Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good Grip, Great Durability, The Soundbest International 8" Round File Is A Woodworker's Lifelong Tool!

The Good: Comfortable grip, Good durability, Easy to clean, Comparatively inexpensive.
The Bad: None that I can find.
The Basics: A strong, durable, surprisingly inexpensive steel file, the 8” Soundbest International Round File works for tough, large-scale projects where curved filing is needed.

When it comes to woodworking tools, there is a pretty strong difference between art tools and industrial-quality tools. While I have usually been quite happy with my X-Acto file set (click here for my review!) for the craft-level projects, I have needed a very different tool when it comes to doing larger scale projects around the house. One of the tools I have found especially valuable was the Soundbest International 8” Round File.

For those unfamiliar with them, files are basically manual sanding and finishing devices which are steel shafts with tiny teeth used to smooth out edges corners or finishing details after they are cut. Most of the best files have a handle at one end which allows the user to grip and work the steel portion further up without having to have one's hand directly on the metal shaft. That is how the Soundbest International Round File is made. It has a 3” long rubber handle which is rounded at the base and is fused to the metal file shaft. The 5” long steel shaft is about 3/4” thick and represents a thicker round file than one would use for artist works.

The rubber grip is contoured slightly with an indentation for the thumb. This allows one to apply pressure in a comfortable way to the user while still getting the benefits of the rounded surface of the cylindrical round file. Having used this round file for over three hours in one session (working on wooden railings for a staircase) I can attest that the grip actually is comfortable over hours of work.

As for the teeth, this is a finer file, though the tip of the 5” file surface is not tapered to allow one to get into smaller spaces. Instead, this is intended for big projects and when passing it over hard woods repeatedly, it makes a surprisingly smooth finish that eliminates the appearance of imperfections that drilling, sawing or routing may leave. This is the last tool most users will need before staining or painting an ornate household surface made of wood. Having used this file for the last three years, I can attest to the tool's durability as it has not warped, bent or gotten dull in that time.

With some more aggressive filing, however, the teeth may become dirty, clogged with the sawdust one is generating with the file. When that happens, one need only wash off the file surface. Because the file is made of solid steel, it will not rust or corrode if one dries it off after washing it. That is easy enough to do by pat drying it with a rag. The handle may be as easily cleaned, though things like sap may take a little more work to get dirt and sawdust off the file. I highly recommend having either blown air canisters or a high pressure washer to clean this with, but for those lacking such things, water, a rag and persistence work.

Ultimately, the Soundbest International 8” Round File is a durable tool which holds up under heavy woodworking conditions for years, making it an ideal tool for a professional woodworker.

For other tools, please check out my review of the Stanley 66-183 Screwdriver by clicking here!


For other tool reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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