I went shopping online for a metal file with which to increase the gap of the hook on the support strap I use for my classical guitar. The hook engages with the sound hole of the instrument, and is too narrow on the strap I recently received as it comes from the factory.
I encountered on Amazon a “Stanley 21-106 8-Inch Mill Bastard File.” I needed to know if it was thin enough for my needs. One-hundred-forty-eight people have reviewed this 8-dollar tool on Amazon.
“Spencer in Seattle” went extra distance in his review by including useful information about tooth patterns. “Bastardd” once, shame on you for the typo. “Bastardd” twice, shame on me — maybe it’s a legitimate alternate spelling.
Files come in different tooth patterns, which fall into these groups: rough, middle, bastardd [sic], second cut, smooth, and dead smooth. This one is the bastardd [sic] file, which puts it right in the middle of the pack and means you can do most things with it.
You piqued my interest, darn it. There’s a more detailed explanation of files on The Tool Corner blog: “Most hand files are classified as Swiss Pattern or American Pattern… American Pattern files are available in three grades of cut: Bastard, Second Cut and Smooth. The length of a file also affects the coarseness, regardless of the cut. For example a 6″ Bastard Cut is a lot finer than a 12″ Bastard Cut. This is because shorter files are generally used for finer work. Overall, the finest would be a 4″ Smooth file and the coarsest would be a 16″ Bastard file. The relationship between the grades of coarseness for each length remains the same…Swiss Pattern files, on the other hand, are available in seven cuts…”
It’s a fascinating rabbit hole to fall down. So did you buy the Bastard?
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Gosh, what an excellent comment. Thank you so much for visiting my little blog and responding. Though I’m not an expert craftsman in any respect, I was raised by a dad who was, and I inherit an interest in hand tools. I enjoy reading their descriptions, and you’ve added a great deal of info. I confess that as a linguist my first attraction to the bastard file was the name, plus amazement at the sheer number of reviewers of that particular Stanley tool. As it happens, I didn’t buy it, but bought another little set of assorted files, since I needed something fairly small. However, they have proved to be too fine to deal with the devilishly manmade-material hook (plastic?) I’m trying to customize to fit my guitar! Your information tells me why! On a side note, I’m in the process of trying to place a value on a hundred or so wood carving tools my dad left me. Many have the “Marples” logo. I’m learning a little about this distinguished old brand from Sheffield, but have yet to ascertain how authentic or distinguished my particular chisels may be. I gather there are plenty of inferior knockoffs around. The Tool Corner blog you mention is undoubtedly a place I should look. The more I delve into tool lore, the more I sense it could become addictive! Thanks again for your visit!