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What is a warding file?

What is a warding file?

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Diagram to illustrate the location of warding on a lock and the type of lock it exists on Warding files are machinist’s files and are frequently used by locksmiths. They are named after the shaped openings in keyholes that act as a barrier to lock picking, as they are used to both deburr and repair them.
Diagram showing where the notches can be found in a key. These notches are filed using a warding file. They can also be used to file the notches in a key that allow it to fit into the warding.

What are the characteristics of a warding file?

Diagram of a slim rectangular cross section

Cross section

Warding files have a slim, rectangular cross section.

Image of a warding file, showing the outline and location of cut

Profile and cut

They taper in width towards the point. They are double cut on both faces and single cut on both edges.

Image of a narrow slot in a piece of metal that could easily be deburred with a warding file It is their tapered faces and thin profiles that make them ideal for finishing and deburring in the narrowest of spaces.
An indication of the range of lengths in which warding files are usually available


Warding files are usually available in lengths from 100mm (4 inches) to 250mm (10 inches).

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

Swiss or American?

Warding files can be either Swiss or American pattern.

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