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How to clean a file?

How to clean a file?

During filing, it’s possible for small chips of material to get stuck in the teeth of the tool. This is referred to as ‘pinning’.


If left with clogged teeth, the ‘pins’ in the file can scratch the material you were trying to smooth, defeating the purpose of filing in the first place.


Therefore all files should be cleaned regularly.

What are the different ways to clean a file?

There are two ways to make sure that a file’s teeth are cleared of chips, and they’re both quick and easy! The first is using a file card whilst the second option is using a piece of soft metal.

Using a File Card Brush to Clean a File

A file card is a sturdy piece of wood with stiff wire bristles, designed specifically for removing material that is stuck in file teeth.

All you need to do is place the file card onto the file bristle side down, then push it sideways along the file in the direction of the teeth.


This will then push any debris along the grooves between the teeth. This should then fall out of the file once it reaches the end.

Most file cards have a needle on the back that can be used to push out any stubborn chips that don’t want to come out after a couple of sweeps with the file card.


Pushing with the needle tip should free even the most stubborn chips from the file’s teeth.

Using Soft Metal to Clean a File

A strip of copper or brass can be used in the same way as a file card to clear any pinning.


As the metal is soft, it will conform to the surface of the file. The teeth will make grooves in the bottom of the metal strip, which will then fit snugly into the gaps between them and chase out any debris.

The metal strip will be stronger than the individual wire bristles and eliminates the need to use a pin. However, it can only be used once before it needs to be thrown away.

How to Clean a Rasp?

In comparison to the process for files, keeping a rasp clean is a doddle. If pieces of wood get stuck in your rasp’s teeth, a few strokes with a stiff-bristled brush will have them free and clear in no time.

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