How to Store Metal Files

A craftsman can only go as far with a project as his tools can take him.

If your tools are in a state of disrepair, that won't be very far at all. Metal files are easily worn down when they are thrown into a tool box, as the little teeth will become damaged by constant contact with the other tools. Here's a way to take care of and store all of your files safely, so that they'll be usable for years to come.

Use your files properly. Whenever you use a metal file, make sure you use the whole length of the file. If you get into the habit of using just the spot in the center, a groove will form there, throwing the entire file out of sync. When you try to use a file that is worn in only one spot on something bigger, where you need more of the surface to work for you, it will hang up and be just about useless.

Keep your files clean. If the file gets filled up with little metal shavings, it will not work properly. If you try to use it when it is clogged up, you will ruin the tiny teeth of the file. There is a special brush made for cleaning the shavings out of your file. You can usually buy it wherever files are sold, but try a hardware store--most of them will have this nifty little item on hand. If the individual teeth of the file need to be cleaned out, you can use a sharp nail to do so. Just don't be too aggressive with it. Remember that those teeth are easily bent and chipped.

Try this little insider's secret before you throw away that old, worn file: Set it on an outside windowsill and leave it there for a good while. Sometimes the sun, wind, rain and temperature changes will cause just a little bit of rust to form. This will often put slightly more edge back into the file. Only use this trick with a file you're about ready to throw away, though. It will hasten the wear on the file.

Files often get ruined just by being in the toolbox. Their sharp, fine little teeth are battered by the constant contact with other tools, causing them to flatten or chip and break. Never put them anywhere where they'll get banged around.

Keep your files in a drawer that's lined with an old piece of carpet remnant. The carpeting will give the teeth a soft foundation, and will insure that they don't rub together, even when you open and close the drawer. This will protect the teeth of the files from damage.

If you want to carry your files to a job outside the home, use your toolbox--but take special care of them. Select a length of felt or heavy flannel. Wrap the first file in one end, so that the entire file is covered. Then lay the next file and roll them up together, covering the entire second file. Do this with each file, until all of them are rolled up together (but not touching each other) without cloth between them.

Things You Will Need

  • Carpet remnant
  • File-cleaning brush


  • Use a little caution with your files, and with all tools in general. This will ensure that you can keep them in good working order for many years to come.


  • Storing files in the toolbox will cause them to wear, chip and break very quickly.

About the Author

Sheila Wilkinson worked as an editor and writer for "The St. Mary Journal" and has published extensively on various websites. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Alabama, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies in the areas of psychology, sociology and English. Sheila owns an Internet bookstore.