About Files

File tools are among the most basic and essential items to have in the tool kit of mechanics, carpenters, and DIYer. They are quite useful for making fine adjustments on metal pieces and to produce a smooth and even surface.

People have been using files since humans started using metals. The first metal to be used by men was bronze, and there is evidence that proves that people at those times used the tools for shaping metals. There is no better way to make fine adjustments on a piece of metal than to rub it down. Depending on the amount of material you want to remove from a surface, you can use different teeth structures. While a coarse tooth can remove a lot of material in little time, a smooth tool removes a very little material and provides a much smoother finish. Read this article to know more about these DIY tools and how to pick the right type of them.

Different types of file tools

Having a good selection of products is a prerequisite if you want to unleash your creative potential as a DIYer. If you know what file to use for which situations and how to use them, the job can be less tiresome and more effective. You will need them not only for removing unwanted layers of material from a metal surface but also for shaping and polishing them. When done right, the end result is a decent level of smoothness on metal surfaces. Tools with coarse teeth are useful for woodworking as well. This article will tell you everything you need to know about buying the right product.

Flat and Hand files

Flat and hand files are very similar. Both of them are flat and have a rectangular cross-section. The edges remain parallel to each other for a considerable length. In the case of a flat one, it tapers near the final one-third of its length. The actual filing faces of both of these products are double-cut while the edges are single cut. But hand filing tool have one edge without any cuts and are therefore called a safe edge. The safe edge helps you file surfaces that are at a right angle to another surface that does not need filing.

Round and half-round file tool

The shapes of both of these tools are pretty much the same as the name. Round files have a circular cross-section while half-round ones have semicircular cross-sections. A round tool is useful for filing circular holes inside a piece of metal. In both round and half-round filing tool, the cut surface is only a third of the length of the product. The rest of their lengths consist of smooth surfaces. You can use a half-round tool for shaping semicircular cut-outs in metals. But in some cases, you can use half-round tools and round tools interchangeably, like in the case of a semicircular cut out on the edge of metal.

Cant saw file tools

Cant saw tools have angled filing surfaces. In fact, it is easier to think of the cant product as a tool with three surfaces, similar to a long prism. Out of these three surfaces, only two have cut-outs for filing. The cut-outs on both sides are single cut-outs and are parallel throughout the length. But not all of these cut-outs are of equal depths. The cut-outs can look irregular at first. But if you look at them closely, you will see a repeating pattern of M-shaped teeth. If you want to file an angled surface, this is the type of product you need.

Needle file tools

Needle tools consist of a set of twelve different filing products that are narrow. But the cross-section and the shape of the shaft of these tools differ slightly from each other. A few of these are actually miniature forms or regular ones like flat, triangular, and round files. Some of them even use the same names as that of the regular-sized tools. Round and half-round tools among needle files are almost the same as their larger counterparts. But these smaller tools are great for working on materials that are delicate and require more precision.

Tips on how to buy File Tools

Finding the right file tools can be much harder than you might think. As there are so many different types of file tools with a variety of sizes and grades within them, it can be incredibly hard to choose the right one from them. So, how does one pick the right product from all of these? Well, it is easier if you know what criteria to consider in order to select the right type. Here are some tips that you can follow when you are shopping for them.

  • Choose the right type – The first thing to do when you are shopping for file tools is to decide what type of file tools you want. Because there are hundreds of different files out there, buying all of them is not practical. Rather pick the one that you will need the most. Try to have at least one size of flat, round, and triangular files.
  • Grade of the file tool – The grade of the cut refers to the size and shape of the cut-outs on the file. If a file has a single cut, it means that the surface of the file has teeth that are arranged in the same direction. Double cut means that there are two sets of teeth that crisscross each other. The sharpness of the cut also varies between the files.
  • Handles – It is essential for a file to have a comfortable handle that is easy to hold for an extended period of time. Usually, file tools come with wooden handles or rubberised angles. Soft rubber handles offer a great deal of comfort and provide a better grip than wooden handles. You can also put a rubber covering over a regular wooden handle.
  • Teeth – There are three types of teeth you can choose from: fine, medium, and coarse. Coarse teeth are great if you want to remove a lot of material from the surface. But they will leave the surface feeling rough. Fine teeth are what you need for finishing the surface. You can use a fine file after using the coarse file. Medium teeth are midway between the fine and coarse teeth.

Besides file tools, there are some essential tools that must be in every DIYers toolbox. These include things like screwdrivers, drills, nuts and bolts, paint scrapers, measuring instruments, cutting tools, and adhesives. But the good news is that you can find all of them easily using our product search engine. That way, you can also compare the prices and features of different products and pick the right one from them. Finally, don’t forget to check out other amazing products from the DIY category.

Question & Answer

What are hand files used for?

The primary purpose of hand files is to remove the rough edges from a piece of metal and to smoothen the surface. As they use high carbon steel, hand files are also generally tougher and durable than other types of files. On top of that, they also go through a heat treatment process that adds to their strength. To remove rough edges from metal using a hand file, you need to hold it in both hands. Then file the metal using only forward motion by only putting gentle pressure on the metal. After each forward motion, lift the file from the surface to avoid backstroke.

What is the difference between metal files and wood files?

Metal files are for filing and shaping metals while wood ones are for making patterns and cutting wood. Wood tools are also known as cabinet files or pattern makers. At first glance, both wood and metal files might look the same. But there are a few key differences between them. The first point of difference is that wood products are softer than metal files. Even though you can use metal files to shape hardwood, you cannot use wood files on metals. The teeth on wood files are generally much more pronounced than those on metal ones.

Do files only cut one way?

Most files only have their teeth pointing toward the forward direction. Because of this, a backward stroke with a file does not bring about the desired effect on the material. Also, an experienced person moving filing with both backward and forward motion can sometimes damage the file. Therefore, the most efficient and correct way to use a file is to apply force only in the forward direction. If you are doing a finishing job with a file, it is better to lift the file from the surface and entirely avoid a backwards stroke on the surface of the metal.

If you are looking to buy file tools online in the UAE, look no further as you are in the right place. There are more than 500 shops and brands offering them here on These shops offer products from brands like Auriou, Tome Feteira, Crescent, Paul Sellers, Simonds, and Taparia.