Wood Files. Good Ones without Breaking the Bank?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 03-03-2013 04:33 AM 11005 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


950 posts in 2753 days

03-03-2013 04:33 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood files files shaping wood

Hey Folks,

I have been working on some projects that use files for shaping(ie. gunstocks).

I have a hodge podge assortment of rasps/files that I have been acquiring over the years but I have never really done any research on what are “good” files vs. “not good” ones OR, what should a person look for in a file.
Basically, a file is a file to me and since I have been using them on more and more projects these days, I was wondering what I should be looking for since I want to start adding more sizes and shapes to my arsenal.

Pretty much most of what I have currently are Nicholson or some other brands(not sure which ones) that are available at the big box stores.

Please start my “education” on wood files.

I don’t want to or need to break the bank on a particular brand of file or have the absolute top of the line. Just a good value.

Thank you much,

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

17 replies so far

View popmandude's profile


109 posts in 3014 days

#1 posted 03-03-2013 12:35 PM

Hi Brett
Head over to,and ask for Slav. He has a large stock of unused old stock. I only have one of his rasps, and one file, and these babies are magic. I just used these 2 to round over the faces of a cherry box. The file is simply amazing. Detailing the mitered corners of this box was a breeze. Using the file with a light touch, I was able to watch scratches disappear before my eyes. Slav Is a good guy, he will do ya right.It is well worth the effort to look him up.

Good luck

View helluvawreck's profile


31019 posts in 2860 days

#2 posted 03-03-2013 01:44 PM

I have found files to be plentiful at the various places that you expect to see old tools for sale. You can also make tools out of old files.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2945 days

#3 posted 03-03-2013 03:16 PM

Brett, since you have a hodgepodge assortment of files and rasps currently, your best bet (and most cost conscious) would be to get them out and figure out what they all are. I faced pretty much the same thing a while back and found that the old pile I had actually some really good stuff. I found I had a couple of really nice cabinet maker’s rasps (thought they were useless until I used them). I even found a large float in the pile. Since I purchased all those old files, I have bought only one new one; a Japanese convex rasp. That’s it. I have all I need for the foreseeable future.

Good Luck!

-- Mike

View bondogaposis's profile


4717 posts in 2345 days

#4 posted 03-03-2013 04:01 PM

I don’t know much about this subject but I can recommend Japanese saw rasps as being very effective and fairly cheap.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Loren's profile


10373 posts in 3641 days

#5 posted 03-03-2013 04:33 PM

Read and comment on this thread:

View a1Jim's profile


117086 posts in 3571 days

#6 posted 03-03-2013 04:53 PM

When shaping wood it’s hard to beat one of these guys ,there not cheep but I don’t know of anything that works better that’s not a power tool.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View popmandude's profile


109 posts in 3014 days

#7 posted 03-03-2013 06:24 PM

Click on Lorens link, scroll down to post # 6 Where you will find a youtube link to Slavs video. This guy is a jackpot of info.

Good luck to all

View Tim's profile


3802 posts in 1955 days

#8 posted 03-03-2013 06:28 PM

The thread Loren linked has everything I could have said. It’s sad Nicholson has degraded the quality of their stuff so much so quickly. Jim have you gotten that rasp recently and it’s still good quality? New old stock might still be available.

View a1Jim's profile


117086 posts in 3571 days

#9 posted 03-03-2013 06:39 PM

No Tim ,I’ve had mine for years. Seams like I’ve seen good reviews on another brand but I don’t recall that brand name.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2355 days

#10 posted 03-03-2013 07:18 PM

Check out a farrier’s rasp. It’s a real workhorse (pun intended).

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View sikrap's profile


1121 posts in 3352 days

#11 posted 03-04-2013 04:08 AM

You definitely need to talk to Slav, as was recommended. The guy is unbelievably knowledgeable.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View HorizontalMike's profile


7754 posts in 2907 days

#12 posted 03-04-2013 12:18 PM

What file/rasp is best for hard resinous woods like Rosewood?

Hand filing these Rosewood totes that I am making is taking nearly 4-hours or more BEFORE I can move to sandpaper… and am using one of those off-shored Nicholson rasps. Even with this, the filings seem to be microscopic.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 2979 days

#13 posted 03-04-2013 01:35 PM

HMike, I use the Iwasaki japanese rasp/files. They cut very smoothly and quickly. I have a flat and a convex and they have made my tote shaping go pretty quickly, less than an hour per. Of course, that is using good ol’ cherry, but I have used them on rosewood in my guitars and they cut equally well there.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View HorizontalMike's profile


7754 posts in 2907 days

#14 posted 03-04-2013 08:40 PM

I just checked out the Iwasaki files online at WC. Looks like a medium round and flat are in my future. Thanks.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 2824 days

#15 posted 03-04-2013 08:58 PM
The Best Things was one of the original importers of Auriou hand-cut French rasps into the United States. These hand-cut rasps were of the highest quality and …

These are what C. Swartz raves about…..

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

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