OptiSource 10-Piece Mini File Set (Model No. 78-TA64)
Vigor Screw Finish/Spoon File (Model No. 31.947)
Dynamic Labs 6″Knife File—Cut 2 (SKU: 5999947)

Western Optical Zylonite File (Model No. 2078)

Using filing tools can improve the dispensing of professional-quality eyewear. 

Without optical files, ECPs would not be able to add that perfect, finishing touch to some of their best work. Just try and pass off unfiled three-piece screw mountings to someone who just parted with five or six Ben Franklins and the first thing he’ll notice is not the perfectly polished edges or the super-hydrophobic AR treatment, but the cut-off screws that snag his microfiber cloth when he tries to wipe his lenses. Here are some of the
options available on the market today.

First up is a “spoon file,” a must-have if you are selling screw-mounted rimless eyewear. Its fine pattern and ski-like tip prevents lens scratching when removing the sharp end of a cut-off screw. My favorite is Vigor Optical’s Screw Finish/Spoon File (Model No. 31.947). This Swiss Pattern Precision file has a comfortable, square center shaft for easy gripping and two rounded, ski-nosed file tips. The fine pattern cuts through the toughest carbide and titanium screws. Similar products include the Bent Flat Needle File (Model No. 68-LI-252) from OptiSource International and the 3-sided screw finishing file (Model No. 203530000) from Hilco.

Usually referred to as a “zyl” or “zylonite file,” this type of file allows you to change the pantoscopic tilt on a zyl frame and hone the hinge end of the temple on an angle so it fits flush with the frame front. Lab-Tech, Inc.’s ZYL File (SKU: FI ZYL), Vigor’s Zyl File (Model No. 31.383), and Western Optical Supply, Inc.’s Zylonite File (Model No. 2078) are good choices for honing the hinge ends of zyl temples. I find this tool most helpful when assembling new zyl safety frames that usually need a bit of tweaking to get the temples to fully open up. It’s often used in conjunction with a file guard (such as Vigor’s Filing Guard, Model No. 33.983) that prevents frame damage. This double-sided file has a coarse side and a finer side, each having a flat and round surface. The rounded end widens bridges on zyl frames.

If you are doing frame repairs that require a brazing torch, you will want to have a Rat Tail File (such as Vigor’s Rat Tail Round 4″, Model No. 31.282) and/or a Half Round Needle File (try OptiSource’s Half Round Needle File, Model No. 68-LI-151) to clean up unwanted brazing solder. These files get into tight places to smooth out your repair work. OptiSource also has a great set of 10 of the most utilized mini files used in this application (10-Piece Mini File Set, Model No. 78-TA64), all contained in a butcher block-style holder.

Ever try extracting an eyewire or temple screw that has a damaged head? It’s nearly impossible. A helpful tool for this problem is a screw head slot file. This thin file has teeth on its edges that can deepen an existing screw slot or cut a new one, making the job of removing the screw much easier. OptiSource’s Screw Head File (Model No. 68-LI-520/50) is a great one with a very useful handle.

A good all-around file to use for several jobs is the 6″ Knife File—Cut 2 (SKU: 5999947) from Dynamic Labs, Inc. Its serrated edge provides a cutting point and the fine, flat surface smoothes out rough patches. Also available through Dynamic Labs is the 4.5″ Super Thin Lens File (SKU: 5999948). This tiny, round file will ream out screw holes, create lens notches, and help you clean up a frame after a solder job.

Anyone familiar with shop talk knows that a “file card” is actually a tool to clean the cutting surfaces of files so they’ll continue to perform at their best. Vigor has one available called a File Cleaning Brush (Model No. 33.981). It has a wooden handle and is specifically designed for optical files. Sometimes the difference between second-rate and top-quality eyewear is little more than the small things, like sharp burrs being removed and misaligned corners being realigned-all of which are easily done with a little elbow grease and a good file. Make sure you have enough in stock.

Michael Frandsen is the owner of Quality Performance Ophthalmic, Inc., a custom service optical laboratory in South Jordan, UT.

Dynamic Labs, Inc. 888-339-6264 •
Hilco 800-955-6544 •
Lab-Tech, Inc. 800-822-4343 •
OptiSource International 800-OPTISOURCE •
Vigor Optical (A Division of Grobet USA) 800-955-6544 •
Western Optical Supply, Inc. 800-423-3294 •


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