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HAND FILES / ENGINEERS FILES - 1

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Hand files are used in the workshop to smooth rough edges. They can be used to smooth a range of materials including metals such as brass and steel to wood based materials such as MDF. They are made from high carbon steel and they are heat treated so that they are tougher than the steel or other materials that they are to be applied to.

Hand files are normally held in both hands. The file is held flat against the surface it is to cut / smooth. The file is then pushed forward and it cuts on the forward stroke. It is then lifted away from the metal and returned to the starting point for the next push forward. This is called ‘through filing’

     

Through filing is normally the first stage in smoothing a piece of metal or plastic.

 
     

If the surface produced by through filing is not good enough - the next stage is ‘draw filing’. The diagram below shows how the file is held during this process. The file is held in both hands by the blade and pushed forwards and backwards along the material. This will further smooth the material.

 

The final stage of filing / smoothing a piece of metal / plastic is to use either emery cloth or wet and dry paper. Emery cloth is used for metals whilst wet and dry paper is used for plastics. The cloth / paper is held onto the blade of the file as shown i the diagram below. When using emery cloth on steel a small amount of oil can be added which helps smooth the material even further.

A polishing / buffing machine can be used to ‘polish’ the surface of the material (plastic and soft metals only).

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