As a woodworking tool, files are often undervalued despite their usefulness. The smooth, level stroke of a sharp bastard file produces a finish that is on par with that of a handplane.A client suggested we try Bahco files because of their exceptional quality and consistency; we did, and we’ve been using them ever since.All of the rasps in the Workshop Heaven product line are crafted by hand in Europe in the time-honored fashion. Using a special punch, the teeth are raised by hand after the blank is strapped to a lead block and finely honed. We have the whole line of Japanese Iwasaki carving files, known for their sharp, deeply undercut teeth that allow for quick, clean cuts.
Best brands of wood files and rasps
The Liogier family has been making world-class rasps for four generations. Nol Liogier and his team of skilled artisans in Auvergne (France) produce tools that stand as monuments to their craft and the passage of time. Everything from forging to heat treatment is done at his workshop. To top it all off, they feature a razor-sharp profile and are stung to the tip on both ends, making for a weapon that is both effective and efficient. However, the fact that they are hand sewn is what really sets these century-old rasps apart. The remarkable sharpness of its somewhat uneven grain makes this artisanal procedure ideal for quickly removing the debris and leaving a fully clean surface. Because of this, not only are these rasps useful for roughing work, but also for finishing work that requires a high degree of accuracy.
Forge de Saint Juery is one of the world-famous workshops located in southern France, not far from the city of Albi. Its roots may be traced back to the middle of the nineteenth century, and ever since then, it has been recognised for the superior quality of its wooden implements. As unfortunate as it was in 2007 when the firm had to shut, two hand tool aficionados resurrected it in 2008 under the name Forge de Saint Juery. Similarly to Liogier, all the processing is done in-house in Auriou’s factory for maximum quality control. Here, however, the time before the teeth grow up and solidify is used to shape and polish the area where there would be none. This is the critical stage that ensures a high-quality end product.
With the help of Swiss producer Vallorbe Grobet, company F.Dick is able to provide us with another another high-quality selection of files and rasps. Its high hardness (66-67HRC) ensures that it may be used for even the toughest tasks. Please notice that their teeth extend to the very edge, giving you the option of a clean cut or a smooth scrape. This file or rasp brand may be your best option if you’re searching for a high-quality tool that won’t break the bank.
This file has a unique cut that allows it to mimic the performance of a little hand plane used in carpentry. The teeth pick up little shards so you may cut much more precisely than with a regular scraper. We found its usage to be satisfying, particularly the extremely gentle shine it produces as a result. We advise using it for tasks with an intricate surface, including those involving inner joints, asymmetrical forms, or convex surfaces. They work well with bamboo, MDF, and plastic, among other hard materials. It’s worth noting that the Iwasaki are often served without a handle.
File and Rasp Distinctions
Consider the material you’ll be dealing with and the desired level of detail when deciding between a file and a rasp. Files. have ridges running perpendicular to the surface in the shape of parallel, diagonal rows of teeth. One or both of the sides may be sliced and have teeth, depending on the design.
- If you need to sharpen a knife, shears, or a saw’s edge or give something a slightly smoother finish, then you need a single-cut file. Apply minimal force while working.
- Files with two sets of teeth that each cut in the opposite direction are called double-cut files, and they are useful for filing, shaping, and removing rust from metal as well as smoothing wood. The work should be done with more force.
- Files with curved contours across their face are used for a number of tasks in the automotive industry, including the smoothing of body panels.
- They are multipurpose and can be utilised when dealing with materials such as plaster and fiberglass. Rasp-cut files, designed specifically for use on wood, have a grid of tiny teeth.
Rasps. Feature individual teeth that are randomly placed to provide a faster, rougher cut.
- Wood rasps have a very coarse surface and are used primarily for quick removal of stock.
- Cabinet rasps are best suited for finer, more delicate work and can be used on wood of all types, leather or soft materials.
- Patternmaker’s cabinet rasps provide a smoother finish.
- Horse rasps are used for working on horseshoes.
Files and rasps come in several different shapes. The chart below describes their unique set of advantages for different tasks.
Flat, Mill or Hand
- Features straight edges and a flat surface with a series of parallel teeth.
- Flat files taper in width and thickness from the middle outward
- Mill files taper in width and thickness all the way through
- Hand files taper only in thickness and feature a square point
- Features both a flat face and a curved face.
- Concave surfaces, edges and holes
- Flat face can be used for filing flat surfaces
- Curved face is ideal for use on grooves
- Circular design features teeth all the way around. Also called “rat-tail.”
- Enlarging round openings
- Removing burrs from metal
- Features four cut sides.
- Enlarging rectangular openings
- Features two cut sides and one uncut side. Also called “taper” or “threesquare”
- Working on acute internal angles
- Squaring corners
- Filing grooves
- Sharpening saw teeth and other tools
File grades are often broken down into bastard cut, second cut or smooth cut.
- Bastard cut is the coarsest grade and is used to remove material quickly
- Second cut can also be used for fast removal but it provides a slightly smoother finish. Second cut is also known as medium cut.
- Smooth cut features a fine grade best used for finishing work and preparing surfaces for sanding.
Rasp grades include bastard, cabinet and wood.
- Unlike with files, a rasp bastard cut is the finest grade.
- Cabinet cut is also known as medium cut.
- Cabinet- and wood-grade rasps remove material quickly
Usage and Care
It’s important to choose the right combination of shape, size and grade for the project you’re working on. Also, proper care and technique is key to safe and effective use.
- When using tool push outwards across the surface and adjust pressure according to type of material you’re working with.
- Lift the tool at the end of the stroke and bring it back to the starting position before allowing it to touch the surface again.
- When files become clogged clean them with a wire brush or file card. Rubbing chalk on the surface of the tool can help prevent clogging.
- Always work in a well-ventilated area and use respiratory protection when necessary.
- Keep files in protective sleeves or slotted racks when not in use to prevent them from scraping against each other.
- Handles:Rubberized grips on ergonomic handles make working with tools less of a chore. Inserts in the universal handles enable it to be utilised with a variety of forms.
- 4-in-1 Tool:A versatile implement with a wide range of applications. Some files have flat sides while others have rounded corners; yet others combine the functions of a file and a rasp.
- File Card:Used to remove waste like sawdust and metal shavings from between the teeth of files and rasps.
- Diamond File:Including diamond particles that have been ground to a fine enough size for use in industrial settings. Ideal for use on fibreglass, epoxy, and other tough materials. Diamond files, particularly smaller ones, may be used well on glass, porcelain, and many metals