How to Use a File

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Files are designed to smooth wood, metal and plastic. You can remove burrs from corners and sharpen metal edges with one as well. A file cuts only on the push stroke and leaves marks on the surfaces that must later be smoothed with sandpaper.

Things You'll Need

  • Double-cut Files
  • Single-cut Files
  • Curved Tooth Files
  • Flat Files
  • Half-round Files
  • Round Files
  • Square Files
  • Triangle Files
  • Wood Files
  • Match the file shape to the workpiece ' is it flat, round or angled?

  • Make sure the file lies flat on the work surface.

  • Use the file diagonally. Push with one hand on the handle and use the heel of the other hand to guide the file.

  • Work from left to right along the work surface. Reverse direction when you reach the end and work your way back to the beginning.

  • File until you're satisfied with the smoothness of the work.

  • Clean the teeth often with a file card.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the file flat to avoid rounding the corners of the work.
  • Fit your files with handles for your comfort and protection.

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