Dieter Schmid's Fine Tools
Carving Files

Iwasaki carving files (sculptor's files, joinery floats, planemaker floats)

As fast as a rasp, as clean as a file! That is the simplest way to describe these woodworking tools. Contrary to the rough cut and sawdust produced by conventional rasps, the Iwasaki sculpting files actually act like tiny planes taking small shavings. At first we were not sure how to categorize these tools, as files or rasps. But Iwasaki's name, translated directly from the Japanese, is "carving or sculpting files." After trying these files, and comparing them to the cut of normal Western-style rasps, we were amazed by the cut, and found the description accurate. These type of tools are also called "joinery floats" or "planemaker floats" as they are used - among many other purposes - for fine tuning of joints.

Example

Left: cut of conventional rasp
Right: cut of sculptor's file.

The teeth of these files are arranged like a single-cut file, with the diagonal rows of teeth interrupted by diagonal grooves, in order to take many tiny, narrow shavings and to prevent wider shavings that could clog the teeth. File face close-up


chip-breaker

The key is in the way the face of the tooth is formed to make a mini chip-breaker. It breaks the shavings off and forces them up and away from the face of the file. This helps keep the teeth from getting clogged up, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot, depending on the kind of wood. The teeth are very sharp and hard, cut aggressively and have a very long useful life, again depending on the kind of wood being worked.

The Iwasaki sculpture files also work will with bamboo, resins and plastics, OSB, MDF and other wood products. This variety of materials and the clean cuts make these files ideal not only for sculptors and carvers, but also for cabinet makers, toy makers, musical instrument makers, and anyone who needs to shape softer materials into forms other than plain right angles. The finish left by the files is so good that one can often skip the normal sanding necessary with normal files and rasps, except when a very smooth or glossy finish is needed. They are made in Japan.
Conventional rasp in action - Video
Carver's file in action - Video


Comparison of coarse, fine and extra fine

Comparison of coarse (left), fine (middle) and extra fine (right) carving files. The tooth spacing (pitch) of coarse files is 3 mm, of fine files 1.6 mm and of extra fine files 1.2 mm.

Chemically polished

This term refers to a manufacturing process whereby Iwasaki files are immersed in a special fluid heated to 140 °C. This has the effect of removing any burrs from the cutting edges, leaving them exceptionally clean and sharp. The type of fluid used is a trade secret. The sculptor’s files on this page that have undergone this process are all marked accordingly.


Iwasaki carving file, flat

The flat files are designed for general rasp work and rounding straight edges. The flat files can also make dressing the tops of pegs or treenails flat in their holes almost a pleasure, in that after a few strokes, no one will notice you didn't cut as exactly as you might have. They are also perfect for re-working or finishing the blade beds on Japanese and other types of wooden planes. The teeth are cut into the broad faces of the files, the edges are flat.

Flat fine - cutting length 150 mm

Blade cross section 16 x 4 mm
Broad sides toothed, edges flat
Chemically polished

Code 312920CartPrice € 19.95

Flat extra fine – cutting length 150 mm

Blade cross section 16 x 4 mm
Broad sides toothed, edges flat
Chemically polished

Code 312921CartPrice € 22.50

Flat fine - cutting length 200 mm

Blade cross section 20 x 5 mm
Broad sides toothed, edges flat
Chemically polished

Code 312922CartPrice € 24.30

Flat extra fine - cutting length 200 mm

Blade cross section 20 x 5 mm
Broad sides toothed, edges flat
Chemically polished

Code 312923CartPrice € 27.50

Flat coarse (bastard) - cutting length 250 mm

Blade cross section 25 x 6 mm
Broad sides toothed, edges flat
Comparison of flat carving files

Code 312918CartPrice € 26.50
Iwasaki carving file, half-round

The half-round file is most often used to round the insides of curves, such as tool handles, in guitar building, boat building, figure carving, contouring chair legs, and the like. Teeth on the half-round side only.

Half-round, fine – cutting length 150 mm

Blade cross section 15 x 6 mm
Teeth on rounded side only!
Radius of round side approx. 12.5 mm
Chemically polished

Code 312924CartPrice € 19.95

Half-round, extra fine – cutting length 150 mm

Blade cross section 15 x 6 mm
Teeth on rounded side only!
Radius of round side approx. 12.5 mm
Chemically polished

Code 312925CartPrice € 22.50

Half-round, fine - cutting length 200 mm

Blade cross section 21 x 7 mm
Teeth on rounded side only!
Radius of round side approx. 14 mm
Chemically polished

Code 312926CartPrice € 24.90

Half-round, extra fine - cutting length 200 mm

Blade cross section 21 x 7 mm
Teeth on rounded side only!
Radius of round side approx. 14 mm
Chemically polished

Code 312927CartPrice € 27.50

Half-round, coarse (bastard) - cutting length 250 mm

Blade cross section 25 x 8 mm
Teeth on rounded side only!
Radius of round side approx. 19 mm
Comparison of half-round carving files

Code 312919CartPrice € 26.90
Iwasaki carving file, extra fine

Flat version
Stroke 175 mm
Teeth on both sides
Chemically polished

Code 312940CartPrice € 42.50
Iwasaki carving file, extra fine

Half-round version
Stroke 175 mm
Teeth on round side only
Radius of round side approx. 12.5 mm
Chemically polished

Code 312941CartPrice € 42.50
Iwasaki carving file, half-round, fine, curved

The half-round file is most often used for rounding the insides of curves as they occur in guitar building, boat building, figure carving, contouring chair legs, etc. Teeth on the half-round side only!

Cutting length 150 mm
Blade cross section 15 x 7 mm
Teeth on round side only
Radius of round side approx. 12.5 mm
Chemically polished

Code 312934CartPrice € 26.90
Iwasaki carving file, round, fine

Versatile tool for many applications!
Cutting length 200 mm
Blade cross section 8 mm

Code 312937CartPrice € 26.90
Iwasaki small carving file, flat, extra fine, with grip

The flat files are designed for general rasping and rounding straight edges. The teeth are cut into the broad faces of the files, the edges are flat. The rubber grip sits comfortably in your hand.

Cutting length 100 mm
Total length 200 mm
Blade cross section 10 x 3 mm
Teeth on broad sides, edges flat
Chemically polished

Code 312930CartPrice € 19.50
Iwasaki small carving file, half-round, extra fine, with grip

The half-round file is most often used to round the insides of curves, such as tool handles, guitar building, boat building, figure carving, contoured chair legs, etc. Teeth on half-round side only. The rubber grip sits comfortably in your hand.

Cutting length 100 mm
Total length 200 mm
Blade cross section 9.5 x 4 mm
Teeth on rounded side only!
Radius of round side approx. 8 mm
Chemically polished

Code 312931CartPrice € 19.50
Iwasaki carving file flat, medium, cranked, with handle

Flat version
Rubberised handle
Stroke 65 mm
Total length 205 mm
Teeth on underside only
Chemically polished

Code 312943CartPrice € 21.50
IWASAKI Carving File cranked half-round medium with Handle

Half-round version
Rubberised handle
Stroke 65 mm
Total length 205 mm
Teeth on underside only
Chemically polished

Code 312944CartPrice € 22.50
IWASAKI Small Carver's File, half-round, fine, curved, with grip

The half round file is most often used to round the insides of curves, such as tool handles, guitar building, boat building, figure carving, contoured chair legs, and the like. Only the half round side has teeth! The rubber grip is comfortable in use.

Cutting length 100 mm
Total length 200 mm
Blade cross section 10 x 4 mm
Only the half round side has teeth!
Radius of round side approx. 8 mm
Chemically polished

Code 312933CartPrice € 23.90
IWASAKI Small Carving File File round extra-fine, with grip

Cutting length 90 mm
Total length 200 mm
Pitch 0.7 mm All 8 sizes in one picture

Diameter 3 mm
Code 312935CartPrice € 13.90

Diameter 5 mm
Code 312960CartPrice € 18.90

Diameter 6 mm
Code 312962CartPrice € 21.50

Diameter 8 mm
Code 312963CartPrice € 26.90
IWASAKI Small Carver's File round fine, with grip

Cutting length 100 mm
Total length 200 mm
Pitch 1.3 mm
All 8 sizes in one picture

Diameter 5 mm

Code 312961CartPrice € 16.90

Diameter 6 mm

Code 312936CartPrice € 19.50

Diameter 8 mm

Code 312964CartPrice € 25.50

Diameter 8 mm, Medium cut!
Pitch 1.6 mm

Code 312965CartPrice € 23.90
IWASAKI Small Carving Files round Set of 8

Content:

  • Code 312935 extra-fine Dia 3 mm
  • Code 312960 extra-fine Dia 5 mm
  • Code 312962 extra-fine Dia 6 mm
  • Code 312963 extra-fine Dia 8 mm
  • Code 312961 fine Dia 5 mm
  • Code 312936 fine Dia 6 mm
  • Code 312964 fine Dia 8 mm
  • Code 312965 medium Dia 8 mm
  • Comes in grey plastic bag

Code 312966CartPrice € 149.00
You are here:   Homepage   →   Rasps and Files   →   Iwasaki carving files