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What are taper saw and double ended saw files?

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A taper saw file which is best used for sharpening saws Taper saw files and double ended saw files are versatile and can be used for a number of different finishing, deburring and sharpening tasks.
A triangular groove cut by a three square file As they are similar in shape to three square files, they can be used for many of the same tasks, including deburring internal angles and creating triangular notches and slots.

For more information, see: What is a three square file?

Image of a DIYer using a taper saw file to add serrations to a knife blade. This is less accurate than using a chequering file. Both files can be used to put serrations or ‘jimping’ onto a knife blade.
Image showing the outline and cut of a chequering file However, using these files for this task can produce a much less uniform effect than using a chequering file.

For more information on jimping and serrating, see: How to jump or serrate a knife blade

Image to show that a double ended saw file can count as having two taper saw files as it lasts twice as long Double ended saw files wear out more slowly than taper saw files thanks to the fact that they are effectively two files in one!

What are the characteristics of taper saw and double ended saw files?

Illustration of an equilateral triangle with 60° angles in all corners

Cross section

The cross section of all taper saw and double ended saw files is an equilateral triangle, meaning each corner is set at a 60° angle.

Image to illustrate that most saw teeth are at 60 degrees As most saws also have 60° angles between their teeth, this makes taper saw and double ended saw files the perfect tool for sharpening them.

See: How to sharpen a hand saw with a file: step by step

Image of a taper saw file showing both outline and cut

Profile

Taper saw files are tapered towards the point. They are more tapered than three square files. The taper on these files assists the user in starting a clean and even stroke, as it means the file can be started in motion before the cutting edges fully engage with the saw’s teeth.

Image illustrating that both ends of a double ended saw taper towards their respective point Each half of a double ended saw file tapers towards its respective point.
Image of a triangular hand saw file showing outline and cut It’s also possible to get a blunt version of this file, called a triangular hand saw file.
Wonkee Donkee reminds DIYers that in this case the word blunt refers to the shape of the file rather than the sharpness of its teeth
A single cut file with teeth cut in just one direction on the file's face

Cut

Both files are single cut on all faces.

Image showing the blunt point of a taper saw file Their points are safe, allowing the DIYer to hold both the handle and the point while using the file without coming into contact with the file’s teeth.
Size chart comparing regular, slim, extra slim and double extra slim taper saw files

Size

Taper saw files are available in narrower widths, which are labelled as slim, extra slim and double extra slim respectively.

Image of a sculptor using a slim taper saw file to tidy up some modelling work The slimmer versions of taper saw files can be used for precision work, such as sculpting, and can also fit between the teeth of finer saw blades.
An indication of the range of lengths in which taper saw files are usually available Standard taper saw files are available in lengths from 100mm (4 inches) to 250mm (10 inches).
An indication of the range of lengths in which slim, extra slim and double extra slim taper saw files are usually available Slim, extra slim and double extra slim taper saw files range from 100mm (4 inches) long to 200mm (8 inches) long.
An indication of the range of lengths in which double ended saw files are usually available Double-ended saw files are usually made between 150mm (6 inches) and 200mm (8 inches) long.
A double ender saw with a separate handle to show that the file had not tang or handle during the forging process

Double ended saw files and handles

Instead of having a handle, double ended saw files have a second file ‘head’ that joins onto the first. They are usually provided with a handle, which will fit onto either end of the file.

The American flag, representing American pattern files

Swiss or American?

Taper saw and double ended saw files are both American pattern files.

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