Soupin’ Up a Stanley Surform File

Last weekend I bought this Stanley No 296 Surform File at a local antique show. When I first got into woodworking, I would use these things to round over boards when making wooden sailfish and ducks in junior high shop class. I hadn’t used one in years but for $5.00, I figured I’d play with one again.

I hated the handles so I grabbed a piece of 2″ square cherry and turned a new knob. The diameter of the knob is a little bit bigger than the original, but I had to keep the base the same diameter so it would sit it the recess of the body.

I then grabbed 1″ thick cherry and used an old Stanley tote as a template for the new handle. I then cut it out on the band saw and shaped it smooth with my oscillating spindle sander.

I then shaped it round with chisels, rasps, and files. I could have used a 1/2″ round over router bit but then again, I could also have cut it out with CNC machinery like most modern tool makers. The rasps and files worked just fine.

I drilled a couple of holes underneath to fit on top of the fitted body. I simply used the original tote as a template of where the holes needed to be drilled.

A quick spray paint job on the aluminum body did the trick. After a few coats it was done.

After assembling the parts back together and buying a new replacement blade, the rasp looks better than ever. What’s nice about these tools is that Stanley still makes them so buying replacement blades are super easy as every hardware store sells them.

I now own the coolest surform file in Cincinnati. It was a fun little weekend project.

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