Shape

  • Barrette Barrette files have a trapezoidal cross-section, a single or double cut on only one side, and narrow to a point.
  • Half-RoundHalf-round files, also called convex, or third circular files, are half-circle shaped in cross-section, with teeth on the curved edge. They are suitable for filing curved surfaces.
  • JointJoint files are shaped like rectangular files, except that they have rounded edges. They only have teeth on the edges, and are suitable for filing hinges and joints.
  • KnifeKnife files have a tapered length and width, and an arc-like shape from end to tip. They are suitable for filing wedge or slot-shaped openings.
  • OvalOval files are oval-shaped in cross-section with teeth around the entire surface of the file. They are suitable for shaping elliptical or curved surfaces. Crossing files have a tapered oval cross-section with teeth around the entire file, and are suitable for filing circular holes and the crosses of arms or rims of wheels in watchmaking.
  • RectangularRectangular hand files are versatile and can be used for sharpening, deburring, and polishing. They are either single-cut with a single set of parallel teeth running diagonally across the width of the file, or double-cut, which have a second set of parallel teeth that crisscross the file in the opposite direction. Single-cut rectangular files are suitable for creating a smooth finish, and double-cut rectangular files provide a rougher finish. Both types can be tapered from one end to the other or simply a straight cut (no taper). Types of rectangular hand files include double-cut straight files, double-cut tapered files, double-cut thin-tapered files, single-cut plain edge files, and single-cut tapered edge files. Double-cut straight files are the most common type of file and have one edge with teeth and one plain edge to allow work on one surface without damaging the adjoining surface. Double-cut tapered files, also called flat files, taper slightly for fitting into narrow spaces and have single-cut edges. Double-cut thin-tapered  files, also called warding files, taper greatly for fitting into narrow spaces and have single-cut edges. Single-cut plain edge files, also called lathe files, have plain edges and are used for filing soft metals and materials rotating on a lathe. Single-cut tapered edge files, also called mill files, are used for sharpening tools.
  • RoundRound files are round in cross-section and have a single, double, or knurled cut around the entire cylinder-shaped file. They are suitable for filing holes or concave surfaces, and include rat-tail, chainsaw, or circular files.
  • SlittingSlitting files, also called lozenge files, have a triangular cross-section, three double-cut sides, and are narrow for fitting into small slots.
  • SquareSquare files have a square cross-section, four double-cut sides, and taper slightly at the end. They are suitable for filing slots, grooves, corners, and other tight spaces.
  • SquareTriangular, also called three-square files, are triangular in cross-section and are single or double-cut on each side. They fit between the teeth of a saw and are most suitable for sharpening saw blades.