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Choosing a File Material

Choosing a file: material

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Image of the various materials that a DIYer might find themselves filing In some cases, the type of material you will be filing will help to inform your decision on which file to use.
A close up image of rasp teeth Soft materials, such as aluminium, brass, lead, plastic and wood may require a specialist file or rasp. Extremely hard materials may also require a specialist file.

For more information on how hardness is relevant to filing, see: What is hardness?

Image of Wonkee Donkee reading the guide on choosing files based on shaping tasks Suggestions are provided below for which files to use on specific materials.
A piece of aluminium, a soft metal that can easily clog files if they are not undercut

Aluminium or soft metals such as copper

Aluminium, millenicut and vixen files

A DIYer using a diamond file to shape a piece of glass

Ceramic or glass

Diamond files

A drill bit made from hardened steel which can be sharpened or repaired with a diamond file

Hardened steel

Diamond files

Image of a horse shoe that is still hot from the forge

Hot metal


A steel girder, which has a hardness of 5.5 on the Moh's scale

Iron, steel or hard metals such as titanium

Any file (avoid rasps)

A lump of lead, which should be filed with a lead float to prevent pinning


Lead float files

An image of plastic, a soft material that should be shaped with a rasp



Planks of wood, a soft material that should be shaped with a rasp


Japanese carving files and rasps

Wonkee Donkee Tools