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darryl
09-13-2011, 11:16 PM
How long does it take to ruin a good file by cleaning the teeth on a wire wheel?

flutedchamber
09-13-2011, 11:21 PM
Less time than it took you to type the question.

Carld
09-13-2011, 11:37 PM
yep. Don't do it.

radkins
09-13-2011, 11:40 PM
The best way to clean a file is with a thin piece of wood not a wire brush! I use paint mixing sticks (paint paddles?), just push the end of it across the teeth of the file and they will instantly form groves that will easily clean the teeth all the way to the bottom. I was taught that trick years ago and I have never found anything that works as good, file cards will ruin a file just like any other wire brush.

JoeLee
09-13-2011, 11:49 PM
I have a post here somewhere on rejuvenating your dull files by soaking them in muriatic acid. It does work well.

JL....................

dp
09-13-2011, 11:56 PM
Cleaning a file on a wire wheel is the first step to converting it to a scraper handle. See McGyver's scraping series in the HSM magazine :)

dp
09-13-2011, 11:56 PM
I have a post here somewhere on rejuvenating your dull files by soaking them in muriatic acid. It does work well.

JL....................

I toss mine out on the lawn over night.

HWooldridge
09-14-2011, 12:01 AM
The best way to clean a file is with a thin piece of wood not a wire brush! I use paint mixing sticks (paint paddles?), just push the end of it across the teeth of the file and they will instantly form groves that will easily clean the teeth all the way to the bottom. I was taught that trick years ago and I have never found anything that works as good, file cards will ruin a file just like any other wire brush.

I've never heard anyone else mention the wood trick but I've also done that for many years. I discovered it by accident one day when I was trying to remove some stubborn clogs that the file card would't touch. A brass brush also works well for general work but I think wood is better.

Another tip to good filing is to either keep it well chalked and dry - or - heavily oiled. The latter works well when filing in the lathe; the oil keeps the chips moving out of the teeth (file needs to be sloppy wet and dripping with oil).

radkins
09-14-2011, 12:18 AM
Another tip to good filing is to either keep it well chalked and dry - or - heavily oiled. The latter works well when filing in the lathe; the oil keeps the chips moving out of the teeth (file needs to be sloppy wet and dripping with oil).



Chalking a file is a must IMO, I keep soap stone just for that purpose and the only oil I ever use is light oil to prevent rusting. I have about 20 different files right now of various types and sizes, most just standard single cut mill files and I have a few double cut flat files but I just don't use the double cut very much. I have found that long cut lathe files are very useful for far more than just for a lathe and in fact I can get a smoother and faster cut when draw-filing by using a lathe file than with any other type. Chalk or soap stone makes all the difference when using a file and I never try to file anything without chalking first, by doing this I rarely get any clogging that does not just shake off when the corner of the file is lightly tapped against a piece of hard wood. I would not even think of hitting my files with a steel wire brush of any kind including a file card, no need to since those wooden paint sticks work MUCH better and won't hurt the file at all!

Video Man
09-14-2011, 12:52 AM
I do the same trick as the wood stick, but with a piece of annealed copper tubing hammered flat....it cuts teeth like the wood does, but might be a tad more effective...being soft, when pushed along the teeth, it doesn't do any damage...

Frank Ford
09-14-2011, 01:48 AM
I particularly like bamboo for cleaning files, and a few years ago i made a special little holder for bamboo slips - it hangs on the rack with my files:

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/Tooling/FileCleaner/filecleaner03.jpg

darryl
09-14-2011, 02:04 AM
Well, we have several files at work that need to be thrown outside, soaked in muriatic acid, or converted into scrapers :(

No wonder I can't find a sharp file there. Thanks for the tips.

Forrest Addy
09-14-2011, 02:16 AM
Radkin has it right. A wood stick sharpened like a chisel is my favorite files sleaning out impliment. If it's strongly pinned I use a sharp scribe to pick them out knowing the nearby teeth may be dinged.

vpt
09-14-2011, 08:19 AM
Wood works good. I inherited a whole drawer full of files and they came with two file cards. The file cards are pretty much all I use to clean them. Haven't dulled a file yet and there are a couple that I use near daily and also clean daily, no problems.

I spray the whole drawer down with lubricating spray from time to time so they don't rust. Rust will ruin a file before any file card will.

gwilson
09-14-2011, 08:53 AM
vpt: There are those who advocate RUSTING their files to sharpen them!! I am not one of them.

The term "file card"comes from the original practice of having a stack of shims like a deck of cards,to push across files parallel with their teeth to clear them. Using a copper tube,piece of wood or bamboo,etc. all act in this same way.

vpt
09-14-2011, 09:11 AM
vpt: There are those who advocate RUSTING their files to sharpen them!! I am not one of them.

The term "file card"comes from the original practice of having a stack of shims like a deck of cards,to push across files parallel with their teeth to clear them. Using a copper tube,piece of wood or bamboo,etc. all act in this same way.



Rust sharpens files? Weird, every rusty file I ever tried to use was junk. :)

rohart
09-14-2011, 10:00 AM
The idea behind rusting, or acid etching, files to sharpen them is quite straightforward. The agent (water and oxygen and electrolyte, or acid) attacks the flat bits of each tooth, but at the tip of the tooth it has two sutfaces to attack. This means there are two sets of used agent, and used agent means less attack. So the tip gets attacked less.

The flats thus become concave, and the tip ends up sharper.

Incidentally, this is almost the same principle that's behind sharpening images, whether on the computer, or in a darkroom.

Well rusted is different. In this case the whole of the tooth is attacked down to nothing.

The idea is to leave it in the garden overnight, not for a month.

radkins
09-14-2011, 11:19 AM
Rusting can be used to sharpen a file, well somewhat anyway, but the usual advice to use Muriatic (Hydrochloric) or Sulfuric acids is not good. While these acids will quickly erode (Corrode?) the metal they also induce brittleness in steel whenever they come in contact with it. This brittleness is not likely to cause a file to break but those newly sharpened teeth will chip very easily and the sharp edge will simply break off so that newly sharp file won't stay sharp and will tend to dull as soon as it is used. It's much better to use something like Phosphoric acid or even Vinegar even if these take longer, it's much better still to just toss the darn thing and buy a new file! Files have got to be one of the better bargains out there, good USA made Nicholson files are available rather cheap when it's considered what they can do and how long they will last if properly cared for.

ironnut
09-14-2011, 11:42 AM
This idea is not original with me, I read it somewhere, but smashing flat the end of a spent brass casing from a rifle like a 30-06 that I found laying on the road, has worked quite well for me. I punched out the primer and used a 6-32 screw to attach it to 3/4 inch round piece of aluminum as a handle.

I will have to try the hard wood material. Frank that is one pretty holder you made there, almost to pretty to use. Thanks for the picture.

gordon

EddyCurr
09-14-2011, 11:50 AM
... a few years ago i made a special little holder for bamboo slips ...

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/Tooling/FileCleaner/filecleaner03.jpgSuch a fertile mind - another useful and attractive tool.

Would you add a crossguard (nee quillons) between the hilt and the 'blade'
if you were to make another, or have you found there is no need ?

.

Scottike
09-14-2011, 12:00 PM
Very nice tool there Frank!
The best way I've found to ruin a file - Buy a new file, take it down to the boat, use it once to smooth shaft, key stock,etc.
Put it away in the boat's toolbox for couple weeks, take it back out and presto! a file that's a rusty piece junk that wouldn't cut hard butter!

camdigger
09-14-2011, 12:09 PM
'nother thing that's really hard on files (no pun intended) is another file. I'm always surprised at the number of times I've seen files in a drawer piled 5 wide and 4 deep. The practitioner digs around a moment pulls a likely candidate out of the jumble, and is surpirsed it won't cut cheese.:rolleyes:

radkins
09-14-2011, 12:57 PM
Yep just piling files on top of each other is a very good way to create a pile of junk! I take cardboard and fold it loosly around each file then wrap that with packaging tape to create a neat soft sleeve for each one, quick easy and costs nothing. A thin mist of light oil on each file when it'is ready to go back into storage inside the sleeve and the next time I need it I don't get any surprises. :) I use my files a lot and I try to take care of them, with proper care and use a file can last a heck of a long time but even a moment of carelessness can ruin one. Always check to see if something to be filed is soft enough, a file can safely cut some pretty hard material but something too hard can destroy a file instantly. It's not a matter of running the file across a piece of material to see if it's too hard to cut because if it is then the file will be ruined on the first stroke.

gwilson
09-14-2011, 01:50 PM
"Good USA Nicholsons"? Aren't they making Nicholsons in Mexico these days?

There are still some flat USA Nicholsons to be found,but all the triangular ones now say Made In Mexico.

It would be a relief to know if at least the flat ones are still USA.

The Mexican files are said to be softer,though I haven't tried one yet. They LOOK very neat and well done(in their wrapper),but that doesn't mean a thing about their hardness. Anyone tried a triangular Mexican Nicholson?

I am told the Mexican ones still cost the same as the USA ones were.

radkins
09-14-2011, 02:16 PM
Tell me it ain't so! :mad:

I have not bought any recently but last year I bought a couple of 8" Nicholson flat files at Ace hardware that still said USA on the packaging. The last few I ordered were USA, a 12" mill file and a 16" flat file but these certainly could have been old stock. Made in Mexico now, well it sure don't surprise me and every time I see Nicholson in the store I expect to see "Made in China", actually I am surprised that hasn't happened yet!

Bob Fisher
09-14-2011, 02:31 PM
All my files a hung in a strip of aluminum angle with slots milled into it. Either bend the angle or shim the bottom so that the top surface is inclined to the wall to which it is mounted. They are easy to find and last along time with proper care. Bob.

ckelloug
09-14-2011, 03:09 PM
Nicholson has closed their file plant in Cullman, Alabama. I think the production is moving abroad. See http://www.cullmantimes.com/local/x104121301/Nicholson-File-closing-next-year

rohart
09-14-2011, 03:36 PM
I would love to have enough space to treat my files better. They sit about two deep in an open box. I am as careful as I consider reasonable when I put them away and take them out. I don't exactly rummage for the right one. They do scrape across each other to some extent. I'm sure this is not all that good for them, but I'm also sure that it is not the major contributor to wear.

Anyway, the most regularly used few naturally are given their own inch or two or box space.

I use a brass wire brush, and clean deep pinning by picking with a rough steel edge.

I would also like to have a file for each material - new one for brass, move it on to steel, and so on. Same for drills.

But alas, no time, no money, no space. Or, rather, the time and money and space goes on more machines, projects and stock.

I have been looking forward to putting up some shelves behind my lathe. I used to have some, when I had a smaller lathe. But I have taken to heart the comment on the danger of leaning over a running lathe. Maybe an electrically interlocked glass fronted set of shelves ? No - but hang files behing the lathe ? I'll surely never need to reach for a file with the lathe running, will I ?

radkins
09-14-2011, 03:56 PM
I'll surely never need to reach for a file with the lathe running, will I ?


You never use a long angle lathe file?

gwilson
09-14-2011, 04:35 PM
Mexican made Nicholsons are not new news.

johnnyd
09-14-2011, 08:26 PM
Has anyone ever heard of Blue Diamond files? Supposed to be the next grade up from the Black Diamond series.

JoeLee
09-14-2011, 08:59 PM
Has anyone ever heard of Blue Diamond files? Supposed to be the next grade up from the Black Diamond series.

Nicholson seems to be the most well know name to all of us, but wondering if anyone has used any files made by Heller???

But keep in mind.......... files are expendable......... they do wear out just like the tires on your car, and when you'r no longer satisfied with the preformance then grind them down for other things such as scrapers, chisels or cutting tools.

JL.............

GNO
09-14-2011, 09:20 PM
asked the bicycle shop to save inner tubes, cut to length of file, slip on, instant sheath !!!!!!!!!!

gwilson
09-14-2011, 09:38 PM
Heller was an older company. Not sure when they quit making files. I have a bunch of NOS Heller's. Just as good as any other file.

Our blacksmith shop in Colonial Williamsburg bought a rather large quantity of round bars of 1070 carbon steel that had been at the Heller Co. Not sure what they used it for. Possibly files,with additional surface hardening?

1070 is easier to forge weld laminated old type plane irons with than higher carbon steel,so the blacksmiths like to use it.

flutedchamber
09-14-2011, 11:20 PM
Mexican made Nicholsons are not new news.

I bought a bunch of Nicholson files from Enco last year. From 6 to 12 inch, single and double cut.

After a few uses I noticed that they didn't cut like a new file should, even though they weren't abused or clogged. Closer examination revealed the reason....made in Mexico. The files don't hold an edge like the US made files did. I have 10 year old US made Nicholson files that are sharper.:mad:

darryl
09-15-2011, 12:29 AM
I bought a Simonds file a couple years ago. I'd have to say it's top notch, a cut above, the grooviest :). It is a very good file, the best one I've ever bought actually, and I've bought Nicholsens in years past when I know they were good.

I've also bought some of the worst files ever made, and yes I should have known better. They look and feel (and file) like the tooth pattern was printed on. In other words you can't even file wood with them. I only bought them because I couldn't find a round rattail file anywhere at the time. The kit I saw had one in it, and for five bucks- well they are all virtually useless. I should toss them out, and also toss the crap-and-die set I bought on sale.

Iraiam
09-15-2011, 01:23 AM
I wish I had enough room in my box to store all my files properly, but my files are several years old and they still cut well, I use them on mostly stainless. I guess I'm not doing too bad.

I clean them by hand with just a standard file card with the wire brush on one side and the hair brush on the other side.

My files are all USA Nicholson files, up till now I was not aware that Nicholson was making files in Mexico, Although a co-worker has a newer set of Nicholson's that came from Grainger, I was not impressed with them, but I did not see where they were manufactured.

Peter.
09-15-2011, 01:30 AM
I have a wooden box full of old files let by my father which cut well but most are pretty gunged up so I clean them with a brass wire brush when I come to use them. Is this as bad as using a steel wire brush?

willmac
09-15-2011, 05:47 AM
Peter - I use a brass wire brush for my files, have done for a long time and haven't noticed any problem with the files. I am quite picky about files so I think I would have noticed if the brush was causing any damage. The type of brush I use is intended for suede shoes or similar.

The Artful Bodger
09-15-2011, 06:06 AM
I clean my files by clamping a block of wood in the bench with the end grain up and rubbing my files over that trying as much as possible to be rubbing in line with the teeth. It seems to work really well including fine files that were well clogged with gummy aluminium.

radkins
09-15-2011, 09:44 AM
No doubt a brass brush cab be used without harm it's just that wood works better.