Files And Rasps For Woodworking (Tips & Types)

Working with wood is a form of art. Whether you are a professional Carpenter or an artist who likes to create Immaculate works of art with wood, you will need specific tools to make what you have in your mind.

Sometimes it’s necessary to have a flat and smooth surface on the piece of your wood that you are working on.

Several tools can help you achieve a smooth surface, but today we will talk about two of the most used and popular smoothing tools that carpenters usually use to even the surface of the log they are working on. Files and rasps.

If you are interested in the woodworking industry, you may have heard about these tools.

This article will discuss all that there is about files and rasps and how you can use them for a better outcome.

So, without any more introductions, let’s get into the article.


Files & Rasps in woodworking

As we said earlier, using specific tools when working with wood is essential. These tools are called files and rasps, which come in different sizes and shapes; every individual file has its unique purpose and method of utilization.

Now let’s see what a file is:



Sometimes, when trying to create a wood structure with a flat surface or smooth corners, you will need a tool to help you achieve that goal, such as files.

Some mechanical tools are powered with electricity that can help you smooth out the surface of your project, although they are expensive and hard to find in every single workshop.

Therefore, you have to use a practical hand tool, and it has a variety of kinds.

A file consists of two pieces:

  • A plastic or metal handle makes it easy to hold down the tool.
  • A blade-like metal which has consisted of titanium or reinforced stainless steel.

A file has tiny miniature teeth, which operate just like sandpaper with a slight difference.

Sandpaper usually gets worn out after getting used for a while, but on the other hand, a file is made of metal, and the only thing you have to do to maintain it in proper shape is to make sure that the teeth are sharp.

There are two types of files that, at first glance, look exactly like each other, and the only difference between them is in size. However, the bigger files have more giant teeth, and therefore, it is helpful for broad surfaces or huge corners.

But the smaller files have more concentrated and smaller teeth, which is suitable for small corners and surfaces.

Keep up with this article, and you will know exactly how to use a file in woodworking.



When first looking at rasp, you may think it is exactly like a file, yet it’s not entirely true. The utilization conditions for rasps are pretty different from a file when working on a piece of wood.

The primary use of a rasp isn’t that smoothing and plaining away the surface or the corner of the boot, but actually, it is used to scrape the surface; this tool has much bigger teeth which are different from files in so many aspects.

The shape of the teeth, the size of the teeth, and the organization and position of teeth on the blade, also come in a whole metal body.

In other words, there is no handle, and you have a piece of metal in your hand which has a straight side and a side that has the teeth on it.

Usually, experienced carpenters use rasps first, and then when they have a mildly smooth surface, they use sandpaper or file to flatten out it even further. This tool has an advantage when it’s compared to a file.

It has more rapid and consistent cuts, and it can remove much more wood pieces from your structure.

Vital for you to know how you can use files and rasps in your wood projects in the most proper way.

Differences between Files & Rasps

Here is a chart that shows the critical differences between Files and Rasps:

Files Rasps
Performs more gently. For rough and uneven surfaces.
Useful for every situation. The primary use is clearing the canvas of work.

Up until this part of the article, you know what files and rasps and the critical differences between these two essential tools are, and the next chapter of the report will explain how you can use these tools to get the results you want.


How to use Files & Rasps in woodworking?

This part of the article will discuss the utilization methods for files and rasps in woodworking.

Let’s lead with an example.

Imagine that you are trying to craft a table with round corners and a smooth waxed top.

So, without any hesitation, let’s get it started.

Using Rasps in woodworking

Before starting the project, you have to ensure that you have all the pieces and tools you will need on a close call.

Now you can start:

  • The first step you will take to create a table is cutting the pieces of wood into the correct sizes and shapes and then assembling all of the details according to your sketches.
  • The second step is to ensure that your structure is sturdy enough to handle the pressure that it will receive in specific tools and uses.
  • In this step, you have to use a rasp to remove all of the lumps and uneven surface spots on your vote, so you have an almost plain canvas to work on.
  • Apply pressure on the rasp to do its job correctly; the pressure must be on point, meaning you don’t have to give all your power to the rasp surface. You have to identify how much pressure you need to get your job done.
  • Make sure to rasp all of the corners and surfaces of your table evenly.

Using Files in woodworking

Using files is the second step when working on a project, and you want to smooth out the surface.

After ensuring that you are entirely done with the rasp, it is time to finish by smoothing your table to its finest.

After preparing everything; make sure you clean out the canvas of your work from any little grains of wood that the rest may have lived behind.

  • Bring out the file that you see appropriate in size for your project and make sure that it is sharp. You can use it in another piece of wood to identify the conditions of the fire.
  • Slowly start sanding the root’s surface using your file. Make sure to get all of the corners and the flat surfaces.
  • After finishing this moving process, we advise you to go over it one more time. This guarantees that there are no spots left.
  • The next step and the finishing touch is to use sandpaper to apply the finishing touches, although this part is optional, and you don’t have to do it if you filed your piece of wood correctly.
  • The last step is to wax your table and wait for the presence of substances such as oils, shining wax, or any other substitutes.

By this section of the article, we know what are files and rasps in woodworking and how you can use them on your daily projects.

You forgot to mention that there are several types of rasps that we will present to you in the next section of the article, so keep reading.


Different types of Rasps and Files (+ 4 VARIOUS TOOLS)

Japanese rasps

These rasps have an exciting and exquisite look.

  • If you observe a Japanese rasp, you’ll see that it has several holes on it, which help the process of durability and scraping the wood.
  • The Japanese rasps have significantly more teeth than the other kinds of scrapes. So much that in japan, they call it the mini saw.

Four in hand

This type of tool is considered a multitasking device.

  • It has both rasp and file functions on it. In other words, it’s a multi-functioning woodworking tool.
  • You could flip the tool to change its functionality between a file and a rasp, although you have to keep in mind that files and rasps are specialty tools meaning it would be much better if you had them separately.
  • We’re not saying that this tool is useless, but experienced and skilled carpenters always use unique tools for particular purposes.

Curved tooth file

This file looks like any regular file that you use daily.

  • However, it has much larger teeth than the other files, so big that it can cut across a whole piece of wood.
  • But the critical difference between this file and the normal ones is the size of the teeth and their shape.
  • The teeth on this device are curved rather than straight like any other file. This results in increased contraction, which, in simpler terms, means that the cutting or smoothing of the wood is accomplished more efficiently.


Like four in hand, this tool is a multitasker. It means that it is both a file and a rasp.

  • But this tool is considered the evolved version of files and rasps; it has two sides with a gripping area in the middle of these two. One side is a rasp, and the other one is a file.
  • This compact tool is used in small spaces and conditions where you cannot bring both a rasp and file with you.

By this part of the article, you have complete knowledge of what a rasp and a file are and the differences between the variety of these tools and the instruction on using them.

Now bear with us to the conclusion of this article and sum up all of the subjects that we discussed in this statement.



In this article, we learn that some specific tools have a particular use for skilled or even entry-level Carpenter. Files and rasps are two of the most used tools that carpenters utilize for making smooth and plain surfaces.

We learned what the files and rasps are and how you can use them. We also talked about the variety of these tools and their differences from each other.

We hope that this article will help you do a great job on the task and project you are currently working on or will be in the future.

If you have any additional questions or opinions about “files and rasps for woodworking,” You can contact us via the comments section below.

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