Felt, an Inexpensive Handle for a File or Rasp

Felt handle

A masking tape rasp “handle” is very difficult to remove.

When I first began teaching at our school, I noticed that many of the rasps and files our students were using had a gooey buildup of masking tape around their tips. This blob of glue and paper was there to protect our students’ soft skin from the coarse surfaces of the tools as they were holding the rasp to shave away wood. Although adults have tougher and less sensitive skin, I find it very helpful to wrap a cushioning material around the tip of my rasps and files. It did not take me long to figure out that felt is the best material for the job.

Felt is soft, it adheres well to the rasps by allowing its teeth to hook themselves into its matrix and once you wrap a strip of felt around itself, the loose fibers from both faces of the felt “scarf” cling to each other keeping it in place. This last characteristic is a winner, as you don’t have to worry about re-wrapping the felt scarf around the rasp every time you lay the tool on the bench.

Lastly, unlike the masking tape approach, felt can be removed easily to allow for a thorough brushing of the rasp or file. Felt is easy to find, look for it online or in craft stores. Once you try using felt, I am confident that you will find many other uses for it all around your shop.

Felt handle

I cut the felt fabric into 3″ or 4″ wide X 8″ long strips and give them to our students. They then wrap them around the tool’s tip and use them with great success.

Felt handle

Felt is soft, it adheres well to the rasps by allowing its teeth to hook themselves into its matrix, and once you wrap a strip of felt around itself, the loose fibers from both faces of the felt “scarf” cling to each other keeping it in place.

— Yoav Liberman

3 thoughts on “Felt, an Inexpensive Handle for a File or Rasp

  1. amoscalie

    I actually use Kevlar gloves, but I suppose that not everybody has those, so this sounds like a great idea. Now I know what I have been saving those scraps of felt for all of these years.

    1. Yoav LibermanYoav Liberman Post author

      Kevlar gloves are indeed handy. I occasionally use them whenever I need to sharpen a long blade free handed, such as an axe blade or a drawknife. Try the felt scarf and see how convenient it is.

      1. amoscalie

        I am getting ready to make a handle for a float that I made and I will be using both rasps and files, so I will give it a try.

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