Filing Stainless Steel

Discussion in 'Knife Dogs Main Forum' started by SamuelsSteel, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. SamuelsSteel

    SamuelsSteel Member

    Hey guys,

    I need some guidance on filing stainless steel. I do not have a grinder and I get really nice results from my filing jig with my carbon steel.

    I got an order for 154CM, the first stainless steel I've worked with. The steel work hardens very easily and quickly. I know this is the case as my file will just skate across the surface. In my reading many have had the same issue.

    I've done some investigation and I see some people using Pferd Corinox files that are specifically for stainless.

    I really hope there is a repeatable and sensible solution to my problem while using a file.

    Any ideas? I know the compulsion is to suggest I get a grinder but I really enjoy working with the files believe it or not.

    I'd appreciate it!

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  2. John Wilson

    John Wilson Well-Known Member

    I have draw-filed CPM154 using a typical mill @@@@@@@ file. I was shocked at how much metal the file moved. Using a file in the usual way did not remove nearly as much metal as draw filing did. When drawing the file, play with the angles and you will discover a sweet spot that begins to bite and remove large amounts of metal.
  3. SamuelsSteel

    SamuelsSteel Member

    It's odd that you mention that but the ONLY method that works consistently is draw filing

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  4. SamuelsSteel

    SamuelsSteel Member

    I have a Corinox and MaxiCut file on the way which supposedly will be harder than the work hardening and will cut through it

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  5. CMS3900

    CMS3900 Well-Known Member

    I have a Pferd Corinox and love it. It will eat just about anything, as long as it is softer than the files hardness of 70 Rockwell C.
  6. EdCaffreyMS

    EdCaffreyMS Forum Owner - Moderator

    There's always a certain level of "give-n-take" with most things we do concerning steel. The quality of files you use certainly has a huge impact on how easy or difficult the task is. I agree with John about the methodology.....draw filing is going to yield the fastest results. However.....and here's the "give" part of the equation..... draw filing is going to leave a rougher finish, which will require more finishing time. That's just the nature of the beast...... and it'll make you want a belt grinder all the more. :)
  7. John Wilson

    John Wilson Well-Known Member

    so true. Typically a hand sanded finish begins for me with 320 grit. When filing, expect to begin with 120 or 220. I had forgotten about that, Ed. You brought back some fairly painful memories!
  8. SamuelsSteel

    SamuelsSteel Member

    I have a 1 x 30 but honestly I just don't have the feel for it. I mess up a lot whereas I just feel like I can go slower and be more precise with files.

    ONE DAY I'll get a nice grinder but I think there is going to be a big pay off one day because I did it the harder way first.

    In regards to the finish sanding I understand the pain there. I don't mind it as I've gotten better at it as time has gone on.

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  9. Smallshop

    Smallshop KNIFE MAKER

    Filing is a great skill to learn.

    If possible, find a maker in your area and see if you can borrow a couple hours on his 2x72 (hopefully with a speed control.) This will force you to sell a car or 4 rifles or a boat to get a They are expensive and worth every penny. If you could experience a good grinder it would get your focus on getting one, building one, etc. It would also give you insight into the "big payoff" of "one day" having a nice grinder....which I contend would be "why did I wait so long?"

    The 1x30 is in no way a good comparison for grinding vs filing. Everybody messes up on a 1x30. I have all the tools you are using and am fairly new to making.... I simply could not resist the "compulsion" to recommend a good grinder...for good reason.:3:

    If you have the time to file and enjoy it then don't let me get in your head. If you plan on selling knives though, it would be very difficult to break even filing them.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  10. SamuelsSteel

    SamuelsSteel Member

    I'd disagree on the 1 x 30 slightly. My new approach going to be to use the 1x30 with a jig to remove 90 percent of the stock from the bevels then finish with the files. Not as fast as a proper grinder, but faster than pure file work.

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  11. Smallshop

    Smallshop KNIFE MAKER

    yes...good thinking.
  12. SamuelsSteel

    SamuelsSteel Member

    Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a 2x72 is awesome. But I'm hard headed hahaha. I'm just a poor guy doing the best I can with what I have and can afford

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  13. Smallshop

    Smallshop KNIFE MAKER

    You are utilizing the tools you have and making changes to your method for efficiency...good move. I was kind of thinking you were ONLY using files and trying to steer you away from that. A nice jig on the grinder should get you to the end zone quicker!
  14. Ty Adams

    Ty Adams KNIFE MAKER

    I bought my 1x30 just to make knives. I had no desire to make one with a file. If it were all that was available I would still use it over files.I have no regrets in that purchase. It still gets used on a regular basis in my garage.
    When you get a 2x72 the first thing you will notice is how much faster you make a mess of your knives.
  15. John Wilson

    John Wilson Well-Known Member

    a 1x30 is so handy that every shop ought to have one. You'll use it for a million things. I've given two of them away just so that friends would have one. I always end up buying another and I HAVE a 2x72 with variable speed. If you wait for a 20% Harbor Freight coupon you can get a 1x30 for less than 50 bucks. For casual sharpening, it's probably the best tool on planet earth. zip zip done. A 2x72 will eat your blade whereas a little 1x30 will put an unsightly blemish on it.

    If all I had was files, you better believe I'd use a 1x30 to do a lot of the bulk work. I think I'd rather start out with a 1x30 while I saved up for a 2x72 rather than sink hundreds of dollars into trying to turn a 4x36 into a knife making grinder. It's really easy to throw good money after bad on a machine that's simply never going to be what you envision. Many have tried. They'll all tell you the same story.

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