Raspier Than Tom Waits

I have been working on rebuilding an old crosscut saw.  I wanted the handle/tote to have all those sexy curves and nice rounded edges that have started to make a well deserved comeback on handsaws.  I don't own a spindle sander so I went with the next best thing, a Shinto Saw Rasp and a woodworking Microplane.  Well, it's better than using my teeth I suppose.

I really like this saw rasp because it is easy to control, it has a rough cut side and a fine side (just different size teeth), and it cuts quickly.  I do wish, however, that I had purchased the "plane style" rasp with the front bun.  Guiding this rasp with my left hand (I'm right handed) became tedious (and almost bloody at one point) as I had to pinch the front of it with my forefinger and thumb.
Shinto Saw Rasp
Using this rasp is just like using a solid metal rasp or a metal file.  It is best for the tool if you push in the direction of the cut, lift the tool and re-position it at the beginning of the next cut.  Dragging the tool back across the surface of your work only wears the cutting edges of the tool unnecessarily, just like a file or solid rasp.  The saw rasp left a fairly rough surface when I used it on its "larger toothed" side, which was expected.  The finer side left a decent surface that shouldn't prove too difficult to finish up with a little sandpaper and elbow grease.
Rough side facing up
Fine side facing up

It did tend to blow out some grain with the rough teeth, but because all the edges that I am working will get rounded over and sanded I wasn't too worried.  I think scoring my pattern lines with a knife would have prevented some of this.
A little blown out grain and a rough finish on the Bubinga handle
I have some planemaker's floats and joiners floats from Lie Nielsen/Clark & Williams that leave an almost burnished surface and I'll probably use those to do some of the detail work on this handle, however, they are not really meant for removing a ton of material but they are very accurate.  The Shinto is half the cost of the floats and a third of the cost of the Auriou Rasps and works really well for roughly removing a lot of material quickly.
Finish from fine side

Finish from rough side
Additionally, there are many applications where a slightly rougher finished surface is beneficial; especially if that surface is going to get a coat of glue.  I can definitely see many uses for this Shinto Saw Rasp in my future.  It cuts well, it removes material quickly and because it has two sides I can quickly flip it over to use the bigger or smaller teeth respectively without having to switch tools.

I will be doing more of these saw handles in the future for both rebuilds and new saws, so I will likely rig up a spindle type sander on my lathe for production's sake, but these rasps will still have a major part in prepping the handles for the finishing tools.  I'll put up a post after I have used the Shinto regularly to comment on it's durability and ability to remain sharp.  With all of these little teeth, I don't see sharpening this thing as a real option.

Also, the directions for this rasp are "A-OK, #1 Happiness for Eyes, Good Readings!" "A STANDING TOOL!"

The Microplane is a really interesting tool.  I have one in the kitchen that works great on lemon rinds and cheese but I was very skeptical about using one on wood.  It came with three basic shapes and each shape has a rough and a fine insert.  Each "blade" snaps into the handle and, based on which way you insert it, can be used on the push or pull stroke.  Reversible blades are a really nice feature as they allow more control based on the material you are working.
Handle with flat, round and triangular shapes in both fine and rough
The two channels running up the length of the handle accept the black runners on the blades

The rough inserts cut material very quickly, and the fine ones leave a very nice finish.  This tool tends to want to track into the pattern of the teeth so it is a little harder to manipulate than the other rasps.  The shapes make it easy to fit into curves and recesses on the pattern and because they are a little flexible they can be lightly deformed to better fit a profile.

Finish from rough side
Finish from fine side, removed marks from the rough side and left a very smooth surface

I have used this thing to shape Brazilian cherry, white pine and oak before and it worked very similarly to using it in this Bubinga.  It is extremely sharp and takes very fine shavings so I don't see any problem in using it in all types of wood.  It is not one that you should plan to resharpen, the blades last a good amount of time based on the lumber you are using and they are relatively cheap to replace.

I do think, while I like this tool because it tends to be a little less aggressive than some of my other rasps, it does seem somewhat gimmicky.  I feel that if you have some decent rasps already, this wouldn't add anything too critical to your arsenal unless you need some specific shapes.

Rasps are a great addition to your tool chest if you find yourself doing detailed sculptural work like this.  I'd recommend the saw rasp for both rough carpentry work and fine work alike, as I have found many uses for it already.

Now, do yourself a favor and watch these.......Tom Waits......and......This

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