All About Files

Filing Tips

  • When working on thin material, keep as many tweets as possible in contact with the piece.
  • For draw filing, the file is alternately pulled and pushed over the piece.
  • Normal filing: the hands are placed on the file for maximum pressure and average stock removal. 
  • Heavy stock removal requires a very firm grasp
  • For precision filing, the tip is held by the thumb and index finger of the other hand for maximum control. 
  • To preserve the sharpness of the teeth and to increase life, the file should be raised on the return stroke.

No file should be used without a handle. Handles must be mounted properly on the tangs. After the right size handle is selected, slip it over the tang and gently force the file into the handle as far as possible, then either tap the handle on the bench or while holding the handle, tap it with a mallet until the file is firmly secured. Never hammer or pound the point of a file to seat the tang into a handle. 

As shown in the File Finder chart, each application calls for a different type of file. There is more to file selection than shape alone. The cut selected is equally important. Determination of cut depends on the type and form of material to be worked, the amount of material to be removed and the finish desired. For example, rapid removal of stock ofter indicates a No. 00 cut while working on narrow surfaces would suggest a No. 2 cut and final finishing operations might take a fine cut such as No. 4. In the final analysis, file selection cannot be reduced to a formula or table but will be based to a great degree on experience and common sense.