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What is a round file?

What is a round file?

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Image of a DIYer using a round file to make a semicircular groove in a piece of composite material Round files are machinist’s files and, just like half round files, they can be used for creating semicircular grooves, finishing and deburring concave surfaces. They are often used in jewellery making to create detailed patterns in bracelets.
The round file is nicknamed the rat's tail file due to its similar shape They are also known as rat’s tail files, as they both look similar!

What are the characteristics of a round file?

Diagram of a circular cross section

Cross section

Round files have a circular cross section.

Wonkee Donkee jokes about the cross-sectional shape of round files
Image showing the outline and cut of a round file

Profile and cut

They are tapered in width and thickness and can be single or double cut.

A DIYer using a round file to enlarge a slot in a wooden door. Their taper allows them to be used to enlarge round holes.
Image of a round file being used to make jewellery As they have such narrow points, they can be used in sculpting and jewellery making to finish the detail on fine carving work.
An indication of the range of lengths in which round files are usually available


Round files are usually available in lengths from 100mm (4 inches) to 350mm (14 inches)

American and Swiss flags, illustrating that this type of file is made in either American or Swiss pattern

Swiss or American?

They can be either Swiss or American pattern.

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