What are rifflers?
|Rifflers, also known as riffler files, are double-ended tools that are designed to file in tight, irregularly shaped spaces.
|The term, ‘riffler files’ is somewhat of a misnomer, but comes about as they are included by many manufacturers in the Swiss files section of their catalogue. This is due to the fact that their teeth are classified using the Swiss pattern system, which is unusual for rasps.
What are the different types of riffler?
|Riffler files come in two very slightly different types: die sinker’s rifflers and silversmith’s rifflers.
Die sinker’s rifflers
Die sinker’s riffler files are the smallest and most precise rifflers. They take their name from the dies used in stamping coins, and are favoured by jewellery makers, instrument makers and sculptors.
|As they are so small and precise, they are the best type of riffler to use on fine engraving work.
Slightly longer and wider than die sinker’s rifflers, silversmith’s rifflers are used not only in silversmithing, but also in die making (making the body of the die rather than carving).
What else are rifflers used for?
|In industry, rifflers are used for shaping and deburring the moulds used for plastic injection moulding and coin stamping.
|At home, rifflers are most often used for precision wood carving and sculpting.
|With so many different tool shapes available, this allows artists to work to a great degree of precision, creating curved surfaces and filing in confined spaces with equal ease.
What are the characteristics of rifflers?
Cross section and profile
Rifflers are available with a wide range of differently shaped heads that tend to be referred to more by catalogue numbers than by name.
|This is because there are not only a wide array of head shapes, but rifflers are also available with different heads at either end of the tool!
In this case, you are effectively buying two tools in one each time. Each head will have differently contoured faces that will, in turn, create differently shaped grooves and allow for a great deal of precision when carving.
Rifflers are cut on the head only, leaving the long, central section to act as a handle.
|They usually have rasp teeth, rather than file teeth. Some rifflers, however, have single cut file teeth along the edges of their heads.
For more information on rasps, see:
Rifflers usually measure between 137mm (5.5 inches) and 250mm (10 inches) long.
Swiss or American?
Even though rifflers have rasp teeth, they are still classed as Swiss pattern files.