Needle files--Do I need to spend a fortune?

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Forum topic by JoeyG posted 125 days ago 578 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1234 posts in 1257 days

125 days ago

I find myself in need of some needle files for some inlay/carvings I am doing and after a quick google search I learn that I can spend anywhere from a few bucks up to a few hundred bucks.

So my question is will I regret the $10 I spend on a cheap set or the $100’s I spend on an expensive set. I’ve made it this long without them, so I can make to, but they may make life easier.

What do you all think?

-- JoeyG ~~~

9 replies so far

View Loren's profile


7424 posts in 2279 days

#1 posted 125 days ago

Well, I don’t have expensive ones and the cheap ones I do
have work okay. They do cut slow, but that’s because they
have fine tooth patterns.

I will comment that I have a couple of sets of cheap rifflers
and I don’t feel they work very well on wood. They are
too coarse and have too few teeth I think.


View grizzman's profile


6937 posts in 1935 days

#2 posted 125 days ago

i googled needle files, and quite a few choices came up for no more then 20 bucks, i would go with that , certainly not 100’s….have you tried making some of your own, mill some small wooden sticks and glue some good sand paper onto cant hurt to try…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Redoak49's profile (online now)


319 posts in 620 days

#3 posted 125 days ago

I have a small set of HF needle files and they seem to work fine for filing small areas of wood. I do not use them on metal and would guess that they would be marginal for that use.

The nice thing about the needle files compared to sandpaper on a stick is that they are smaller and the shapes allow you to get into some small oddly shaped areas.

View crank49's profile


3373 posts in 1602 days

#4 posted 125 days ago

I have a couple sets of the Grobet Swiss needle files in different cuts.
The Tell brand of Swiss needle files are pretty good also, and not as expensive.

I’m a jeweler and I need the best quality files. For me, half the difference is speed of cut, but just as important is how well the files stay clean. Cheap files load up and leave erratic cuts that would be kinda like trying to finish sand with sandpaper that is plugged up. Slow and less than smooth results.
Also, it is important to note that I am working with silver and gold and not filing wood when I say I need top quality files.

There is one file that I use that now sells for around $35 that’s called a double ended half round wax file. It works great with wood also as a small rasp. There are cheap, under $10, versions of this file also, but they are about useless. The wax file is tapered on both ends, one end coarse, the other end fine, top is round and the bottom is flat. This is like having 4 different files in one.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View MrRon's profile


2797 posts in 1875 days

#5 posted 125 days ago

I would go with a cheap set of files. You probably won’t be using every one of them, so when the most used files become unusable, replace them with a better one. You can look for good files at any industrial supply houses like McMaster_Carr, MSC, Wholesale Tools, Enco, Rutland, etc.

View JoeyG's profile


1234 posts in 1257 days

#6 posted 125 days ago

Thanks your insights everyone. I appriciate the help. I think I like MrRon’s idea of buying cheap and replacing the ones I use most with more expensive ones.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View Pendragon1998's profile


41 posts in 207 days

#7 posted 123 days ago

I would imagine that even a lower quality metal file would be reasonably efficient at removing wood.

-- "I am always doing what I can't do yet in order to learn how to do it." - Van Gogh, September, 1885

View Texcaster's profile


657 posts in 305 days

#8 posted 123 days ago

A luthier trick is to grind chainsaw files to a V section and you have two different size rounds.

-- Bill....... I listen very closely to the timber and then impose my will.

View MrRon's profile


2797 posts in 1875 days

#9 posted 123 days ago

If you want to use files that are used for metal removal, use double cut/bastard files. They have a coarse pattern and will remove wood better. Single cut files just are too fine for removing much wood and clog easily.

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