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Storage of files

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Keith Matheson12/06/2020 07:50:40
42 forum posts
20 photos

How do you order your files? Seems like a silly question but let me explain. I appear to be incredibly untidy and my workshop quickly deteriorates into a complete mess after but a short time of usage. (Also I didn’t have the benefit of any formal workshop training to temper my innate untidiness) One of the issues I have (I think) is that most items don’t have specific designated home. As an aside I keep on picking up tools as I go through a job and never put anything back! (But I might need that in a minute- why put it back!). OK back to files. I’m trying to have a storage system. Do you sort for say, rough cut, medium cut. Fine cut? Big files medium files small files. Or even flat files, Square files, half round files, round files? All suggestions gratefully received - maybe even a photo I’m determined to get organised and tidy.

Brian H12/06/2020 08:31:38
2312 forum posts
112 photos

I'm an apprentice trained engineer with an aerospace and nuclear background and my workshop quickly becomes VERY untidy and needs a clean up every few days so I wouldn't worry too much.

My files are stored in a wooden rack with several dividers for large, medium & small along with a drawer for needle files.

The best idea I've seen (but not got round to using it yet) is the use of plastic pipe of varying sizes to stand files in so that they don't get damaged. I use a similar , horizontal system of drainpipe sized plastic pipe to store metal up to 30 inches long, that's the width of my bench, and that works well.


Edited By Brian H on 12/06/2020 08:32:36

JasonB12/06/2020 08:42:52
22750 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

My most commonly used ones hang on the wall behind my vice

Bo'sun12/06/2020 09:31:24
609 forum posts
2 photos

Mine are all in a draw together, and yes, some will say they'll get damaged knocking together, but in all honesty, I've not noticed any deterioration. Keeping your files clean of chips will probably be more beneficial. That's not to say there's anything wrong with ordered files and a tidy workshop. Perhaps I'll give it a go some day!

Any thoughts on using chalk to help with chip removal? A school teacher many years ago was a great advocate of the idea.

AdrianR12/06/2020 09:50:29
583 forum posts
36 photos

I have to admit mine live in a draw under the vice. The advantage of a draw is it automatically sorts files so the most commonly used are at the front. I do worry about them getting knocked together, but I take care to not rattle them together too much.

One day I want to start a new draw, so I can have a set for ferrous and non-ferrous.


Rik Shaw12/06/2020 10:39:40
1483 forum posts
398 photos

Files ordinaire live here:


Tiny ones here:


Best Vallorbe Swiss here:


All the diamond files are in a box and I can't find it but at least THEY are organized !


DMB12/06/2020 10:50:42
1312 forum posts
1 photos

What a tidy workshop, JasonB.

Keith and others,

When I did 'metalwork' at school, the teacher had a large board on one wall with very narrow shelves. Each shelf had a small slot to take a file. Long, very long, time ago but I think the files were in rows of slots 3 deep, thus accommodating a common size and cut together in a smallish space and protected from knocking together. He further painted the tang of each file a colour related to its cut. Remember white, I think was fine or smooth.Red was, I think for coarse and green?? for 2nd cut. System worked very well. He could also see at a glance if any missing at end of lesson. I have coped the colour codes with mine and with other things like metric taps and dies are red, brass thread yellow, etc Most drills done, except very small ones. Drills and taps painted band just above flutes. Guy Lautard suggested a carousel style of compact storage with a set of 3 round MDF type boards on a common centre post rotating on a baseboard, with slots around the edges.


Stuart Bridger12/06/2020 11:17:09
538 forum posts
29 photos

+1 on the wall rack.
I had some offcuts of UPVC fascia board which was ideal to make a rack

Paul Lousick12/06/2020 11:38:02
2043 forum posts
722 photos

The files that I regularly use are stored in a wooden scabbard attached to the side of the stand that supports my lathe. Out of the way, protected from knocks and in easy reach.

It is made from 2 sheets of plywood, sandwiched together. A bit like the wooden knife block that you have in the kitchen. One of the plywood sheets has grooves milled in it to suit the size of the files and is angled slightly down fron the horizontal to prevent the files falling out. The one I made can hold about 8 different files with the groove cut to suit the diferent file shapes and has just the handles protruding from the front.


Edited By Paul Lousick on 12/06/2020 11:38:38

John Paton 112/06/2020 11:58:09
324 forum posts
20 photos

When rearranging your storage how about a quick spray paint of the handles to remind you which ones 'for best and brass' so that you don't mash them up on hard materials or clog them with alloy.

Oily Rag12/06/2020 20:34:19
540 forum posts
184 photos

#1 Get and use a 'file brush' - clean the file after use EVERY time.

#2 Dedicate a draw for them or better still make a rack up as suggested above.

#3 We all have tools lying around whilst 'on a job' but always get into the habit of clearing up for 5 or 10 minutes at the end of your allotted time in the workshop. Do a deep clean every so often - its amazing what you find!

EXCEPT where drills are concerned. Always when finished drilling, clean the drill with a wipe and put it back into its box. If the shank is damaged or the drill needs sharpening put it in upside down! This will remind you next time to dress or sharpen that drill. That way the drills will always be there!

Admission - My big weakness is Allen keys - I must have about 6 sets each of metric and imperial all jumbled up!

Graham Stoppani13/06/2020 09:29:00
124 forum posts
26 photos

Used a bit of left over Ikea shelving support to make a spacer for the files.

File storage

Neil Wyatt13/06/2020 09:33:06
19033 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles

Best files hang on nails, small files in a 3D printed rack (which is a bit crowded).

Rarely used/untried s/h ones in a drawer like Rik, I confess...


Edited By Neil Wyatt on 13/06/2020 09:33:19

Anthony Knights13/06/2020 19:49:54
622 forum posts
243 photos


clivel14/06/2020 21:19:27
343 forum posts
17 photos
Posted by DMB on 12/06/2020 10:50:42:Guy Lautard suggested a carousel style of compact storage with a set of 3 round MDF type boards on a common centre post rotating on a baseboard, with slots around the edges.


Actually Lautard's "A Strokeagenius file rack" is quite nice despite the over-the-top description. It is compact and has a reasonably large capacity, but I doubt that it is unique.

Apparently, the specified lazy susan bearing was difficult to obtain in the UK, as a result, Tony Birkinshaw published a slightly modified version in MEW #62 Nov 1999 by under the title: "A Lazy Susan For A File Rack - A modified version of Guy Lautard's Strokeagenius file rack"


Derek Lane14/06/2020 22:27:16
761 forum posts
171 photos

If anyone wants to make a rotary storage system then THIS company have them (Just a happy customer) as well as Axminster tools

Edited By Derek Lane on 14/06/2020 22:29:13

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