Engineering files also known as hand files are a type of hand tool used to smooth, deburr and shape a range of materials including metals and wood whilst removing any unwanted material after cutting or sharpening. Files are shaped rectangular, square, triangular or round cross-section and include teeth cut into at least one of its sides with three common grades including coarse, bastard, second cut and smooth. Engineers files can also be used with a filehandle to make its use more ergonomic.
These files are normally held in both hands when using. The file will be placed flat onto the surface that you will be smoothing and then pushed forward, cutting on the forward stroke. This action will then be repeated until it has removed the material you don't want and is smooth.
Types of Cut
The cut refers to how the pattern of the teeth are cut into the working face of the file. Engineers files are available with various types of cut, depending on the type of application required. The most common types are single cut, bastard cut, double cut and rasp. Single cut files are commonly used to smooth and deburr with precision whereas a double cut is used to remove stock material quickly and efficiently.
Types of Files
- Taper saw files - ideal for working with notches and internal angles
- Chainsaw files - primarily used for sharpening the teeth of a chainsaw
- Hand files - used to shape and deburr a range of materials and tend to feature an uncut side to work with filing in corners
- Flat files - rectangular profile similar to a hand file
- Half round files - ideal for working with concave surfaces and tapered to easily insert into holes and confined spaces
- Round files - tapered to a point and ideal for deburring and enlarging circular and concave surfaces
- Square files - great for turning circular holes into squares as well as working with notches and right angles
- Three square files - also called a triangle file, ideal for creating notches with a 60° angle
- Warding files - tapered to a point and commonly used by locksmiths to file keyholes and notches
- Rasp - great for rapid removal of stock material