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Hand Tools

A hand tool is any tool that is not a power tool that is, one powered by hand
(manual labor) rather than by an engine. Some examples of hand tools are
garden forks, secateurs, rakes, hammers, spanners, pliers, screwdrivers and
chisels. Hand tools are generally less dangerous than power tools.

Brief history
Hand tools have been used by humans since the Stone Age when
stones were used for hammering and cutting. During the Bronze Age tools
were made by casting the copper and tin alloys that the period is named
after in clay molds. Bronze tools were sharper and harder than those made of
stone. During the Iron Age iron replaced bronze, and tools became even
stronger and more durable. The Romans developed tools during this period
which are similar to those being produced today. In the period since the
industrial revolution, the manufacture of tools has transitioned from being
craftsman made to being factory produced.

General tool categories

The American Industrial Hygiene Association gives the following
categories of hand tools wrenches, pliers, cutters, striking tools, struck or

hammered tools, screwdrivers, vises, clamps, snips, saws, drills and knives.

A file is a metalworking, woodworking and plastic working tool used to
cut fine amounts of material from a work piece. It most commonly refers to
the hand tool style, which takes the form of a steel bar with a case hardened
surface and a series of sharp, parallel teeth. Most files have a narrow,
pointed tang at one end to which a handle can be fitted. A similar tool is the
rasp. This is an older form, with simpler teeth. As they have larger clearance
between teeth, these are usually used on softer, non-metallic materials.
Related tools have been developed with abrasive surfaces, such as diamond
abrasives or silicon carbide. Because of their similar form and function, these

have also been termed 'files'.

Types Of Files
Files come in a wide variety of materials, sizes, shapes, cuts, and tooth
configurations. The cross-section of a file can be flat, round, half-round,
triangular, square, knife edge or of a more specialized shape. There is no
unitary international standard for file nomenclature; however, there are
many generally accepted names for certain kinds of files. The cut of the file
refers to how fine its teeth are. They are defined as (from roughest to
smoothest): rough, middle, bastard, second cut, smooth, and dead smooth. A
single-cut file has one set of parallel teeth while a cross-cut or double-cut file
has a second set of cuts forming diamond teeth. In Swiss-pattern files the
teeth are cut at a shallower angle, and are graded by number, with a number
1 file being coarser than a number 2, etc. Most files have teeth on all faces,
but some specialty flat files have teeth on only one face or one edge, so that
the user can come right up to another edge without damaging the finish on
Some of the common shapes and their uses:

Flat File - is similar to a hand file rectangular in section, tapered

slightly in width and thickness towards the tip. It has double cut
teeth on two faces and Single Cut teeth on two sides
Hand File- is the common file used for roughing and finishing. It
is a rectangular in section and parallel in width. It has double cut

teeth on two faces, single cut teeth on one edge, and one safe
Square File - is square in section and tapered towards the tip,
usually double cut on all four faces. It is used for filing
rectangular slots or grooves.
Half-round File - its cross-section is a chord of a circle with its
taper towards the tip. It is used for forming radii, grooves, etc.
The flat side is used for finishing flat surfaces.
Mill files- are suitable as a sharpening file. Mill files are the best
choice for filing where a smooth finish is important. Also good for
polishing and deburring work in lathes. Mill files are widely used
for sharpening tools. Two square edges. Single cut on sides and
edges. All sizes slightly tapered in width.
Knife files- are tapered in width and thickness, but the knife
edge has the same thickness the whole length, with the knife
edge having an arc to it. Used for slotting or wedging operations.
Warding files- are parallel in thickness, tapered in width, and
thin. Like a hand or flat file that comes to a point on the end.
Used for flat work and slotting.
Three square files- also called triangular files have a
triangular cross-section, which usually gradually tapers. Some
files taper all the way to a point (especially small ones). Three
square files are used for many cuts, such as cutting angles less
than 90 degrees. They are often employed for sharpening the
teeth of wood saws.
Round files- also called rat-tail files, are gradually tapered and
are used for many tasks that require a round tool, such as
enlarging round holes or cutting a scalloped edge.

A Labeled Diagram Of a File

Tang -a long and slender projecting strip, tongue, or prong

forming part of an object, as a chisel, file, or knife, and serving as
a means of attachment for another part, as a handle or stock.
Heel -At the base of the tang is the HEEL. This is where the actual
body of the file begins.
Belly - The next section is the area where all the cutting action
happens. This called the BELLY of the file. Some files cut from all
edges, some have edges that are smooth. Some edges are flat,
some tapered and some are even rounded. You can even get files
where the two opposing edges are different.
Point - At the end farthest from the tang is the POINT. Strangely
enough, this can often be quite square or anything but pointed,
but it is in fact, the end you point at the work you are going to
be filing.

Methods Of Filing
1. Cross filing- The work piece is first filed in one direction and
then filed again at an angle to the original strokes.

2. Draw filing -This method is only used to remove file marks and
produce a good finish on completed work. A smooth file is used
to produce a good finish. This finish can be improved further by
rubbing chalk into the file. This prevents the teeth from clogging.

3. Filing Curves - There are two types of curves that you may have
to file smooth. With an internal curve, you should move the file
across the work while at the same time moving along the curve.
As you are moving the file along the curve change the angle of
the file For an external curve, run the file along the curve while
at the same time "rocking" the file so that the point of the file


A chisel is a tool with a characteristically shaped cutting edge (such

that wood chisels have lent part of their name to a particular grind) of blade
on its end, for carving or cutting a hard material such as wood, stone, or
metal by hand, struck with a mallet, or mechanical power. The handle and
blade of some types of chisel are made of metal or wood with a sharp edge
in it. In use, the chisel is forced into the material to cut it. The driving force
may be manually applied or applied using a mallet or hammer. In industrial
use, a hydraulic ram or falling weight ('trip hammer') drives the chisel into
the material to be cut. A gouge, one type of chisel, is used, particularly in
woodworking, woodturning and sculpture, to carve small pieces from the
material. Gouges are most often used in creating concave surfaces. A gouge
typically has a 'U'-shaped cross-section.

Use Of Chisels
Chisels have a wide variety of uses. Many types of chisel have been
devised, each especially suited to its intended use. Different types of chisel
may be constructed quite differently, in terms of blade width or length, as
well as shape and hardness of blade. They may have a wooden or plastic
handle attached using a tang or socket, or may be made entirely of one
piece of metal.

Types Of Chisels

Flat Chisel: A flat chisel becomes especially useful for cutting and
chipping metals when it becomes difficult or not suitable to use a
hacksaw or a shearing machine for cutting a piece of thick gauge
metal. This chisel becomes specifically important for chipping and
parting sheet metals. The cutting edge of a flat chisel is slightly
convexed. Generally its cutting angle for cutting hard steel is about
700 to 750, for cutting mild steel its around 600 and for brass or other
soft metals its about 400.
Cross Cut Chisel: In cases where it becomes inconvenient to use a
flat chisel, a cross cut chisel becomes a better option, like while cutting
narrow flat bottomed grooves. A cross chisel is specially forged to
make its cutting edge little wider than the rest of the body to ensure
that the chisel never gets stuck while working inside deeper grooves.
Diamond Point Chisel: Its used for cutting in corners and also
narrow grooves.
Half Round Chisel: Its used for cutting half round bottom-grooves
and for rectifying the incorrect starts while drilling.

Mushroom Head Chisel

1. Explain what a mushroom head chisel is -Cold chisels are used to cut or
shape soft metals as well as concrete and brick. In time, the struck end will
mushroom. This should be ground off. Don't use chisels with mushroomed
heads. Fragments can fly off and cause injury.

How to remedy a mushroom head chisel- Cold chisels are a common tool and one that is
easily sharpened. Three things must be checked when sharpening cold chisels, cutting edge angle, and
cutting edge square and mushroom head.

Figure 7 Correct and incorrect cold chisels

The correct cold chisel edge is formed by holding the wide face of the chisel against the grinding stone at the desired
angle. The correct included angle is 60o, illustration A Figure 7. It is important to insure the edge is held parallel to the
stone, Figure 8. When it is not held parallel the cutting angle will be wider on one side than the other, illustration
A Figure 8. Also note the cutting edge is not a knife edge, illustration B Figure 8. A narrow flat surface is left, called a
chisel edge, illustration C Figure 8.
Achieving a square edge is accomplished by holding the chisel perpendicular to the stone while grinding.

Figure 8 Correct and incorrect edges

When placing the chisel on the grinder stone it is important to point it up as in Figure 9.

Figure 9 sharpening a cold chisel

The method illustrated in Figure 10 is incorrect and dangerous because the chisel can become jammed between the
stone and the tool rest. This can cause the stone to shatter. It is also incorrect to sharpen the chisel on the side of
the stone

Figure 10 Incorrect method of sharpening a cold chisel

The mushroom head on a cold chisel, illustration B Figure 7, is removed by rotating the head of the chisel against the
grinding stone until the correct profile is established.

Figure 11 Removing mushroom head

When the cutting edge is badly damaged, illustration C Figure 7, the edge must be restored before it can be
The points and heads of punches can be sharpened using the same methods. Just remember to grind the point of
the chisel square.
Non cutting tools need reshaping occasionally because the working edge of the tools
becomes rounded or misshapen because of wear. Two examples are the flat bladed
screwdriver and the punch. With use, the edges become rounded and when that occurs the
screwdriver slips off the end of screws easier. This can be rectified by slightly grinding the tip
of the screwdriver. The screwdriver is placed on the tool rest, perpendicular to the face of
the stone, Figure 12, and with the blade and the shank horizontal, Figure 13.

Figure 13 sharpening a screw driver-side view

After the tip has been reconditioned a few times it may become necessary to grind the face
of the blade. Because the blade is tapered, every time the end is ground the edge will be
thicker. When the edge becomes too thick, it will not fit correctly in the slot of the
screw, Figure 14.

Figure 14 Screwdriver with edge too thick.

The end of a punch will also wear rounded. The end can be restored by lightly grinding it while holding the punch
horizontal from the side view and perpendicular from the top, Figure 15. Note that the tapered portion of the punch
cannot rest on the tool rest. If it does, the end of the punch will not be square.

Figure 15 reconditioning the end of a punch.

The struck end of the punch must also be checked for a mushroom head. It is eliminated following the same
procedures as the cold chisel.