Our other sites:

What is a crosscut file?

What is a crosscut file?

Shop for Files

Image of a cross cut file showing cut and outline Crosscut files are saw files that were developed exclusively for sharpening crosscut saws.

For more on saw sharpening, see: How to sharpen a hand saw with a file: step by step

What are the characteristics of a crosscut file?

Diagram of a cross cut file cross section

Cross section

A crosscut file’s cross section resembles a triangle with a curved base.

Image of a DIYer sharpening a saw with a taper saw file The triangular part of the file fits perfectly between the teeth of the saw and can sharpen both tooth edges at a time.
A Great American crosscut saw which has been designed to effectively saw wood across the grain Some crosscut saws, referred to as ‘Great American’, have regularly spaced curved notches between the teeth to allow for the ejection of wood shavings.
Image to indicate the location of the gullets on a Great American crosscut saw. These gullets can be filed by the curved part of a crosscut file The curved part of the file can be used to enlarge the hollow at the point where the teeth meet the face of the saw. This is referred to as the ‘gullet’.
Image of a crosscut saw that has been sharpened a few times and now has very shallow gullets between the teeth. At this stage, the gullets should be deepened with a crosscut file The gullet may need to be enlarged after multiple sharpenings, when the saw’s teeth have worn down far enough that the points are close to the face of the blade.
Image of a team of DIYers whose saw has jammed while felling a tree. This could be because they did not enlarge the gullets in their saw with a cross cut file If the gullet is not enlarged then it will be more difficult for chips of wood to be ejected from the groove the saw cuts into a piece of wood, which can cause it to jam.
Wonkee Donkee jokes about chips and gullets
Diagram to illustrate how the curved part of a crosscut file makes it perfect for sharpening a crosscut saw While the 60° angle between the two flat faces of a crosscut file will fit between the teeth of rip saws, the curved back on these files has no application for working on anything other than the gullets in crosscut saws.
Image of a cross cut file showing cut and outline


Crosscut files are slightly tapered in thickness to make the filing stroke smoother for the DIYer. This is because the file is already in motion before it fully engages with the edges of the saw’s teeth.

A single cut file with teeth cut in just one direction on the file's face


They are single cut on both faces and the rounded part of the blade.

An indication of the range of lengths in which crosscut files are usually available


Crosscut files are usually available in lengths from 200mm (8 inches) to 250mm (10 inches).

The American flag, representing American pattern files

Swiss or American?

Crosscut files are American pattern files.

Wonkee Donkee Tools