The Silversmith's Toolkit - Filing

We often mention the traditional techniques our craftsmen use to create the beautiful silver creations that leave our workshop - but each of these techniques, passed down and evolved over the centuries, is worth exploring. In this series, we’ll examine some of the techniques at the heart of British craftsmanship taking place in our workshop every day.


After the soldering phase of a silversmithing project comes to a close, there are a few more things to do before the piece is completely finished. The next phase sees our master craftsmen reaching for their files for the stage that can make or break a piece.

Filing is actually quite a basic technique, but it requires a lot of skill to get it right - the file is one of the most important shaping and finishing tools in our craftsmen’s toolkit. Filing something incorrectly costs time and wastes precious metals - but proper filing can take a piece to the level of perfection that Grant Macdonald’s workshop is proud to share with the world.

It takes study and practice to file accurately and rapidly. All files are designed to cut on the push stroke, and an efficient file stroke must be smooth, steady and easy - with constant visual inspection.

The files in our workshop come in many widths, lengths, shapes and cuts - from the finest #8 to the coarsest #00. A tour of the silversmith’s workshop will find hand files used for general filing, and needle files for shaping and smoothing small areas. Our craftsmen are experts in filing flat surfaces, inside and outside curves, contours and corners. 


Discover other aspects of the Silversmithing process in previous instalments of The Silversmith’s Toolkit, and see the finished products in our collection of the finest British craftsmanship.

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