Tonight when finishing up in the shop, I suddenly realised that in front of me, half the table has been taken up with files. No wonder, as any pipemaker will be able to tell you!
I for one, can't walk past a file without thinking where it'll be very usable. All shapes and sizes, big to small, flat, round, half round, triangular. I need them all.
Well, sooner or later I will!
The first photo are the ones that I rarely use. Among them the rasps. For pipe making rasps are really too hardcore in my personal opinion. The triangular files I basically use for intricate stem work or on bents to get into tight corners.
The files on the 2nd photo, are my everyday workhorses.
Bottom one first. This file is called a "farmers friend". Might also be called Charl's friend. It gives a smooth cut, removes stock quickly and have safe edges on both sides. Wonderful for stem work.
Second from the bottom is the monster. This file is huge and actually way too long and unwieldy for pipe making. It belonged to my grandfather. But it is indispensable when making tapered stems. The taper from tenon to button will be straight as an arrow, that I can promise you.
The third one is called a chainsaw file. This round file I use on shank/bowl transitions and also on the more "fancy" stems. It also is good to have when sanding, I've found. With a piece of sandpaper turned around it, it'll get into weird and wonderful corners. Indispensable.
Next up is another big and cumbersome beast. Got this one for a bargain (just can't walk past a bargain, now, can I?) at a 2nd hand shop. The width allows for nice wide flat surfaces. Have to be careful when filing though, because of the sharp edges. I mainly use it for rough work.
Number four is a small square file, with very fine cut and safe edge on only one side. This file is used for finishing work around the button. Especially just in front of the button and then also the surface perpendicular to the bowl, the "vertical walls" on the stummel side.
Last but not least, is the file I probably use the most. It was bought as part of a set of cheapies. And what a good deal its been! This file removes stock quite quickly. Originally it didn't have any safe edges, but this was remedied on the bench grinder. It is used on the stummel, around the shank/bowl transition, and then also to get rid of those little bumps and ridges that always appear. For stem work it is amazing. It can be used on saddle stems, tapered stems, on the button, etc. The list goes on and on.