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Best Wood Files

Wood files are essential tools for any woodworker, whether you're a professional carpenter or just a DIY enthusiast. They are designed to shape, smooth, and finish your woodwork, adding the final touches that make your project stand out. In this article, we're going to review the best wood files of 2023, focusing on their features, advantages, and disadvantages.

What Are Wood Files and Rasps, and Why Do You Need Them?

Wood files and rasps are hand tools used for smoothing, shaping, and finishing wood. Files have a series of parallel, diagonal ridges or teeth, while rasps have individually cut teeth that remove wood more aggressively. They come in different sizes, shapes, and coarseness levels to suit different tasks and types of wood. Whether you're carving intricate details, shaping curved surfaces, or simply smoothing rough edges, these tools are indispensable for any woodworker.

Factors to Consider When Buying Wood Files and Rasps

  • Material: The best files and rasps are made from high-quality, hardened steel. This not only ensures they stay sharp for longer, but also that they can withstand the rigors of woodworking without deforming or breaking.
  • Cut: The cut refers to the pattern and density of the teeth on the file or rasp. A "bastard cut" has fewer, coarser teeth for removing material quickly, while a "second cut" or "smooth cut" has more, finer teeth for finishing work. Choose the cut based on the type of work you're doing.
  • Shape: Files and rasps come in various shapes: flat, round, half-round, square, and more. Each shape is designed for a specific use. For instance, flat files are ideal for leveling surfaces, while round files are perfect for hollowing out areas.
  • Handle: The handle should be comfortable to grip and made of durable material. Some handles are ergonomically designed to reduce hand fatigue during prolonged use.
  • Set or Individual: Files and rasps are often sold in sets, providing a range of shapes and cuts. This can be a cost-effective choice if you need a variety. However, if you just need a specific tool, buying individually might be better.

Top Wood Files and Rasps for 2023:

1. Nicholson 22030HNN 3 Piece Hand File Set

Nicholson 22030HNN 3 Piece Hand File Set

The Nicholson 22030HNN 3 Piece Hand File Set includes a round, half-round, and mill file, offering versatility for a wide range of woodworking tasks. The files are made from high-quality alloy steel, ensuring durability and effectiveness. They feature an ergonomic handle that provides comfort, reducing hand fatigue during long periods of use. However, they might not be suitable for very delicate or intricate work.


  • Versatility with three types of files
  • High-quality alloy steel for durability
  • Ergonomic handles for comfort


  • Not suitable for very delicate work

2. Simonds - 73429530 10 Piece General Purpose File Set

Simonds - 73429530

Simonds is known for its high-quality tools, and the 73429530 10 Piece General Purpose File Set is no exception. This set comes with a variety of file types and sizes, making it a great all-around choice for both beginners and experienced woodworkers. They're made from high carbon steel and have plastic handles for a comfortable grip. However, it's a bit pricier compared to other file sets.


  • Variety of file types and sizes
  • High carbon steel for longevity
  • Comfortable plastic handles


  • A bit pricier than other sets

3. Stanley 22-314 File Set

Stanley 22-314 File Set

The Stanley 22-314 File Set is another excellent choice for woodworkers. It includes three files: flat, half-round, and round, suitable for shaping and smoothing wood. The files are made from high carbon steel, ensuring their durability. The handles are designed for a comfortable grip, reducing hand fatigue. However, some users have reported that the files dull quickly.


  • Three versatile file types
  • High carbon steel construction
  • Ergonomic handle design


  • Files may dull quickly

4. Bahco 1-478-08-1-2 5 Piece File Set

Bahco 1-478-08-1-2 5 Piece File Set

Bahco's 1-478-08-1-2 5 Piece File Set offers a range of file types for different woodworking tasks. The files are made from alloyed steel, ensuring their durability and effectiveness. They come with a plastic roll-up pouch for easy storage and transportation. However, the handles are not as comfortable as other models.


  • Versatile file range
  • Durable alloyed steel files
  • Comes with a roll-up pouch for convenience


  • Handles are not very comfortable

5. TEKTON 6695 3-Piece File Set

TEKTON 6695 3-Piece File Set

The TEKTON 6695 3-Piece File Set is a budget-friendly option that doesn't compromise on quality. The set comes with three different files: flat, round, and half-round. The files are made from hardened steel, providing durability and longevity. The handles have a non-slip grip for comfort and safety. However, they are not as finely-cut as other models, making them unsuitable for intricate work.


  • Affordable
  • Durable hardened steel files
  • Non-slip grip handles


  • Not suitable for fine, intricate work

6. Narex 7-Piece Rasp Set

Narex 7-Piece Rasp Set

Narex is another well-known brand, famous for its high-quality tools. This 7-piece rasp set includes a variety of shapes and sizes, each made from hardened carbon steel. The teeth are individually cut for aggressive, smooth material removal. The handles are made from beautiful, resilient hardwood.


  • High-quality steel construction
  • Comfortable, ergonomic handles
  • Variety of rasps for different tasks
  • Affordable price


  • Some users have reported that the rasps are not as sharp as they would like
  • The handles can be slippery when wet

7. Buck Bros. 6-Piece Wood Rasp Set

Buck Bros. 6-Piece Wood Rasp Set

The Buck Bros. 6-piece set is an affordable yet high-quality option for beginners. Each rasp is made from heat-treated carbon steel and features a polypropylene handle for comfort. The set includes various shapes, making it a versatile choice.


  • Affordable price
  • Durable construction
  • Variety of rasps for different tasks
  • Comfortable handles


  • Some users have reported that the rasps are not as sharp as they would like
  • The handles can be slippery when wet

Tips for Proper Use and Maintenance

  • Use the Right Tool: Always use the right file or rasp for the job. Using the wrong tool can damage both the tool and your workpiece.
  • Don't Force It: Let the tool do the work. Forcing a file or rasp can dull it prematurely and might not produce the desired results.
  • Clean Regularly: After each use, clean your files and rasps with a file card or a wire brush to remove any lodged wood particles.
  • Store Properly: Store your files and rasps in a dry place to prevent rust. Avoid stacking them on top of each other to prevent dulling or chipping.
  • Sharpen or Replace: When a file or rasp becomes dull,you can either sharpen it or replace it. Some high-quality files and rasps can be sharpened using special techniques. However, oftentimes, the cost and effort of sharpening surpass the cost of a new tool.


Wood files and rasps are essential tools for any woodworker, enabling precise shaping and finishing. When selecting the best tool for your needs, consider factors like the material, cut, shape, handle, and whether to buy a set or individual tools. Top choices for 2023 include the Nicholson 5-Piece Hand File Set, Narex 7-Piece Rasp Set, Gyokucho 6-Piece Rasp File Set, DMT Dia-Flat Lapping Plate, and Buck Bros. 6-Piece Wood Rasp Set.

By choosing high-quality tools and caring for them properly, you can ensure they'll serve you well for many woodworking projects to come. Remember, the best tool isn't necessarily the most expensive one, but the one that fits your needs and skill level the best and can stand the test of time.

Enjoy your woodworking journey, and may your creations be beautiful and fulfilling!