Buying a File

Guide updated on 18th April 2019 to recommend Bahco.

Guide updated on 14th October 2019 to remove the recommendation for a four-in-hand farrier's rasp as this is not hardened.

Guide updated on 11th November to recommend a bastard cut too.

A 12” (305mm) file is usually the longest length used in woodworking and metalworking, Paul recommends using a 10” (255mm) or 12” (305mm) flat file ideally with second cut (medium) teeth, but a bastard cut will work well too. The difference is simply the size of the teeth.

We purchased this Bahco 10” from Amazon in April 2019 for £17.71* and Paul uses it daily. He would recommend this as a first choice. This is also available on


*Price checked 17/9/21

Further Reading

To read more on this we recommend the following from Paul’s blog:

It's Gone Bad

The Shinto Rasp


  1. Glen on 31 October 2019 at 9:53 pm

    Can you confirm the link is to the correct cut? On Amazon it seems to say it is bastard cut not second cut as recommended.

    • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 11 November 2019 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Glen,

      Paul says a bastard cut works well too, we have now updated the guide to include this.

      Kind Regards,

  2. Al on 22 December 2019 at 3:28 pm

    There seem to be several Bahco files with similar descriptions for sale on Amazon in the U.S. Is there a difference between a “Mill Saw File” and “Mill File”?

    For example, the “Bahco 4-138-10-1-2 Mill Saw File” from your link seems to only be available in the UK, but a “Bahco 1-143-10-1-2 Mill File” is available in the U.S. Both seem to be Bastard cut 40 TPI.


    • Izzy BergerTeam Member on 3 January 2020 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Al,

      I passed your question on to Paul and he said:

      I don’t know what the difference is, chances are it will work in a similar fashion and give the same results.

      Kind Regards,

  3. Paul Bigelow on 27 November 2020 at 8:31 pm

    The large number of files available from Bahco gets confusing. After some poking about on their website, here’s what I think I’ve been able to find out on how to decode their part numbers (4-138-10-1-2):
    4 – seems to reflect suggested use. 1 – smoothing, 4 – sharpening
    138 – configuration. 138 – flat file with one round edge, 140 – two round edges, 143 – two flat edges
    10 – this is the length of the file in inches
    1 – this is the cut. 1 – single/bastard, 2 – second, 3 – smooth
    2 – handle. 0 – no handle, 2 – with handle
    The number of teeth per cm varies with the file length and cut – shorter files have finer teeth, single cut is coarser than second.

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