I'm having a hard time control my electric file. I'm scared of cutting the client. How do I get more comfortable?

December 01, 2004

I have been doing nails for about a year now and I am having such a hard time getting used to using an electric file. My problem is with control. Basically I can’t go over the surface of the nail because I am too scared of cutting the client or having the drill kick under and over the nail. I don’t know what I should do to get more comfortable using it.


 I suggest you use bits with safety edges when first getting used to an electric file. Use a barrel bit with a safety edge for the top of the nail and for shortening, and then use a redband tapered cone for around the cuticle. If your file does wrap around the finger these bits will not cut the skin, so although you may both be scared, no one will get hurt. Place the tapered bit directly on your hand and you’ll see that it will not cut the skin. I suggest the cone bit manufactured by Brasseler USA. I use only carbide bits and have found I have more control with them.

First practice on your nails. This is the best way to learn. Remember to let your bit do the work and do not apply much pressure. Always use cuticle oil to minimize the friction as this will keep the heat down. Set your speed low and get familiar with the bit.

Follow the speed directions that come with your electric file. If it has lights that indicate speed, I suggest you usually use the second light and, when taking down bulk or length, use the third light. Remember to keep your bit parallel to the nail. Lay the bit on the nail by the sidewall and go up and over the top and down the other side.

I cannot stress enough to let your bit do the work rather than applying too much pressure. Pressure will create heat and can damage the nail plate. Lift your drill up off the nail plate after each pass across the nail.After much practice and hopefully a class on proper drill usage (or at least a video), you’ll be able to move onto other bits.

Go to shows and ask the instructors to use the drill on you and explain what they are doing and why they are using each bit. Do not give up. Electric files are wonderful tools. — Mary Metscaviz

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