Even the coarsest files (above left) don’t cut wood as well as rasps, and tend to clog. File teeth, from finest to coarsest, come in SMOOTH CUT, SECOND CUT (or MEDIUM), and BASTARD CUT. Files are often disregarded as tools for woodworking, but they are actually extremely useful. All of these tools give you great control when removing small amounts of material, Tim, but each is so different from the others that it makes sense to have all three types in your shop (as well as different versions of each type). A smooth level stroke with a sharp bastard file will leave a surface every bit as fine as a handplane. Here’s a list of my go-to tools. As a verb rasp is to use a rasp. Those with rows running at opposing angles are called cross-cut or double-cut files—these cut more aggressively than straight-cut files.Largely used for metal removal, files occasionally come in handy for fine wood removal, though they quickly clog in that application. Coarseness is relative — a large file is generally coarser than a small one, even if both are labeled the same, and a rasp is always coarser than a file. What's the best bevel angle for my chisel? Files work best with metal, while rasps and rifflers serve only to carve wood or soft stone. Although both of these tools perform similar tasks, each one performs a specific type of function. A file will shape wood, but not as effectively as a rasp. How To Sharpen Your Drill Bits With The Drill Doctor, What To Look For In A Battery Powered Circular Saw. Send your woodworking questions to askwood@woodmagazine.com ■ File and rasp handles increase comfort in holding the tool and controlling it. The primary difference between a rasp from a file is that rasps are primarily for wood, but files are for metal. ■ Rasps get greater use in wood shops than files and rifflers. Here’s what you need to know: © 2020 Meredith Corporation. A rasp is the same kind of tool but used only for shaping wood Those with only parallel teeth are known as straight-cut or single-cut files. Considering the different sizes and tooth configurations of files and rasps, selecting a starter set for shaping and smoothing can be downright dizzying, but don’t fret. Can you describe the best applications for each of these hand tools, and how to use them? A rasp has very aggressive teeth, and a file has smaller, harder teeth. Get into the habit of lifting the tool at the end of each stroke and returning to the start position. A file is meant to shape metal, and a rasp is meant to shape wood. ■ Files have long teeth running across their width. File and Rasp Starter Set. ■ Store them so they don’t contact each other and become damaged. For more related content, subscribe to our newsletter! ), 5 Types Of Wood Glue – Woodworking Guides, 10 Best Types of Wood for Carving (Spoons, Bowls, Walking Sticks & More), A finer cut resulting in a smoother finish, Files tend to clog up easily while working on wood, Rasps are the ideal choice for woodworking, You get a rough cut, but without ripping the material, you are working on, A variety of different types and cuts for various jobs, You cannot use a rasp on metal and other hard materials, Limited range of rasps available compared to files. From above left: files, rasps, and rifflers give you fine control over stock removal, and virtually no tear-out when shaping workpieces. ■ Rifflers, also known as riffler rasps because they have teeth like those on rasps, have variously shaped cutting surfaces at each end. A file is a hand tool used to shape many kinds of material by cutting. A rasp will not shape metal unless it is very soft, and it’s teeth will soon become dull and ineffective if used on metal. Rasps, from finest to coarsest, come in BASTARD, CABINET (or MEDIUM), and WOOD. Four grades—smooth, second cut, bastard, and coarse—give you additional choices in cutting aggressiveness. I’ve used the WOOD magazine “Drill Press Speed Chart” (woodmagazine.com/charts) for years, trying... read more, Subtle distinctions separate files, rasps, and rifflers. You can build a decent starter set for about as much as you’ll pay for a single premium hand plane. Scrollsaw, Carving, and Decorative Projects, Enjoy big-time safety cutting tiny pieces. A common misunderstanding we make while discussing hand tools is to consider a file and a rasp as the same thing. Better rasps have randomly spaced teeth, as shown below, that help give you smoother surfaces and better cutting control. , difference between woodworking rasps and files, 19 Types Of Woodworking Files -Woodworking Tools Guide, 8 Types Of Woodworking Rasps -Woodworking Tools Guide, Hammer vs Mallet - What's The Difference? The greater the variety of rifflers you have on hand, the better the odds you’ll have just the right shape to meet the task at hand. Why? Their teeth, shaped like tiny mountain peaks, cut wood aggressively, but with little tear-out or clogging. Push with one hand and guide the cutting surface with a finger or two of the other hand. I have a collection of files, rasps, and rifflers gathering dust in a drawer. 1. ■ For best control, hold the tool with both hands. You hold them in the middle when finely shaping hard-to-reach and concave surfaces. 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