Sunday, October 14, 2018

File Blocks

Files can remove material quickly and depending on the grit they can cut smooth or aggressive. When you want to remove material quicker than sandpaper, files can do better.  They are also great shaping tools. 

These files blocks are simple to make and will sit nice in your tool case or fit in a small tool box. I know I will be using them a lot in my shop.

I bought a 10" file and cut 2  pieces from it. I used my Angle Grinder Miter to cut the file. This is hard steel but the grinder cut it quicker than I thought.

Of course you can use any file and  experiment with different files from fine to course. The one I am using is called smooth. 

                Grades of cuts- Files             
                      very smooth
                      second cut

The file cut alright but I will have to add a metal base plate for my Miter table to help prevent the table from burning. 

The tablesaw fence was set to the width of the file which is 28mm, this will be the same size as the bottom part of the handle. 

Now I will cut the lower part of the handle. I had some scrap Brazilian cherry hardwood flooring pieces. They will look good together with maple.


The maple will be the top of the handle, the blade was tilted to 7 degrees and both sides are cut. 

The cherry pieces are glued on to the maple block. Weights are put on and set aside overnight.

The ends were slightly tapered, this will make it look better. NOTE: This was all marked out earlier to match to exact size of the file.

A round over router bit was used for the top only, this will look best and feel comfortable when holding. I used a screw clamp to hold the block to keep my hands far from the router bit.

All to do now is some fine sanding, I first used some 150 grit then 220.

I brushed on  a couple coats of Polyurethane. Fine sandpaper and steel wool was used between coats. Two coats makes a difference, it will give you a smooth, even protective finish.

The file can now be glued onto the block. I used 60 minute  epoxy for this.

I tested a few pieces and I am very happy with the results. It took off sharp edges very quick and shaped the wood easily, and the wood still felt smooth.

This will be my go to tool when I want to remove small amounts of wood fast. The handle helps control the file and works on large flat surfaces which is difficult to do with a regular file.

I have 2 and one will be a dedicated tool for some of my piano work.

I came up with this idea because I felt a regular file could not do what a sanding block could and a file does not have the right handle. Now with a nice handle it works and looks  great. I certainly will get a lot of use from these file blocks. 

See Also

                                            Make a large bevel gauge                           Belt sander stand            

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