Hand made French Rifflers and Rasps

 A site dedicated to the history, manufacture & use of the classic woodworking tools, Hand Made Rifflers & Rasps by Robert Johnston (wood carver & stone sculptor)


Robert Johnston Carving Wood

Hello and welcome to my web site. My name is Robert Johnston - I am a retired wood and stone carver and have worked on hundreds of projects for over fifty years both in art work and the restoration of historical buildings.

One of the problems all carvers have is deciding which tools to use. I have built this web site so that people can benefit from my years of experience. One of the main mistakes made when embarking on a career in carving is to buy cheap, low quality tools - especially rifflers and rasps.

Regarding wood carving chisels, you cannot better the early Addis and Herring tools from Sheffield. Today these have to be purchased second hand and they are far superior to any modern product available. The finest selection of old, quality carving tools can be found here: The Tool Shop.

The other classic tools for wood carving, (and stone carving), are rifflers and rasps. The finest quality rifflers and rasps need to be hand made. Traditionally the very best rifflers have always been manufactured in St Etienne, France. (The 'Sheffield' of Europe).

Fortunately the company 'Liogier' are still producing undisputably the finest hand made rifflers and rasps in the world. When I first discovered Liogier 35 years ago I had to travel to France to buy my tools. The good news is their rifflers and rasps are finally available all over the world from a UK based company. (Further details on this company in the Buying Advice section).

Why are Liogier Rifflers and Rasps the Best?

Craftsman at Liogiers making a hand made riffler
Liogier was founded in 1920 by Marcelin Liogier and has been handed down through the family to the present day. 
The Liogiers workshop is nestled in the hills above St Etienne. Liogiers, who for four generations have been making rifflers and rasps the traditional way, are historically the best makers of handmade rifflers and rasps in the world. They are based in the finest area of France for any steel construction. The waters of the Furan are credited with the quality of the steel as it has been proved that these waters improve the quality of the tempering process. Liogier rifflers and rasps are constructed in all shapes and sizes and are used worldwide by the most discerning wood carvers and stone workers. The teeth go out all the way to the edge of the riffler / rasp. This allows you to cut right into all sharp corners.  


Liogier offer the largest range of handmade rifflers and rasps in the world for wood and stone work. 


There are a few other European producers of rifflers and rasps tools. One in France, one in Switzerland and one in Italy that I know of. I have spoken to other artisan users and also tried them all myself and encountered the following problems.


1. Poor quality of hardness, resulting in a short life span of the riffler. 


2. Due to the poor quality of (hand-)stitching, the layout of the teeth is uneven. 


3. Due to poor quality of (hand-)stitching, the orientation and the size of the teeth is irregular. 


4. The steel surface before stitching is not perfectly smooth, so after stitching, the defect of the surface remains on the top of the riffler teeth. 


Points 2  and 3 make the tools inferior as the surface produced will be full of scratches.  

So there you have it. I hope you find all of this information useful.


Happy Riffling!