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  • File storage

    I just bought a metric crap load of files from a gun smith's estate. Lots of small files in all sorts of shapes, paterns, and grit(?) including needle files and paper (lapping?) files. Lots more medium/typical size files of all sorts, and a fair few large files. Most are metal cutting but includes a decent selection of rasps. Many are made in the US by top names, some are Swiss, others are German, all are in avg/good or better condition and there were 15 odd small and medium that were brand new never used. All total over 100 files. There are also some 14 handles and some strange swiss files that are sorta like a stubby that fit in a long handle. Very nice, no idea what they are called. About 75% of them fit in a drilled 2x4, the rest were wrapped up or tossed in a bucket (made me cringe!)

    Now, I've always tried to protect my files (mostly Nicolson) by keeping them in their sleeves or one way or another separated. The 2x4 is so full that they are all bumping into each other, which is better than in a drawer, but not much to my liking. And I can barely see, much less get to the central files, particularly in the smaller sizes. And the loose files also need a home.

    What are the best ways to store files you guys have come up with? The 2x4 is a classic, but there are SO MANY files that I now need to organize more intelligently. My shop is only about 19x20 and it is FULL, so multiple 2x4s scattered about on shelves or something are not ideal, though that may be my solution. More likely take the less used/useful/sharp of the lot and stow them somewhere so that I can use the less populated 2x4 for the “front lineâ€‌.

    Thanks for any thoughts you may have to offer...
    Master Floor Sweeper

  • #2
    Slice off file-size pieces of DIY aluminum sheet and put them between the files. They'll last forever, take up very little space, and won't damage the files.
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    • #3
      I made a rack for my files. It is wall mounted. 2" x 2" boards screwed and glued to a vertical mounting board horizontally about 6" apart. Each 2x has holes drilled in it at 45 degrees on top, front, and top front edge. Mounting board is about 12" wide and 48" tall and is bolted to the wall. Holds over 150 files W/O handles, not touching and can see them all easily.

      Willis Gregory


      • #4
        Thanks, putting thin aluminum sheet between them to store in a box or drawer is a great idea. At least for the "stored out of the way" category. But less than ideal for those I need to find to use. And the odd shaped stuff too...

        I like that rack idea too, though I'm not sure where I would put it. Can't really visualize it, but the description is giving me ideas. Any chance of a pic? That would sure be appreciated.

        And another quick question. Are there any web resources (or inexpensive books?) that will provide help in categorizing and understanding various types of files their usage? I know the basics and have done some pretty extensive file work over the years. But there are files in here that I've never seen or heard of before. Strange things that could be for wood, soft metals, or really coarse steel maybe? Odd shapes, particularly some from Sweden. Some look like curled long bladed plant leafs, "U" shaped cross sections, flexible files (these I know) and all sorts of very cool stuff, if I just knew what to use it for. Sure would hate to ruin one putting it on steel if that's not it's use...
        Master Floor Sweeper


        • #5
          Hmm, just realized I've got a couple of wooden "louvered" doors stashed from our remodel. I've been using the slats anywhere I need a nice finished piece of thin wood, or just to stir paint at times. A bunch of those laid on side turned up vertical in a box (made from the door frame?) would make a really nice storage drawer/tray. Too bad I'm not much into wood work or having the equipment to do a nice job of that. My ex neighbor (that moved to a big nice house up N of Phoenix) used to have a shop like mine, only with wood working equipment. Between the 2 of us, there wasn’t much we couldn’t build or fix in one or both shops, and I didn’t have the mill or lathe then. <sigh>
          Master Floor Sweeper


          • #6
            I store mine in a drawer.

            What I did was take a piece of aluminum angle, and mill a bunch of slots in one leg of the angle. Varying widths, but cut right down.

            The angle sits in the drawer, slots up. The files naturally go into the slots, which makes them sit up on edge (for flat ones) and prevents them from clashing with others. The handles go on alternating sides.

            I had intended to make another identical piece, figuring that two would be better at keeping them straight, but one works so well I never bothered.

            Easy to see all of the ones I have in use, easy to pick out one, and put it back. Easy enough that I actuslly DO put them back..... which is a notable fact, for me. I'd naturally let them lay when I was done, otherwise.

            About thirty fit in one drawer in the slots.
            Last edited by J Tiers; 05-19-2006, 12:27 AM.

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan


            • #7
              I made some shallow custom drawers a year or three back, specifically for tools like this. They're 2" by 1/8" angle iron "trays" on drawer rollers.

              Each drawer has a piece of 3/4" plywood fitted, and each piece is modded for that drawer's contents.

              One drawer holds small taps, anything up to 1/4"-20 or so. There's three different depths of V-bottomed grooves routered into the wood, holds everything in line, mostly not touching, and spread out so sizes and threads are easy to see.

              Another drawer has 1/2" radius U-grooves routered in it, for drills from 1/2" to 1".

              The file drawer has mostly 1/4" wide grooves spaced about 5/16" apart, with a few V-grooves for round and triangular files. It's worked well so far, though I didn't plan quite perfectly for my current collection of files. So here before too long, I'll add a second drawer, and it'll be "big" and "little" files.

              I also have half a dozen or more files that never go in the drawer- they're left at the machines for a quick deburr or whatnot. In these cases, they're typically hin on a pin or peg. If the file doesn't have a wide tang with a hole, then I TIG a ring to the end of the tang.

              Actully, most of the larger files have a ring- I dislike conventional file handles, so the ring keeps me from getting stabbed in the palm by a bare tang.

              Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)


              • #8
                Some of what you have are called rifflers, they have strange shaped ends. Are used to get in to difficult to reach areas. They come as Die Rifflers, Silversmith Rifflers ect. Rifflers come double ended mostly. You also probably have watchmakers Escapement files they have shorter length of cut than needle files.
                they look like needle files with long handles. They come in Different cuts from 0 which is the coarsest to 6 which is the finest.
                If they have yellow tangs ands made by Grobet they are for hard material, and called Valatitan files.
                And then you have wax files very coasre pattern, can be used for some wood and or plastics.
                The ones on the bench or in the traveling box are housed in short pieces of plastic, rubber, or vynil tubing.

                I also use the handles cut off of disposalable razors like bic yellows to make handles for files. a lilltle caulk in the holes and needle file placed in it. They don't roll no more.
                Here is a site that will have a lot of pictures and description of files used in Jewelry, gunsmithing,watchmaking, model making ect.
                Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
                I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
                All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only


                • #9
                  Some nice storage ideas here guys! It would be cool to start a thread with pix of cool storage ideas. Everyone has the problem of a too-crowded and disorganized shop. Usually these ideas are pretty simple projects that add a lot of value. How about someone posting pix of some of their ideas and getting a new "storage ideas" thread started?



                  Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:


                  • #10
                    For some info on what various files are for, you might google for the Nicholson (really Cooper Tools) web site. As I recall, you can click on the name for each of many categories of files and they will give you some details on the cut and standard uses for that file.

                    Paul Carpenter
                    Mapleton, IL