My Sam Maloof rocker build required the use of rasps. http://www.routerforums.com/project-...air-build.html
This turned out to be an eye opening experience to what rasps/burrs are really capable of and just how useful they really can be. To answer your question quickly. Your price point is just shy of the cost of a really good rasp and well over the cost of a decent rasp. I'm sure there is something in the middle, I'm just not familiar with them if there is.
In the under 80 bucks range a couple I am familiar with are:
Nicholsons #49 and #50 rasps: Nicholson #49 Patternmaker's Rasp | Nicholson Wood Files & Rasps Nicholson #50 Patternmaker's Rasp | Nicholson Wood Rasps
Both Nicholson rasps are quite good. But are IMHO a general purpose rasp.
If you were only to have a couple, these two would be my choice.
A side note on these is that a few years back, Nicholson started manufacturing
these in Brazil. There are those who consider them to be not of the same
quality as those that used to be mfg'd in the states. Even at that, these are pretty
good. If you are looking for a comparison in terms of grain, these two are about the same as a #7 and a #9 Auriou rasp.
Another style I am familiar with would be Microplane: Microplane Woodworking Tools - Buy Direct from the Mfg.
These are quite unique. Reviews on these are generally positive.
Certainly an affordable option. In use, I found them to be OK.
To be honest, I havn't spent alot of time with them to give them a
fair assessment. The selection is limited to a "coarse" and a "fine" cut pattern
On the high end, premium rasps:
Lioger: Liogier, producer of hand-stitched (hand-cut) rasps and rifflers for wood, plaster and stone & floats
Auriou: Auriou Rasps and Rifflers - Forge De Saint Juery
Lioger and Auriou are two of the leading mfg. of hand stitched rasps and rifflers. They are simply outstanding. Both in the manufacturing process and in use. Both offer a wide variety of rasps and rifflers in various hand stiched grades. (stitching is the process used to raise the rasps metal to a sharp edge). The grain is the number of teeth on the rasp. Generally ranked from a p1 (very course) to a p15 (very fine). One of the big surprises with the Aurious was that there is no tearout when working along the edges of a piece. Another is that these rasp do
not "track" the wood, whereas most conventional rasps tend to leave behind ruts. This is not to say you get a perfectly smooth finish with the premium rasps, but you do get one requiring much less sanding. The finer grain rasps leave behind an amazingly smooth finish for a rasp, requiring minimal sanding.
I have several Auriou's now and can't speak well enough about them. I'd be willing to say that the Lioger are in the same class as the Auriou's. Take the time to read the info pages of both mfg's. Quite informative. As well check out some of the YouTube videos.
just a couple: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JDDA-S0eSQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvr2nZeAfNc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DThQm5eCHI http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1_PDwWtQQM
More and more there are Japanese rasps and rifflers coming into the market. I have not had a chance to use them and quite honestly, I"m happy with what I have. I can't see how they could be any better than Auriou's. But the cost for these are considerably less and they may very well be good rasps. I dunno...
So the question is what to get. There really is not a one size fits all rasp. However, if you are looking for just couple of affordable, well performing rasps, the Nicholsons get my vote. At a little better than 100 bucks for the pair, you can't go wrong. If you then decide that the use of a rasp is something you like or find usefull, then start looking into the Liogers and Auriou's. At a bit over 100 EA. these are worth the money. But don't think that just one will due. Something along the lines of a #5 and a #10grain would make for a good start.
I spent hours on the rocker using rasps and never tired of it.
Hope this helps