Hand Tools Archive

Re: Files, rasps, floats, rifflers, etc

William Duffield
A rasp is not like a file. Each tooth of a rasp is struck individually, and has a sharp point. The cutting edges of files and floats are struck with a tool that looks more like a plane blade, leaving a ridge all the way across the face of the file. The top of the ridge is relatively flat. A second cut file is struck with another row of ridges at an angle to the first series of ridges, breaking them up, but still leaving the cutting edges more or less flat on top. The fibers left on the surface by a rasp are shredded and broken. Therefore the rasp cannot leave a finished surface, and must be reworked by finer, smoother tools. At the other end of the spectrum are floats and the Iwasaki Japenese files, which leave a finished, smooth surface, like a plane blade. Regular files are somewhere in between.

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