Kent takes very good care of his files, and they last for 20 years or more. Here are some tips:

Do not bundle or rub files together, or leave them in a pile or loose in a drawer. Files are easily damaged by banging against one another, as this dulls them almost instantly. Never buy a file at the hardware store that is tossed in a bin with other files, or has its protective plastic removed. When storing, protect file teeth by wrapping each file in paper or cloth, or hanging them.

Keep files away from liquids and moisture. Rust pits and dulls teeth. You can use a little oil to prevent rust, but oil can make the file slide across the work without much cutting, so use it judiciously. If your file has rusted, use some “Must for Rust” to remove the rust, and follow with a little oil for rust prevention.

Clean file teeth regularly with a File Card / Brush, and use chalk to keep the teeth from clogging if needed.

Do not file sandblasted steel. Your files can also be dulled or chipped by MIG weld-hardened steel, or by steel that has been heated and quenched with water.

Files can be resharpened very nicely, but NOT using acid !!! We recommend Boggs Tool & File Sharpening, Paramount, CA.

1. Vixen (curved-cut) files have teeth in curved contoured rows across the file face. They are considered the best fi le ever designed for autobody repair and are used for smoothing panels.

2. & 3. Single-cut files have single diagonal (parallel) rows of teeth. They are used with light pressure to produce a smooth finish or to put an edge on knives, shears, or saws. Double-cut files are used with heavier pressure to remove metal faster. They have two diagonal rows of teeth cut at different or opposite angles. Generally the “upcut” (top row of teeth) is a finer cut.

4. & 5. Shear / Serrated-cut files have single cut teeth divided by steep angled serrations, which free themselves readily from chips (some perform roughing and smoothing simultaneously).

Tips from the Tinman

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