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Files for gold and silver work

Hello all,

I have enjoyed and learned much from reading the posts here and now
I am finally posting a question. I have been slowly setting up my
studio for the last few years and now I am ready to get some new
files. I have been using Grandpa’s old ones and several purchased at
garage sales, but, now I’m ready to take the next step and get some
good ones. I am one who likes to buy quality once even if it costs
more, but, I don’t want to spend money unnecessarily. I would
appreciate all of your expertice opinions.

I am taking a casting class at a local art center for third time in
a row and I love it. It is a very relaxed atmosphere and I have made
a lot of nice pieces, but, some good files would really help. Thank


a lot of nice pieces, but, some good files would really help 

Grobet, Grobet, Grobet, and Grobet.

Hi Emily,

Like the previous poster said Grobet is a good brand of file and
they’re widely available here in North America. There are other
brands out there that you may or may not come across that are also
quite good, such as Fischer.

If your question is which shapes and cuts to purchase that depends a
lot on what kind of work you’re doing exactly. I work in a trade shop
doing repairs and custom work and the two files I use most are the 6"
flat cut 00 hand file and the 6" half round cut 00 hand file. For me
speed is really critical and these rough files remove lots of
material in a hurry. When I’m working on something that needs to have
really sharp corners and flat faces I’ll switch to a cut 2, cut 4,
or cut 6 flat hand file and work with emery sticks from there. On top
of that I use an assortment of needle files. Barette, three square,
square, half round and round are probably the ones I use most. I use
those in cut 0 all the way to cut 6 and I also have an assortment of
escapment files that get used now and then.

For you, starting out I would think the best bet if you don’t want
to spend a lot of cash would be to get a 6" half round hand file.
Either cut 0 or 2 depending on how much material you intend to file
away. If it’s to be your one and only file I would choose the
regular half round instead of the half round ring file. The regular
half round is wider and I find its flat face to be generally more
useful than the flat face on the narrower half round ring file.

If you choose a file that’s really coarse like the cut 00 and you
don’t have a lot of experience filing you can put yourself in a bad
position pretty quickly by removing a lot more material than you had
intended. By the same token, choosing anything finer than a 2 really
won’t get you anywhere fast for any type of material removal. Again
not knowing exactly what kind of work you’re doing, you may consider
purchasing a 6" flat hand file, again cut 0 or 2 will probably be
suitable, only 00 if you’re deadly serious about filing a ton of
material away in a hurry. If you’re doing any kind of detail work you
might consider a 20cm three square needle file, cut 2. They’re
pretty darned handy and can be used in numerous different situations.
Either way, don’t forget to buy some handles for your new files.

Again, this all depends on what your inteded projects are. I hope
this helps. Others likely have much to add on this subject. Files
and file preferences are very personal and very closely tied to the
work being performed. What works for one person may or may not work
for others.

choosing anything finer than a 2 really won't get you anywhere
fast for any type of material removal 

Much good stuff from Leif. I use a #0 and #2 1/2rd ring for almost
everything - always Grobet. I have about 15 files in a pile in my
bench (tip: always put them down with handles to right or left, so
they are all oriented the same when you need one). People always say
to use handles, I never do, and don’t own any, because I never hold
the handle anyway. I’m always up on top of the file with the handle
poking out behind - they are for large work, mostly. I do have
handles on my machine files, like on the lathe, though. For novices I
know that which file can be a trial, but it doesn’t matter so much
what the shape is as how it suits your work - any flat file surface
can file flat, whether it be flat, 1/2 rd, crossing, etc. in the
right hands. Mostly it’s versatility - 1/2 round gives you two
different contours in one file - stuff like that.