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Types of File Tools | Hand File

Wood File Malaysia

A file is a popular hand too that is commonly used in metalworking, woodworking, and other DIY tasks. It is a bar or rod made of hardened steel and available in multiple shapes and surfaces. It is mainly used for forming or smoothing objects by removing a fine amount of material from the workpiece with its cutting edges raised on the surfaces. Since there is a variety of files available in the market, it may be difficult for us to identify the right file tool for our project. Here we have summarized a list of common files with their function, pros, and cons.

Files can be classified by their cross-sectional shapes, the coarseness of the teeth, and the cutting edge design. The most common types of cross-sectional shapes are rectangular, round, triangular, square, and half-round shape. File shape is important as it determines the final contour of the workpiece. We should choose the shape type according to the application requirements and the shape we want to create. The coarseness of the teeth depends on the size of the file’s teeth, the number of teeth per inch, and the spacing between them. A fine file has small and frequently spaced teeth that remove less material under one stroke, but it can provide a smoother finish. A coarse file has larger and fewer teeth per inch. It can work quickly by removing more material under one stroke but it also creates a rougher finish.

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Another way to classify the files is by the design/pattern of the teeth that has 4 standard types which are single-cut, double-cut, curved-cut, and rasp-cut file. 1) The single-cut file has rows of parallel teeth that diagonally across the file surface. It can create a smoother finish surface or sharp edge on the knives or saws. 2) The double-cut file has rows of teeth that crossing each other to form a diamond-like pattern on the surface. It is mainly used for aggressive filing such as shaping/smoothing the wood, or removing rust from the metal. 3) The curved cut file has curved contours across the surface which are mainly used for blending and smoothing materials. It is popular to be used in various automotive applications, fiberglass, and plaster. 4) The Rasp-cut file is composed of many separate and individual teeth that have a round shape on the top. It is very coarse and suitable to be used on the soft material for removing large amounts of unwanted materials. It is primary used on wood.

How To Use A Hand File

The right way to use a file against the material is to push the file forward in one direction but not filing forth and back in two directions. This is because both file and saw teeth are designed at an angle for sharpening the material in one direction. We need to lift up the file after each stroke and drawn it back to the starting point before the next stroke. Drawing the file backward against the materials may distort the teeth and cause permanent damage to the tool. By lifting up the file after each stroke also allow the cut material to fall out from the teeth and won’t clog the file.

How To Taking Care Of The File Tool?

Firstly, we should choose the right file for the material we are working on. A wrong file chosen for the work can cause damage to the file. Secondly, we must always store the file in a dry place to prevent it from getting rusted easily. We also need to keep the files separated in the protective sleeves in case they scrape against each other. In addition, we should always clean the file after every few strokes with the use of file card or wire brush. A dirty file is dull and not effective while working with it. Finally, before using the file, we have to make sure the fitting handle is tight as it may cause serious accidents if the handle detached.

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What Are The Common Types of File Tools?

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Flat File

Flat file is the most essential type for beginners. It has a double-cut on both flat surfaces, a single cut on the edges, and a rectangular cross-section. It is suitable for filing a large and flat part of the material, finishing internal and external surfaces, straightening up the edge, and performing other general purposes.

Hand File

Hand file, also known as Safe Edge File, is similar to the flat file. Its surfaces are double-cut, with one edge in single cut and another side is blank which known as the safe edge. Due to the safe edge, it is particularly useful for filing the right angles to a finished surface.

Half Round File

A half-round file has a flat surface side and a rounded side. It is well suited for shaping or smoothing on concave surfaces and able to provide great flexibility in creating all sorts of curved shapes at different angles.

Mild File

The mid file is a useful sharpening tool that mostly used for sharpening the blade, finishing work, or even out the saw teeth. It has a slight taper that allows us to work easily on smaller blade sections and its single-cut design can create a consistent and smooth edge on the blade.

Crossing File

The crossing file, also known as ‘fish back file’, is similar to the half-round file, but it has a curved radius on both sides and one is fuller than another in different curves. It can create various sizes of curved shapes and cutouts.

Knife File

A knife file is a type of triangular file that looks like a Flat file but t it has a total of three sides, the two sides are wide and taper to a point. It is able to work in tight and restricted internal angles.

Barrette File

The Barrette file is flat with a triangular cross-sectional face. Only one side of the surface has cutting tooth and another side is a safe surface that we referred to as the ‘back’.It is mainly used for sharpening or finishing corners, internal angles, or the application that requires precision work.

Needle File

The needle file is small, thinner, and particularly used for light and delicate works that require high accuracy and precision. It is available in a set with various types of shapes. The common shapes of needle files are round edge, half-round, flat edge, square, triangular, flat taper, knife, crossing, feather edge, etc.

The selections of files are mainly based on the size, contours, and material type of the items that are being shaped. In order to complete the work effectively, we should choose the file at the appropriate size, teeth type, coarseness, and cross-sectional shape. MecHero Malaysia supplies a variety of file tools for meeting your project requirements. You can always contact us at +6011-7000 7687 or email us at for an inquiry about the nail gun for industrial or home use. As a steel and online hardware store Malaysia, we also supply a wide range of steel material, general hardware, or mechanical components. Tell us your requirements now and we can advise you accordingly.

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Photo credit: axminstertools, popularwoodworking, bobvila, fed, mechanicalrocks

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