Filing, Files, and File cleaning

JJB11B

Well-Known Member
#21
I watched a couple videos, while I like their designs, I feel like making it out of steel would be far more durable, and I just happen to have the metal on hand to build it
 

scott.livesey

Dealer - Purveyor
#22
Edited to add: Well, technically you CAN draw cut (pull towards you) with a file for draw filing, but you'll have to swap the file handle to your left hand on a single cut file. The teeth still only cut in one direction, however. and remember kids, FILES ONLY DO ONE THING ON THE PULL STROKE: THEY GO DULL![/QUOTE]

Huuuh????? google "draw filing" and watch the videos of folks pulling towards. I was shown that method by a German master machinist years ago. which hand is on the handle depends on which side of the file you are using. draw filing using a pull stroke is very effective in starting a bevel when using flat stock. I like either a 12" or 14" mill bastard to break the edge and set the initial grind angle. i drill my tang holes then mount blade to a piece of angle iron which then goes in a bench vise. works well standing or sitting. i try to do half tip to tang then finish tang to tip. i have a wire brush the size of a tooth brush that use to clean the file. you need to experiment on angle to hold the file, i seem to get best results when leading hand is about 3" closer to my body than trailing hand. I make first stroke close to handle, then move file 1/2" before next stroke. i have files by Simonds, Nicholson(some USA some Mexico), and Bahco(they were part of Sandvik now part of Snap-On). Bahco files seem to work the best, they cost about 20% more than Nicholson.
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
#24
Huuuh????? google "draw filing" and watch the videos of folks pulling towards. I was shown that method by a German master machinist years ago. which hand is on the handle depends on which side of the file you are using. draw filing using a pull stroke is very effective in starting a bevel when using flat stock.
I know what draw filing is, and how to do it. I would also suggest that a lot of people may be doing it wrong. Regardless of how you do it, a file's teeth are still meant to only cut in one direction, even when draw filing. The side of the file doesn't matter. Teeth are cut the same direction on both sides, so that if you hold the tang/handle in your right hand, you push to cut, regardless of which side you have facing down, or whether it's angled at the piece, or perpendicular to the piece for draw filing. If you want to cut on the pull stroke, the tang/handle should be held in the left hand.

Here's the first video that came up when I searched draw filing:
 
#25
great primer on filing, guys...specially you Andrew.

One rule I routinely "break" is on draw filing...I do not lift the file at all...I relax the pressure a bit on the non-cutting stroke, but that's about it. Reason is: On draw filing I'm usually going for finish and lifting and then finding the "flat" again is difficult for me without putting pressure on one edge or another. So I keep the file down but lighten up a bit on the return stroke. If it affect my files it's not much...I have mill files I've used for 30 plus years.

I've used chalk, soapstone, teflon spray, they all work fine...lately I started using LPS Tapmatic Edge which is a dry lube stick for cutting metal. looks like a grease tube with a waxy substance in it. Is it better? Dunno...lol...just easier for me to find because of the label and size. (i love it for bandsawing blade material though!)

It could be a psyche thing...but i think the files I get from industrial supply houses (Like graingers and McMaster Carr) are higher quality than Home Depot's...it's not a wear issue but a quality of cut issue....I would at least check out a mill file and compare them....that's where the finish counts. Like I say....could be all in my head.....the Home Depot files i've bought do not seem quite as nice? Anyone have an opinion on this?

the human tendency to unmerited bias is always tricky with files, lol. i quit buying Grobet needle files YEARS ago because harbor freight's last half as long and cost about 1/10 as much and seem to cut decent (great economy!)...now they feel disposable to me rather than family heirlooms in the making....but I will use them for things i never would have used a nice Grobet for....even grinding them down for hard to reach jobs.
 
#26
I too started making knives with files and these very experienced guys have given all the advice I could offer and more. The only thing I may add is this: I assume you are using reclaimed steels to practice all of the techniques you have studied I know I did. Normalizing is a great step to take but when you are filing by hand you want the steel as soft as you can get it so I would go the extra step and anneal it before you start your filing. When using reclaimed steel you are never quite sure what you are dealing with and some steels will air harden as it cools in ambient air like in a normalizing cycle. All you have to do to perform a SIMPLE anneal is heat the steel to non-magnetic (as time goes you will do this by color) then let it cool down slowly as possible. I used to turn my forge off and leave the blank in there letting them cool together. I got my best results doing it that way. You can also use vermiculite or wood ash to anneal. I used wood ash in an old ammo can and it worked OK. The good part about files is that when you use them up you can
 

Drew Riley

Well-Known Member
#27
great primer on filing, guys...specially you Andrew.

One rule I routinely "break" is on draw filing...I do not lift the file at all...I relax the pressure a bit on the non-cutting stroke, but that's about it. Reason is: On draw filing I'm usually going for finish and lifting and then finding the "flat" again is difficult for me without putting pressure on one edge or another. So I keep the file down but lighten up a bit on the return stroke. If it affect my files it's not much...I have mill files I've used for 30 plus years.

I've used chalk, soapstone, teflon spray, they all work fine...lately I started using LPS Tapmatic Edge which is a dry lube stick for cutting metal. looks like a grease tube with a waxy substance in it. Is it better? Dunno...lol...just easier for me to find because of the label and size. (i love it for bandsawing blade material though!)

It could be a psyche thing...but i think the files I get from industrial supply houses (Like graingers and McMaster Carr) are higher quality than Home Depot's...it's not a wear issue but a quality of cut issue....I would at least check out a mill file and compare them....that's where the finish counts. Like I say....could be all in my head.....the Home Depot files i've bought do not seem quite as nice? Anyone have an opinion on this?

the human tendency to unmerited bias is always tricky with files, lol. i quit buying Grobet needle files YEARS ago because harbor freight's last half as long and cost about 1/10 as much and seem to cut decent (great economy!)...now they feel disposable to me rather than family heirlooms in the making....but I will use them for things i never would have used a nice Grobet for....even grinding them down for hard to reach jobs.
I would say it's acceptable to not completely break contact, as long as you lighten pressure on the "return" stroke. To bring back the similarity with a hacksaw blade, you wouldn't typically lift the saw blade out of the material to pull it back, but if you're using it properly, you're putting pressure on the forward stroke only, I just see a lot of "filers" keeping pressure the whole time and wondering why the file isn't cutting hardly at all. They also wonder why the piece starts dishing in the middle, instead of remaining flat. Well.....

I agree that the file brands from the industrial supplies are typically better than the big box stores. I buy tools for my day job from McMaster and Grainger all the time, and it seems like McMaster especially tries to stick with either the USA made brands, or the more premium versions of a tool, as their customer base is more professionals and tradesmen who are making a living with these tools, vs your Lowes and Home Depots who have to cater to "Joe Homeowner" as well. Your average Joe, who's using something like a file, just to sharpen a mower blade once every 6 months, doesn't want to spend more than $5 on a file, where as a fabricator who is de-burring steel for 10 hours a day is glad to pay for something that will work and last. Not that big box stores don't have quality tools, and all of the supply houses certainly have thier "economy" brands, but in my experience buying hand tools from places like McMaster, they're typically a notch or two above your Harbor Freight and cheaper import brands.

I keep wanting to try out the cutting compound "sticks", and I've heard great things. Never really thought about using them for files though. I may get some to try now...
 

JJB11B

Well-Known Member
#30
I’ve been using a bottle of chalk line chalk. Seems to work ok, I think the filings just fall out easier when I tap the file on my 2x4 that I set next to my work for that purpose (I don’t wanna break my file of mess up my counter top
 

JJB11B

Well-Known Member
#31
I have also been using a steel bristled toothbrush like brush to clean the teeth of my file that works very well, I could see how a file card being bigger with shorter possibly stiffer bristles would work better
 
#32
I have also been using a steel bristled toothbrush like brush to clean the teeth of my file that works very well, I could see how a file card being bigger with shorter possibly stiffer bristles would work better
little steel brushes work ok...The file card is stiff...and cleans more of the file (quicker).
 
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