The Way of the Rasp

I’ve finally moved the new chicken coop down to the run and started on the siding.

It’s clapboard siding: old cedar planks recovered from the raised beds of an abandoned garden and slats from my pallet collection. None of these boards are matching lengths for any side of the coop; they need to be cut to length. There is a certain amount of squareness required so the board ends fit relatively flush with each other as the siding goes up.

But inevitably, they don’t meet flush enough and corrections need to be made.

Cut a new board? No, no.

Enter the rasp. Number three on my list of Top 5 Favorite Tools.

For a novice woodworker like myself, the rasp is invaluable. It literally smooths out the bumps along the Learning Curve. It allows me to correct things that might otherwise prevent the precise joining of two pieces of wood and require starting all over again: unsquare cuts, incorrect measurement, even rough and raggedy edges. The rasp is a time, energy and resource saver.

The rasp is also a primary tool in it’s own right. I’ve found it to be a key step in crafting axe and mallet handles. It allows incremental fine tuning of the grip to fit your hand and of the neck to fit the eye of the tool head. The rasp also puts a great bevel on the lead end of a tenon or peg, making it easier to insert.

I like to think all the best woodworkers use a rasp. They keep one in some hidden apron pocket, pull it out for several critical passes when no one is looking, then hide it away again before the secret of their craftsmanship is discovered.

That beautiful dresser made of cherry and maple, whose every joint is the unmistakable light-dark zipper pattern of dovetails…? Chisel and mallet work, right?

Ha. Total rasp job.

Or so I tell myself.

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Categories: DIY | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The Way of the Rasp

  1. Very interesting and good to know. I used my husband’s rasp, at least I think it was a rasp, to file off the hole in a terra cotta pot to make it larger so I could fit a light socket in it to make a heater for the chick coop. I’m just a little innovative that way. I usually don’t know what I’m doing, but it works. :)

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