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What is an American pattern file?

What is an American pattern file?

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The American flag, representing American pattern files American pattern files are also referred to as commercial files, hardware files or engineer’s files.
Image of the industrial age in the US, during which time file producing companies sprang into life While American pattern files did not originate in the US (as there is documented evidence of some of the terminology that is associated with them being used in medieval Britain), they earned their name due to the amount of high quality file producing companies in the US during the industrial age.
Illustration of cross filing American pattern files are mainly used for shaping and finishing (machinist’s files or engineer’s files)…
DIYer sharpening a rip saw with a taper saw file …or for sharpening tools (saw files or sharpening files).
Image to show that American pattern files are usually used on larger jobs than Swiss pattern files This is due to the fact that they are produced in larger sizes than Swiss pattern files, and in different shapes.
A DIYer lining their mill file up so that they can work at a shallow angle to sharpen it Some examples of American pattern files include handy files, taper saw files and mill files. Mill files are widely used to sharpen tools with a cutting edge.

For more information, see What is a handy file?, What is a taper saw file?and What is a mill file?

Image of the Wonkee Donkee tool factory shop American pattern files are cheaper than Swiss pattern files, and are the ones that you are most likely to find in a tool shop.


Image showing that the coarsest American pattern file is described as coarse and the smoothest is described as dead smooth American pattern files vary in coarseness from coarse (roughest) to dead smooth (finest).


A horse rasp with set edges, meaning there are no teeth near to the edge of the tool The term ‘set’ describes the technique of grinding down the edges of the face of a file to remove the ends of the teeth, or not fully cutting them to the edge of a file in the first place.
A horse keeper lifting up their horse's hoof to put onto a hoof jack This is most commonly seen on tools like horse rasps, and adds an extra layer of safety when filing very close to something that should not be filed (like a horse’s leg!)

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