Wood Files. Good Ones without Breaking the Bank?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 547 days ago 2828 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


881 posts in 1395 days

547 days ago

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 1656 days

#1 posted 547 days ago

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


15638 posts in 1502 days

#2 posted 547 days ago

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

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View paratrooper34's profile


760 posts in 1588 days

#3 posted 546 days ago

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


2496 posts in 987 days

#4 posted 546 days ago

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


7462 posts in 2284 days

#5 posted 546 days ago

View a1Jim's profile


112026 posts in 2213 days

#6 posted 546 days ago

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.

-- Custom furniture

View popmandude's profile


109 posts in 1656 days

#7 posted 546 days ago

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


1249 posts in 597 days

#8 posted 546 days ago

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


112026 posts in 2213 days

#9 posted 546 days ago

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.

-- Custom furniture

View Clint Searl's profile (online now)

Clint Searl

1431 posts in 997 days

#10 posted 546 days ago

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

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View sikrap's profile


1005 posts in 1995 days

#11 posted 546 days ago

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

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View HorizontalMike's profile


6928 posts in 1550 days

#12 posted 546 days ago

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


750 posts in 1621 days

#13 posted 546 days ago

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


6928 posts in 1550 days

#14 posted 545 days ago

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


1074 posts in 1466 days

#15 posted 545 days ago
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.

showing 1 through 15 of 17 replies

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