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The file is a cutting
tool made of steel, with teeth cut into the metal. It is used to
shape wood or metal.
Files are made in various lengths,
shapes, and teeth sizes. The length of a file is measured from the
point to the heel.
The most common shapes are flat, round,
half-round, square, and triangular.
- The flat file is made
in lengths ranging from 4" to 18"; it is rectangular in cross
section, tapering both in length and in width.
- The round file is made
in lengths from 4" to 18", tapering throughout its length.
- The half-round file comes
in lengths from 4" to 18", having one flat side and one curved
side; the edges and the convex side are tapered.
- The square file is square
in cross section and its sides are tapered; it can be obtained in lengths
ranging from 4" to 18".
- The triangular file is
made in lengths ranging from 3" to 12"; it is triangular in
cross section, tapering on all sides from the point to the heel.
||The cut of a file refers
to the character of the teeth. The teeth are formed by a series of
parallel cuts at an angle oblique to the length. They may be single-
or double-cut. The size of the teeth varies the degree of coarseness
or fineness of the cut. The rougher the cut of a file, and the larger
the teeth, the greater the space between them.
Three cuts are commonly used: bastard,
second, and smooth. These are terms which describe the character
of the teeth. Bastard has the coarsest teeth; smooth has the finest.
A bastard-cut file is used for rough or heavy cutting; it produces
a relatively rough surface on the material filed. A smooth-cut file
is used for finishing; it produces a relatively smooth surface.
A file should be chosen to match the shape
of the surface that is to be filed. The tang should be fitted with a handle
and secured in place by holding the point of the file up and tapping the
handle on the bench.
The work that is to be filed should be held
securely in the vise in such a manner that the file, when placed on the
surface of the wood, will be horizontal. The point of the file is grasped
in one hand and the handle in the other. The file should cut on the forward
stroke. Slow, even strokes must be taken, with the file held steady. A
lateral movement of the file should accompany the forward motion.
When a file is clogged with filings it can
be cleaned with a file card. A few strokes across the file, following
the direction of the cut, will loosen any dust that may be lodged in the
gullets of the teeth. The wire side of the file card is used when filings
in the gullets cannot be removed by the brush.
The rasp is used for rough work when there
is a great deal of wood to be removed but not enough to require the use
of a saw. A rasp differs from a file in that the teeth are not cut in
parallel rows across the metal, but are formed separately. The half-round
cabinet rasp which the woodworker uses can be obtained in lengths ranging
from 6" to 16". The degree of coarseness may be second-cut or
smooth. The rasp is used in the same manner as the file.