Sanding and Filing Sheet Metal

See the tabs below for all products and tools used in this technique, plus any additional tips that may be helpful to you!

Beautifully finish a shape cut from sheet metal by sanding and filing it with progressively finer grit.
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Tip 1Files are designed with teeth that cut with a forward stroke, so start with the tip of the file and file away from yourself.
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Step 1

When you have finished sawing, you will need to file the edges of the shape.

Step 2

Hold the metal in a ring clamp. Place the side you wish to file close to the edge of the clamp (flat side for flat edges, round side for round edges).

Step 3

Push the wedge tightly into the other side of the clamp. Don’t let the metal hang too far out of the side of the clamp – it may bend as you file.

Step 4

Begin filing, starting with the tip of the file on the edge and filing away from you. Files are designed with teeth that cut with a forward stroke.

Step 5

Repeat as necessary, changing the position of the metal in the ring clamp as needed to find the best position for filing.

Step 6

After filing, you may need to sand the piece to smooth out any scratches on the surface.

Step 7

After removing the piece from the ring clamp, lay it on the bench pin. Begin sanding with a course grit emery stick. We recommend starting with the 3 grit emery stick and gradually working down toward a fine grit.

Step 8

Begin to sand the metal surface, working in one direction only. Sand the entire piece with the 3 grit emery stick. Then use 2 grit. Next, use 1 grit. Then use 0.

Step 9

After that, use 2/0. Keep working in the same direction.

Step 10

Then use 3/0, and finally use 4/0. Continue sanding until your piece is smooth and highly polished. You can further the effect by polishing the piece with a Pro Polish pad.

Step 11

Congratulations! You have finished sanding and filing your shape.

 

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