Toolsday: Four-in-Hand File

For shaping wood by hand, you can use sand paper and plenty of elbow grease, or switch to a file. If you're building up a toolbox from nothing, you might be confused by the wide variety of files and not know where to start. I'd recommend starting with one of these.

Four-in-Hand, curved side

Four-in-Hand, flat side

This file is double sided and double ended, which gives it the name "four-in-hand". One side is flat, and the other side is curved. One end of each side is a coarse rasp, and the other end is a medium file. You obviously need to wear gloves while using it, becuase there's no place smooth to hold it. If you're doing a variety of shaping on wood or metal, though, it speeds things up considerably to have all these options. You can also use the edges to dig into ridges.

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2010.05.04 at 12:00am EDT