What are Diamond Files?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Diamond files are files with a coating of diamond abrasive, designed for working with a variety of surfaces including metals and hardwoods. These products are readily available from numerous companies and suppliers, and it is usually possible to purchase a set of variously-shaped files for the purpose of different applications. Woodworkers, machinists, and people working with a variety of materials may maintain diamond files in their tool kits, along with rasps and similar supplies.


Companies manufacture diamond files with a diamond abrasive, a gritty product made with industrial diamonds and attached to the file with strong adhesives. Metals are usually used as the backing for the file so they will hold up to extended use. The diamonds used in tools are not the same as those used in jewelry; industrial diamonds tend to have inclusions and a muddy appearance, because they are selected for strength and durability, rather than aesthetics.

File shapes including flat, round, and half round are available for different uses. The texture of the diamond abrasive can be varied for coarse and fine filing tasks. Companies also make files of varying grades. Very high quality diamond files are designed for daily use in industrial settings like machine shops, and they tend to be quite expensive. Lower grades are used for crafts and intermittent projects and cost less, but will not hold up to daily use with very hard materials.

Diamond file kits are available, with an assortment of sizes and shapes designed to provide a full range of options. People can also buy files individually if they prefer to purchase files for specific purposes. When selecting diamond files, people should consider how they will be used and select a diamond file of the appropriate rating and grade. People working with very hard materials need tougher files, for example.

Like other tools, diamond files are most effective when they are properly maintained. The diamond abrasive will tend to trap material over time, and files should be periodically cleaned to get rid of sawdust, metal filings, and other small fragments caught in the abrasive. The tools should be stored in their cases when not in use to protect them and other tools from damage, and it is advisable to wipe them down after use to keep them clean and dry. Manufacturers may provide instructions on maintenance and care, and any special care directions should be noted for future reference.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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