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A file - what it is, how it looks and works, what it is for, difference from a rasp, main types

The evolution of tools has led to the fact that hand-held appliances have been replaced by electric ones. Some assistants have not changed their appearance over the years of operation; a file can be considered such a tool, with which you can perform various operations.

What is a file?

There are many types of files. This easy-to-use multi-blade tool is known to every craftsman, it can quickly and easily remove the top coating from the workpiece. A variety of materials can be processed with a file; it easily copes with metal, plastic, wood, textolite and others. With a file, you can gradually and accurately cut off the layers in layers, giving the product the necessary shape, size, or making the surface rough if necessary.

What does a file look like?

A good craftsman should have several files in his arsenal. This tool looks like a metal rod that is attached to the handle. Ease of use and safety in work depends on it, it is an important element of the file. The handle can be wooden, a ring is attached to such models to protect the tool from splitting, and varnished or painted to prevent the material from rotting. Files with plastic handles are complemented by rubberized inserts for ease of use. The main parts of the file also include:

  • shank;
  • heel;
  • a working part having a face, a toe and an edge.

How does a file work?

You can expand the diameter of the workpiece, shorten any part using a high-quality file. Teeth applied to a metal rod remove parts of the material being processed. A large wood file immediately removes a thick layer of the product, experts advise starting work with a tool with medium teeth, gradually changing files. It is necessary to finish surface treatment with a product with the smallest notch. With this method of work, the surface will remain smooth, there will be no pronounced grooves on it.

wood file

What is a file for?

Different types of files perform many functions. For locksmith work, tools with a double notch of teeth are suitable, the length of which can be different. Special files are a special type of tool that is widely used on an industrial scale, they eliminate large imperfections and fit large parts with a difference in the size of the grooves or differences in the curvature of the surface of the product. For processing small parts or working in hard-to-reach places, small files are used – needle files.

What is the difference between a rasp and a file?

Rough processing of parts can be entrusted to a rasp. This type of file is used for rough work, it has the largest notches, which is what stands out. To achieve the best effect in the work, experts advise using a rasp in turn, and after it a diamond file. A set of rasps is a bargain, a few tools will greatly facilitate the work of a home master. The minimum number of products for working with wood, soft metal, plastic and leather consists of rasps of the following type:

  • flat;
  • round;
  • semicircular.

Types of files

Manual processing of metal blanks is carried out using a variety of files. It is necessary for a home master to understand their types, to understand how they differ, what they are and what they are intended for.

  1. Bastard file – a tool with a large notch, it serves for the final, finishing grinding of the surface.
  2. Personal file has an average notch size, is used as an intermediate option for surface treatment.
  3. Velvet file with the smallest notch is necessary for finishing parts and their grinding.

types of files

File marking

It is difficult to entrust the fine processing of workpieces to machines, but having a set of files, you can cope with such a task. The marking of the tool must comply with GOST, it must reflect the main characteristics of the tool:

  1. Class – from 1 to 6.
  2. Length – looks like a number after the Latin letter L.
  3. Notch type – from 0 to 5.
  4. Tooth hardness – two-digit figure after the abbreviation HRC.
  5. Steel type – У, if the tool is made of carbon alloys, ШХ, if the file is made of alloyed steel.

How to choose a file?

Choosing a tool like a file is not an easy task. Many factors should be taken into account when buying this simple tool; experienced specialists advise the following factors to pay attention to the master:

  1. Work surface shape is selected depending on the type of blanks with which it is planned to work.
  2. File hardnessselected depending on the type of material with which you have to work.
  3. Notch size – an important parameter that cannot be neglected, it would be ideal to have tools with several types of notches for rough and finishing.
  4. Blade length file is selected depending on the size of the workpiece. A small tool works well with small surfaces and holes, while large files are needed for large areas.
  5. Tool type – a manual or tape file is necessary on the farm, depending on the preferences of the master. Modern automatic fixtures are suitable for processing complex curved workpieces, and for simple parts, manual equipment familiar to many is more acceptable.

band file

File shapes

It is difficult to process any surface with a standard file; a specialist in working with metal and other materials should have tools for all occasions in the arsenal. Masters have come up with a variety of file shapes that help achieve amazing results when working with specific shapes of workpieces.

  • round is suitable for grinding oval or round holes;
  • square is designed to work with rectangular holes;
  • rhombic is suitable for processing corners and inclined surfaces;
  • flat copes well with irregularities on the details;
  • triangular is suitable for processing internal corners of various shapes;

Types of file notches

Depending on the length and size of the section, each file must have a corresponding notch number, from 0 to 5.

  • 0 and 1 – the largest bastard files that can remove from 0.05 to 0.1 mm of a metal surface;
  • 2 and 3 – personal files, process the product by 0.02-0.06 mm;
  • 4 and 5 – velvet files, able to remove a layer of 0.01-0.03 mm.

file handle

A handle is attached to the file shank so that the tool is convenient to use. Its surface must be inspected before purchase, and preference should be given to even and smooth options without burrs and chips. Some metal file sets come with a universal replacement handle that is quick and easy to install on any tool and saves a lot of space in the garage. To fix such a handle on the rod, you need to put it on the shank and gently tap with a hammer on its base.

file handle

How to use a file?

Working with any tool requires skills and abilities from the master, most importantly, compliance with safety regulations. Before work, you should decide what form of tool you need to take to process a particular surface: a flat, round or rhombic file. It is most convenient to clamp the workpiece in a vice so that it does not move, apply markings and then proceed to grinding. For processing large surfaces, the movement of the file should be alternated, moving it back and forth, left and right and diagonally.

How to restore a file at home?

Many novice craftsmen believe that a tool with traces of paint or rusty cannot be restored, and throw it away. Any metal files can be cleaned, sharpened and used for a long time. After work on the restoration of the metal rod, you can also update the handle, it is recommended to carefully remove the old one if it is split and has defects. The new one will last a long time if it is treated with special tools for wood, coated with varnish or paint.

How to clean a file?

Many craftsmen have encountered the problem when the files become rusty and cannot be used. You can clean both a straight and a trihedral file, as well as other options, with improvised materials at home.

  1. In a container where the entire file is placed, it is necessary to pour hot water and clean the surface of the tool with an old toothbrush and dishwashing detergent.
  2. Drain the soap solution, dry the file, prepare a liquid for cleaning the surface of the instrument, consisting of 1 tbsp. hot water and 2 teaspoons with a slide of citric acid. Pour the file with the prepared solution and leave it in it for 12 hours.


how to clean a file

How to sharpen a file?

Frequent use of the file can cause the tool to become dull. Working with copper, aluminum and stainless steel is a common cause of small metal particles getting stuck between the teeth. A rough file becomes clogged, its surface loses its function, its cutting part needs to be sharpened. There are several options that can return the file to its original appearance.

  1. Chemical method fast and efficient. Before sharpening, the tool must be cleaned, degreased and dried. The solution into which the file is then placed consists of water (86%), nitric acid (8%) and sulfuric acid (6%). In 10 minutes. after immersion, the instrument must be removed and rinsed well.
  2. Electrochemical method similar to the previous one. The proportions of the solution in it are slightly different, water (80%), nitric acid (9%) and sulfuric acid (11%) are taken. The file must be lowered into the prepared mixture and a low-frequency current must be passed using aluminum plates.
  3. mechanical method sharpening tools requires a special device – a milling machine. First, the file is fired in a special oven at a temperature of about 800 ° C, after which its surface is polished on the machine. With the help of a chisel, notches are formed on an even file. For hardening, the tool is placed in a solution consisting of water (50 l), salt (2 kg) and hydrochloric acid (1 l). For hardening small tools, the proportions are reduced.
  4. Sandblasting method sharpening files requires the ability to work with special tools. The restoration of the cutting surface occurs with the help of fine sand, which is passed through a nozzle under pressure.
  5. Folk sharpening methods tools are widely used by home craftsmen. Experts recommend using different compositions to restore the working surface of files: citric acid, ferric chloride, vinegar.



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