Make Disposable Files




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I had a need for a dozen or more small files for only a few hours. 

Rather than pay out for tools that would then become unused clutter, I decided to make a set cheaply enough that I wouldn't mind throwing them out when they weren't needed any more.


Step 1: Materials

There are very few things needed:

  • 6mm dowel. I bought a 2.4m length for £1.68. Cut to about six inch lengths, that's enough for 16 files.
  • Sandpaper. A pack of 10 sheets cost me 89p, and I only used one sheet to make the set.
  • PVA glue and masking tape - both from "stock".
That's it. Sixteen files for less than 20p each.

Step 2: A Ripping Time

Rather than cutting the sandpaper, which might have damaged any blade I used, I just folded and tore it.

I was using cheap sandpaper; if you use better-quality paper, it might prove harder to rip neatly.

The sheets tore into four strips that were conveniently the right width to cover half a piece of dowel, and then into small rectangles that wrapped around the dowel once.

Step 3: Wrap It Up

Smear the back of the paper with a generous amount of glue. PVA is the basis of both craft and wood-glue, perfect for fixing paper to wood.

Wrap it around the dowel, then tape in place until it dries.

Step 4: Done

I didn't time myself, but, apart from drying time, a full set of files took about 30-40 minutes.

Something to remember is that they are still sandpaper at core, and have the same limits - they clog very easily on green wood. If you are going to use them on green wood, you need to replace the cheap sandpaper with proper "wet and dry" abrasive paper, and a glue that will put up with being dipped and swirled in water during use.



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    60 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Nice, simple idea to have on my mind in case I ever need something like this.

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    I do this with dremel bits, get the felt polishing drums and use white-glue to glue a strip of sandpaper around the edge.

    One thing I do there that may be good here as well is that I wind the sandpaper around the drum a couple of times. On the dremel, it wears off quickly, and so instead of having to remake it, I can simply unwind and tear off a loop of the sandpaper. (the PVA doesn't stick well to the sharp side).

    It does mean that it isn't perfectly circular though.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Very tidy idea. I'll do that. I occasionally need to file small things and your idea is perfect.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    theseare great if your dowel is thin enough to fit the chuck of your drill. bites much better than normal round files since normal files are directional.

    another good idea is to glue sandpaper on a flat surface ... i used to attach one directly to my workbench.


    5 years ago

    actualy a file comes in diffrent sizes and hardnes. ur store baught file is usaly 65 hrc on the rockwell scale. sand paper has no hardnes. so what ur making is acrualy a sand paper stick.

    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    ...that is used the same way as a file.

    The point is, this is a disposably cheap alternative to a normal file.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice post, I have bin doing this to my shop pencils for years, there just right with and inch or two of sand paper and I still have a pencil :-)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Really good idea,have voted for you. Iv;e worked in wood carving 40 years and this is a good cheap tool good luck.have a good day.