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During the jewelry making process files are used to smooth metal, provide texture, and remove rough edges and solder.

jeweler using a file

Types of Files

There are many different types of files, to be used in different applications. Types of jeweler's files include:
  • Flat file - Flat files are appropriate for edges that curve in or out. If jewelry has cutouts or circle edges, a flat file can be used to smooth jagged edges. A flat file held at 45 degrees can also smooth angled edges.
  • Triangular file - A triangular file can be used to create a bend in wire or sheet metal, and can also get into tight, small areas that require filing.
  • Square file - Square files work best for filing right angles, and can also be used to bend wire or sheet metal.
  • Round file - A round file can be used to smooth out drilled holes, or to file a grooved curve for tubing.

Using a File

When filing a piece of jewelry, start with coarse files first, then move to finer files. Always file in a forward motion, and to prevent unintentionally rounded edges make sure a flat file is parallel to the work and does not drop at either end.

Another way to ensure you file in a straight line is to place your work in a vise. Once the work has been placed in the vise, hold the file horizontally in both hands, then move it forward, making sure that it is always flat and parallel to the vise. When you get to the end of the piece, be sure not to drag the file backward. Instead, lift it up and start filing from the beginning.

three jewelry files
Jewelry Files

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