Finger Files

Little problems are sometimes big problems in carving. I mean this as in getting a file or abrasive into an odd spot. For example, recently, I was carving this small schooner for the top of a sign. I needed to smooth an area that was too tough to work with the usual riffler files, not easily accessible to sheet sandpaper, and not reachable by any attachment on my Dremel tool.

Frustrated, my eyes fell upon my set of Japanese finger files. I’ve barely used these in the several years I’ve owned them. I picked them up, thinking they’d be suitable for the odd job, but that odd job hadn’t materialized. So I grabbed one of the flat ones and discovered I could bend it. It was perfect for the job.

After using it to do the job, I examined the file and found that gentle bending did not cause the abrasive on the file to flake off. Also, there was no set on the abrasive; unlike toothed files, there were no teeth that ran in a set direction.

These tiny files will see a lot more use now. I purchased mine from Lee Valley, but I imagine other vendors also carry them. They are great for applications where toothed files might not be the most responsive tool.

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