For more information on Saw Files, see our beginner site Common Woodworking.

OK, you are buying files in Europe and they are for the main part all double ended so you get two files for the price and material content of one. Most people use only about four inches of a saw file because that’s all the length required to get the cutting edge they need for each tooth. US saw files on the other hand, are mostly tanged and with that slender pointed end you should never try filing without a handle. Very dangerous: tang point punctures and worse still slides into vein in wrist. Very painful.

Tanged file handles are inexpensive but when you can;t find one or someone is using yours you may need to make a quick one. Here’s what I do, all too often.

Split any piece of wood and pine will work fine. 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 4 1/2″ long.


Mark a tapered guide line from 3/4″ to 5/8″ onto the blank as shown.





Use a 1″ chisel to taper two faces down to 5/8″.



Use a finger guide to run lines along both edges of all four corners.





Chisel a chamfer on the corners.



Use a file or sandpaper or a chisel to remove the end corners for neatness and comfort.

Do both ends.





I used a square awl to crest a hole for the tang. You could also use a drill/driver or do as I did and put the built into the vise and turn the handle into the drill bit to the depth needed to receive almost but not quite the full length of the tang. I stopped half an inch from the file proper. Jobs done.Filing begins.




Here’s how it looks when done.


Sent from my iPad


  1. Pedder on 26 October 2012 at 7:55 am

    I Live in europe an never saw I file like the one you show.



  2. Gary Palmer on 27 October 2012 at 8:04 am

    I tend to use 8″/7″/6″ double ended files (Bahco is the brand of double ended file I use) for my touch-up work and full length files for more rigorous re-toothing or dealing with problem saws. 🙂

  3. AJMac on 22 October 2015 at 10:31 pm

    I notice the Bacho file handle in the top picture has a slice mark in it – having just snapped the unused end of an identical file trying to remove it from the handle, I think I know why! Surely there’s a better way of getting the file out of the handle if it’s meant to be removed – or is it just badly made and far too tightly inserted?

    • Paul Sellers on 23 October 2015 at 3:03 am

      Not everything Bahco is well designed. That’s because designers are not usually users. The best file handles are still wood. Forget the soft touch plastics no one really needs.

  • Peter Susán on I Rely on Two or Three Plain PlanesI can rarely see a comment, that if somebody uses a #3 as a scrub, but I do and I realized that the 3 is just the same length than my #4, but with a narrower blade. On that blade w…
  • mt on A Note About WoodTom, I feel your pain. The South West [TX] isn't doing any better. Paid $7.50 each for some 8' SYP 2x4's. Gets much higher and my next "just throwing something together quick" proj…
  • John on Prepping Wood III@Andrew, you want to regard how a tree grows - well not palms - but just about every other plant we call a "tree". Conifers and hardwoods are essentially a sequence of cones, each…
  • Andy Hastings on A Note About WoodAnother problem here in Northern California we have is the lack of air-dryed or even wet/green hardwoods. All I can find are slabs from small sawers sawn to 8/4. Nice stock for liv…
  • Andy Hastings on A Note About WoodHere in California we too are experiencing huge price increases. The industry has taken the bait and blames it on the virus. First they said they cut production as they thought the…
  • Dick Sargent on Why Shrink?This was required to try and maintain the proper balance of the prop.
  • Dick Sargent on Why Shrink?Years ago while studying to be an aircraft mechanic we were taught to store wooden propellers horizontally. The reason being that the most moisture would settle to the lower side o…