by younger people who don’t know any better than that a file, rasp or saw is a disposable product, like sandpaper, the circle will be complete. The blind leading the blind.

    1. nemo we are well off-topic here, but I have a house full of the Diall brand from B&Q, so does my previous house – they’ve been flawless. Going on four years with the current setup and I only bought them to replace the old style energy saving units which were all round the house when we moved in. £85 to do the whole house,

    2. Same here. Used to buy Bosch equipment. Had a battery screw driver (€ 129 or € 99) which motor shorted after a relative short time.
      Bought one at Action. It has already lasted longer and did more work. That is weird.

  16. I have noticed over the years that our tools are getting heavier and of course bigger. My favorite shovel was stolen a few years ago and I spent quite a bit of time finding another. All that I found were these heavy handled bulky tools, which might to ok for a quick job. Using it all day was another matter. I have found the same thing in hoes and the latest planes. I noticed the planes being sold now use added weight as a marketing ploy. I would hate to have to use one of these all day making door panels. Thanks for directing us in a better direction.

  17. As a (now retired) farrier in Australia I only know of two kinds of rasp for trimming and dressing hoofs.
    One looks a BIT like your four-in-hand, being divided in the middle, however both faces are flat. One side is cut as a coarse rasp with teeth facing each way from the divide (for removal of hoof from the underside to level and ‘square’ its contact with the shoe), while the other side is finer with teeth cut as a file, again with the teeth facing away from the divide. The 5mm edges are cut as a straight file (file face and edges are used to trim the clenches, create a slight ‘seat’ in the hoof for the clenches to be turned down, and finally to dress and smooth the clenches and hoof as well as make a light groove in the hoof where it meets the shoe – a bit like a light arris where long grain meets end grain in timber.)
    The other type of farriers rasp has a tang for a handle, again with rasp teeth one side and file teeth on edges and other side.
    The advantage of the tangless divided face rasp is that one can rasp (or file) in either direction without changing hands. With a nervous 16-hand thoroughbred, time is often of the essence!!
    The disadvantages are that the length of stroke is limited to half of the length of the rasp, and that when using the file side, the rasp side (especially a new one!) is tough on one’s hands.
    When I started out in the 1960s almost everyone was using the divided type which were made in both England and Australia (Wiltshire?).
    By the 1990s I had gone over to the tanged one-way rasps from America (Nicholson, Simmonds?) which were wickedly sharp and held their edges much longer than the divided types.
    These are great for woodworking too, by the way.
    I’ve been out of the trade for about 12 years now so have not tried the ‘modern’ iterations of these rasps (and other once-quality farriers tools), but from reading the odd horsey blog, it would seem that quality is now confined to a small handful of makers, and the former quality makers have had their names bought up and stuck onto what I can only describe as ‘fake’ tools.

  18. It seems to me that the best path to ensuring good tools are available is to have more small scale tool makers, “amateurs” as Paul would say. We can all voice our opinions, and perhaps one or two good tool makers will fight the good fight while taking on significant risk to compete with large companies, but as long as people are dependent on a manufacturer, the manufacturer can do what’s best for themselves with few consequences. I’m experiencing this with my new home. The demand in my area has increased, this the builder thought it OK to forgo basic building solutions, and he knew he could get away with it.

  19. Some of this is music to my ears. The availability of good tools at reasonable prices that work is not too much to ask is it. The B&Q plane from record is more of a project than a tool, the Stanley RBS is worse. I am continuing my journey to re shore tool making by making a new ductile iron 1399 plane. What other tools are we being fooled into buying that don’t work?

    1. Thanks, Jakub. No, not Narex. This rasp was really skilfully made by a true crafting artisan and not the machine stamped version where the metal is hand fed into a stitcher and called hand stitched but machined more than I like. I just love it and it’s one I don’t loan out except to one or two people I know will care for it as much as I do because to be honest, it’s irreplaceable.

        1. They look very good.
          Translated quote from Drahomír Smejkal.
          “ The hand-held chisel can roll up more metal and the tooth has a different shape – the enlarged profile of the hand-cut tooth resembles the head of a sitting dog, while the machine punched ‘dog’ as if asking for a treat – has his head raised.”

      1. The Narex cabinet rasp_is_ hand cut. Check it out, Paul. They also have a full range of machine cut rasps. I have a few of their chisels and have been happy with them as well. Bought mine through Amazon

      2. In the US we have an outfit in Brooklyn, NY called “Tools for Working Wood”. They are artisans and make fantastic tools with the highest quality steels. I happen to have the good fortune to work a few blocks away from their outlet store which is wonderful if I need to pick up some coping saw blades or any other small item.
        I hope you don’t mind me posting the link. I have no affiliation with them.

  20. I use actual farrier’s rasps that my sister (a rider) gave me. One side hogs off oak like there’s no tomorrow. The other side give me an almost finish-ready surface. They are amazing things.

    They are huge though. Over a foot long and something like 3″ wide.

    They are fabulous.

  21. Auriou has been an acknowledged rasp- and tools maker in France. I have got several old rasps of theirs from flea-markets (“brocantes” and “vide-greniers”) in France. I managed to improve the many duller teeth with a dremel using various minuscule diamant heads on a worn-off one of them. Tedious but it worked!
    Apparently they are back to business again:

  22. I am a fairly new hand tool woodworker, and I am practicing to gain proficiency. I am not really interested in buying sub-standard rasps to save money. Recently, my perspective on buying tools has changed, and now, I would rather buy a high quality tool at the outset, because I almost never throw away a tool. I have lots of tools that I bought cheaply, and I ended up buying the more expensive tool anyway. It breaks my heart to see all the 20 year old poorly made tools I have. The three Auriou rasps that you list as your favorites are where I would like to start my purchase of rasps. Since I will never like actually touch one before purchase, and there are a large number of choices based just on the picture, can you tell us the name, lenght, and grain of each of the three Auriou rasps in the picture. Thank you. I enjoy your blog, and your lifestyle videos tremendously. The tutorials need no additional accolades from me. They are uniformly best in class.

    1. Only one of the rasps is an Auriou, the top one. The middle one is Logier. My favourites for larger work is the Auriou cabinet rasp 12″ which has the 10″ of cutting surface and is the #10 grain version. In the USA I recommend Highland Woodworking who carry the fullest range of Auriou products.

      1. Thank you very much for the information, Paul. One of the downsides of the new economy is the fact that the ability to touch something before purchase is fading. In the old days, I would go to the store and pick one up, feel the heft and fit, and make a decision, based on both recommendations and personal preference.

        Now I find myself squinting at photos, pausing and rewinding YouTube videos, digging through video comment threads, and scanning forums to gather information about good quality tools. Believe it or not, in order to avoid making an expensive mistake, I have been trying to find the type and length and grain of a good set of rasps for quite a while. When I do, Highland Woodworking will indeed be my vendor of choice.

  23. I bought some single-cut bastard files at Lowe’s a month or so ago. I wanted to joint some hand saws. They wouldn’t cut. They were scrap metal in the shape of a file. Why?

  24. Slightly off topic, but bear with me… my wife wanted a new sewing machine to make some heavy duty covers for things in the garden. After some research she got down to a choice of two… Of varying prices. I did a little more digging on different sites and blogs (including some sail makers) and almost everyone said avoid modern as they are overcomplicated and their favourite pass time is going wrong…. Find an old Singer 201.

    Once again Ebay is my friend, and I found a lovely example which had been fully serviced and was less expensive than a new one. The build quality is fantastic – it was made in August 1955… and I will be able to service it myself….

    1. Off-topic indeed, but two years ago I bought a sewing machine too: a 1955 Gritzner GZ (identical to the Pfaff 139, IIRC, and a ’50s Kenmore). Complete, with all its accessories, in working order. Price was 5 euro, I kid you not. It’s heavy, which is good. A few months later I had the opportunity to acquire a Pfaff sewing machine from the early ’80s, with walking foot. Again, price insanely low. Probably because it has only half a dozen of different stitches? It’s also heavy, but noticeably lighter than the 1955 Gritzner machine. Occasionally when in a store, I look at the sewing machines there. Those machines weigh less than just the pedal of that Gritzner. The housewives back then must’ve been pretty strong…

      Those old machines will survive just about anything and can be easily repaired and maintained. You are indeed correct, newer sewing machines (even those with a colour LCD screen, WIFI and smartphone apps) aren’t necessarily better than the old ones. The Gritzner has no trouble sewing through many layers of canvas for a toolbag for the brace bits, or 6 layers of leather for covers/guards for the axes. I expect your machine will give you many years of service, if you just clean it occasionally and give it a few drops of oil.

      1. @nemo, yeah sewing machines now have a plastic shell and the insides are mainly plastic gears and circuit boards. I have an old New Home machine which is all milled steel gears inside with 30+ points you just have to drop a blob of oil every now and again to keep it running perfectly. The new machines can’t handle heavy fabrics and once a gear wears its a costly fix at a sewing machine repair shop.

        Old sewing machines are always being weighed in at scrap yards or just thrown in skips. It’s such a shame. I have bought a few from ebay recently to make sure a few survive.

  25. I use a short piece of wood the right size to fit a sanding belt which works as a file or just a finisher.

  26. I’m in the electronic security industry and have been for the last 30 years. When Technicians as a rule, are required to purchase their own hand tools. In the beginning, all of my hand tools were Craftsman. They were quality made and Sears stood behind them with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. As the years went on, Sears corporate made the decision to start importing their hand tools from Taiwan. They were cheaper made, wouldn’t last a fraction of the time, and when you went to return/exchange them, they would make you give a deposition in order to swap it out for an inferior tool. Unfortunately, now you can see where Sears has gone as are almost all of my Craftsman tools. I found another manufacturer that is as good if not better as they were, with a warranty that they stand behind.

    It’s a shame that this is what this has come down to. I agree wholeheartedly with Ken.

  27. We have different rasps, more expensive and the very cheap ones as well. The Shinto is a good one I have used for a few years, though it can be aggressive on some soft woods. Have a Mercer and a really good Nicholson one, from the time when they still made good products before falling under the Chinese doctrine of filling up the world with all kind of draff and garbage, with the hope of reaching the clouds one given day. The other day I went to an Estate Sale and found one pretty good that I frankly never heard before, and its brand says St. Crispin’s.
    About reviews: You cannot trust them; and many big companies they just hire another one that is in charge of deciding what review to post or not, to avoid losing profits on any item they have invested enough money; and that is for tools. For the rest, it is just an ideological matter on both sides of the aisle. You need, in many cases, to follow the clown show so you could be among their favorite ones.

    1. Oh I almost forget… The other day I posted in this site (blog) that we have bought a few saws after Paul presented the new Spear & Jackson. There I wrote that among them they were 26 and 24 long. Later one I had a question in my head. Went to the shop and actually they were 24 and 22. I do not think they have this type in 26. We then went ahead and ordered again another 22 and the smaller tenon saw 10 inches long with brass back. My wife asked me why I needed so many saws as I like to restore antique ones I get from those Estate sales. The problem is that sometimes they are even just $2.00 dollars, like a recent Disston with Thumbhole handle, and… what can you expect? (I told her).

  28. I’ve found with rasps the one’s I like tend to be old ones I find in garage sales or estate sales. Usually not used much and they are inexpensive to find, plus it is nice to put old tools back to use. Unfortunately a lot I see are also trashed, either worn out or rusted badly as well, most people don’t really care about rasps to maintain them. I’ll have to try out that Shinto rasp though, I don’t have one that style and price is hard to beat!

  29. Consumerism is the mandate manufacturers go by these days. Things are made with an early failure date so you’ll have to throw the thing away and buy a new one. Things are no longer made to be handed down to your offspring and their offspring. They are designed so you have to keep coming back to get new ones. A sad state of affairs indeed.

  30. I love my shinto rasp!!! I but old tools and try to refurb them. There used to be a solution you could dip your files in and it would sharpen them chemically!!! Paul is right, Nicholson files used to be the standard here in the U.S. No more!! More tradesman and artisans need to get on the internet and let companies like Stanley know that we appreciate quality. I tell my employees buy the best, hopefully you’ll buy it once only, and take good care of it!!!!
    No one I’ve found really makes a good quality chalk line, the Japanese ones are the best.

  31. and the answer is
    nicholson’s files and rasps are now made in china
    i DO NOT buy chinese
    you can buy nicholson on ebay used also
    i have used the shinto rasp to made cabriole legs
    the table came out great
    my 2 cents

  32. used to be…a soak in just plain old White Vinegar would sharpen files….might look into that….Think it is a few hours, rather than overnight…

  33. as a rider through my youth and early twenties, i did a lot of my own maintenance on the horses hooves to save a few dollars. i still have the first file i bought for trimming the hooves and even though i am now retired it still slices through wood cleanly and easily. my advice is try to find one second hand in a junk store. inexpensive and most have had very little use at all. i don’t pay hundreds for a set of new chisels, i buy good quality vintage ones that have sat in a shed for 50 years which when sharpened are as good as anything you will find new. same goes for saws etc. i won’t use a hardened tooth saw as i consider them junk. you cannot sharpen or set them and my experience is that i still haven’t found one that wants to cut a straight line.

  34. Thankyou Paul for your wonderful tips, advice and inspiration, I have learnt a lot from you. I am always hunting for old tools as they seem to me to be far superior to todays tools. I use old Wiltshire files that belonged to my Grandfather and my Dad, these are great when I work with metal. However when working timber I constantly turn to my new Shinto, marvellous.

  35. My grandfather was mechanic and these rasps and files still do the job…

    I am German but working in Switzerland. I found these I sent them the files Paul suggested for sharpening saws and within a couple of days they send me their equivalents. Price was very moderate (most around 5-10 Euro). Furthermore, they have a very good set for sharpening chainsaws. I bought from Stihl before – what a huge quality difference.


  36. The Society of the spectacle, a book written by a Frenchman, Guy Debord, talks about these very things, things that were once made with pride and would last forever, becoming a mere token and of what was and what is left.
    Recycling and restoration is the best thing I feel I could do, for myself and for the planet.

  37. Many years ago an old gunsmith told me to never let a file that is going to be used for wood to never let it touch steel. After many years experience as a gunsmith and woodworker, I’ve found that advice to be dead on. also it holds true with sand paper either power or by hand.

  38. There is no doubt that Liogier and Auriou rasps from France are the best hand stitched rasps in the world BUT I have found a really good ,much cheaper ,rasp made in the Czech Republic and sold by Lee Valley . Whilst not as good as the two aforementioned makers ,the Czech rasps are very serviceable for non professionals on a limited budget . Hope this helps .

  39. I started using the Shinto for fitting tenons because it was just sitting right there on the bench in front of me. It works remarkable well.

  40. What I see is that ordinary tools bought in ordinary places are usually quite low quality. As the article states. Real good tools are expensive. But are they? If you bought a good quality plane in 1950 it cost relatively more. But compared to what? Average weekly income?
    Nowadays the cost of labor has hugely increased, but the cost of tools have increased much and much less. Or tools have become cheaper as compared to income.
    What would be tool quality if you buy today a tool with the same cost/wage ratio?
    It is also true that good tools are still available but for outrageous prices like Veritas saws. (Because the handle is made of pink Cherry wood inlaid with Paduk or sillyness like that). IMHO such prices for a simple saw do not justify the price. Paul Sellers demonstrates the difference between good tools and overpriced tools very nicely in some videos (Saws and chisels).
    So what would you have to buy to get a good tool, but not overpriced.

    1. As an apprentice on a modest wage a plane was the equivalent of a weeks wage for me. That was in 1965 when I was paid £3.50 for a 46 hour week. Roughly that was one sixth of an adult craftsman’s wage. So perhaps a plane should cost 1/6th of an average manual worker’s wage which doesn’t sound so very far of for say a new Stanley or Record. Just guessing now. I have never considered Veritas saw prices to be over priced. Not when I consider that they should last a person a century or so in use full time which almost no woodworkers do. I do know though that you can buy a gent’s saw and a tenon saw brand new for around £20 and they will work as well as any, and I do mean any, premium saw costing 10 times more in some cases.

  41. Good afternoon! I now live in Ukraine, there are many good similar Soviet tools for $ 3 !!! You hear?! Here they’ll hand it over for scrap! My mother, she brings me many tools from work, so I restore them and use them in my work. Therefore, we ask you to come, come to Ukraine and I will give you tools, very good quality, Soviet Not China! and it’s better to come because if you send the tool by mail, it will be very expensive. sorry for my English

  42. Why is it that the big box stores and the internet sellers appear to get away with it. Buying a combination square I expect it to at least be square. Look at a lot of the reviews on line and this is a real issue! Selling tools that are not fit for their basic use should be unacceptable. The issue is that people can’t be bothered to complain so the quality continues to get worse.
    I agree with paying as much as you can for tools, or do as Paul recommends and find some good second hand ones and fettle them.

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