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Mike Hunter
11-03-2015, 10:35 AM
I, like many here have been told to only use chalk when filing; it helps keep the teeth from filling with metal shavings. Many times when filing, Iíve wondered why not use oil. In many ways a file is just an under powered, under speed milling cutter, oil certainly helps milling cutters from filling up with chips; so why not oil on files?

Thoughts?

Toolguy
11-03-2015, 10:50 AM
I have been places where they kept files in a coffee can of oil or kero. It seems that with chalk or oil you want none or a lot. Just a little seems to clog up worse.

Fasttrack
11-03-2015, 11:16 AM
I have been places where they kept files in a coffee can of oil or kero. It seems that with chalk or oil you want none or a lot. Just a little seems to clog up worse.

Yep - with milling cutters, one of the primary goals is to prevent chip weld caused by the high instantaneous heat/pressure on the cutting edge. Just a thin film of oil will prevent this. With a file, you don't generate the same kind of heat/pressure that you can with an endmill, lathe cutting tool, etc. Typically, you end up with very fine wisps or even just dust when cutting with a file. A thin film of oil just attracts these and ends up plugging things up. A thick film does help, though, since it is more fluid and can help transport the debris away from the file (and onto your hands, worktable, pants, etc!)

I've tried chalk and got along ok in soft materials but I usually use oil lots of oil because it's handy and it prevents rust, even though messy. I've found the key to keeping files clean and sharp is really user technique/selection of appropriate file more than any magic coating. Even a dry file won't clog if you're paying attention as you use it. A regular brushing or gentle knocking on a wooden table top helps keep things clean during long filing jobs.

ahidley
11-03-2015, 12:13 PM
Get a file brush. I think that's what they are called. It's a wire brush that is about six inches long and two wide and flat with bristles about 3/8 inch long. Looks like the brush got a crew cut, lol

Dave C
11-03-2015, 12:23 PM
Get a file brush. I think that's what they are called. It's a wire brush that is about six inches long and two wide and flat with bristles about 3/8 inch long. Looks like the brush got a crew cut, lol
That would be called a "File card"

Davidhcnc
11-03-2015, 12:33 PM
I rub steel into mine:cool:

Frank Ford
11-03-2015, 01:25 PM
Thanks to Guy Lautard, my lathe file sits in a tube of light oil, hanging on the wall to the right of the "kill zone" - - -

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/QuickTricks/LatheFile/lathefile01.jpg

Bob Ford
11-03-2015, 02:27 PM
Flatten the mouth of a cartridge case or small copper brass tube. Push at right angle to the teeth. Soft brass or copper cleans chips quick without damage.

Bob

firbikrhd1
11-03-2015, 03:41 PM
Flatten the mouth of a cartridge case or small copper brass tube. Push at right angle to the teeth. Soft brass or copper cleans chips quick without damage.

Bob

+1

and I use chalk

EddyCurr
11-03-2015, 05:38 PM
No one else just use the edge of a convenient piece of softwood
to clean pinning?

I own file cards, but do not find them particularly efficacious at
cleaning the file teeth when pinning occurs. Also, there are those
who maintain that file cards contribute to dulling teeth of files.

As for oil. Traditionally, workers were admonished to ensure that
both file and work surface were clean of oil or grease. Grounds for
this being that oil/grease keep filings from clearing away from work
area, leading to clogging. Finer the tooth pattern, the greater the
tendency. Still, some capable folks are endorsing oil in this thread.

I have some chalk and continue to use it, but sources of supply for
random pieces are dwindling, thanks to new technologies. Chalk is
compatible with the forementioned practice of using a scrap pc of
softwood to remove pinning.

Brass and copper bits have worked for me, but scrap softwood is
less valuable and more plentiful around here.

.

Paul Alciatore
11-03-2015, 06:09 PM
For better or worse, I usually use a brass bristle brush. I go across the file, parallel to the lines of the teeth with light to moderate pressure. It does not seem to dull them. And I lay a single track of light oil along the length of the teeth: it quickly spreads out the full width of the teeth. This seems to work well for me.

I tried to use a file card once and found it did not clean the teeth very well. It tries to clean out too many teeth at once with bristles that are too stiff. And it had steel bristles so I was not too sure it was not dulling the file.

tc429
11-03-2015, 06:09 PM
those wax sticks in the cardboard tubes used for saw blades and abrasive discs works on files too, and not too messy

boslab
11-03-2015, 07:11 PM
Tried some Ptfe dry lube today (it happened to be on the bench), looks optimistic
Mark

38_Cal
11-03-2015, 07:12 PM
I use both...chalk on files that may be used on wood, oil on lathe and other metal-only files. I also use a file card/range pickup brass cartridge case on chips that stick in spite of the chalk or oil.

randyjaco
11-03-2015, 07:24 PM
I have used both for a long time. I am now tending on oil over chalk. It does a better job of preventing corrosion. The key is keeping the file clean and free of pins. I use a card, brass tube and a fine pointed styles, in that order. Often it requires all 3.

Randy

Georgineer
11-03-2015, 07:28 PM
File card, brass offcut and chalk for me, never oil.

Dad told me that a lot of old timers used 'monkey juice' - they spat on the file.

George

radkins
11-03-2015, 07:43 PM
I will never again subject my files to a file card! Those dang things will dull a file and they will NOT clean very well, the major problem is the wire bristles simply can't reach to the bottoms of the teeth like a piece of wood or brass will do. a piece of hardwood will instantly form-fit to the teeth and clean tham all the way to the bottom and do so much quicker than one of those nearly useless file cards/brushes! Whenever I encounter a stuck chip that the wood won't remove (if the wood can't get it neither will a wire brush, try it!) then I keep that already suggested brass cartridge case handy.


Try this little trick if you don't believe the wood is better, take a dirty file and clean it with a file card, when you have given it your best shot then use a piece of hardwood on it, even a piece of soft wood like a paint stick will do wonders. It's simply amazing at how much gunk the wood will remove that the file card missed and there is zero danger of damaging a file with the wood.

darryl
11-03-2015, 09:13 PM
At work I've given explicit instructions to never wire brush my file. I'd rather that nobody except me uses it at all, but that's not realistic. I have done my best to keep this file aside, and it has always cut well for me. Then a few weeks ago I tried using it and it was no better than any of the others. I'm pretty sure somebody used it, then cleaned it on the wire wheel.

I have only ever cleaned it by pushing a maple stick across it, along the grooves. That is the best way in my opinion- I will not wire wheel a file, nor use a file card. I have not used the chemical method yet, but I'd like to try it.

radkins
11-03-2015, 10:12 PM
I have not used the chemical method yet, but I'd like to try it.

Not sure what chemical method you are talking about but I have used Phosphoric acid to clean some of my older files, I brush it on and keep it wet for a few minutes then rinse well with water and thoroughly dry, it does work really well and is probably safe on any file but so far I have declined to use that trick on any of my "Good" files.

LKeithR
11-03-2015, 10:29 PM
As has been mentioned, bamboo works really well for cleaning a file. It's mentioned in this thread from Practical Machininst...

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/general/file-cleaning-question-192628/

quasi
11-04-2015, 06:08 PM
yup, Chopsticks work well for cleaning files. Actually Chopsticks have many uses in the shop.

vpt
11-04-2015, 08:00 PM
Dry and file card.

Stu Miller
11-04-2015, 11:16 PM
Go here http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/Tooling/FileCleaner/filecleaner.html and copy Frank Ford's marvelous file cleaner which uses bamboo as the actual cleaner. I did this and find the cleaner much more efficient and easier on the files than my old file card.

macona
11-05-2015, 12:58 AM
Like other have said, file cards will dull your file, a piece of hardwood will clean it out.

And I use a soapstone instead of chalk. Less abrasive.

One way to sharpen a file is leave it out in the rain and let it rust. The rust will eat the metal away a little but leaving sharp edges.

vpt
11-05-2015, 08:39 AM
I have been beating my "lathe file" with a metal file card for years now and still the file is as sharp as ever. I mean if metal will dull a file you must have bought the wrong file. :D

Baz
11-05-2015, 06:46 PM
Give your filecard to a ballroom dancer. They like to use it for roughing the soles of their shoes.

Paul Alciatore
11-06-2015, 12:40 AM
Jeesh! Thanks a lot for that tip. Now I have to go out and buy chopsticks.

OK, you started it; now finish it. Specifics please. What kind of chopsticks? Wood? What kind of wood? Plastic? And what else are they good for, in the shop that is. I already know how to eat with them. And where can I get them by the hundred?




yup, Chopsticks work well for cleaning files. Actually Chopsticks have many uses in the shop.

RichR
11-06-2015, 01:26 AM
A couple of months ago I decided to try using a piece of wood. I had a package wooden shims sitting on the shelf so I used the fat
end of one of those. I've got to admit, it pulled a lot more crap out of the file than the file card ever did.

gbritnell
11-06-2015, 07:24 AM
Ok, this is what I was taught when going through my apprenticeship.
First of all nobody has mentioned what style of files they are using, rough, middle, bastard, second cut and smooth. Oh and yes the lathe file. They are also formed as single cut and double cut. It all depends how much material you are removing. When using a coarse file and it gets material pinned to it we were taught to drag it backwards against a piece of hardwood which would remove some of the pinnings. You have to remember that coarse filing isn't for a finished surface so it the pin scratches the material it's not a big deal because generally the initial filing is followed by smoother files.
When finish filing with a smooth file it was taboo to even touch the material you were filing because the oil from your hand would lubricate the material being cut and the file would skip over it. The first time I heard a journeyman tell me this I thought "yeah sure!" When he wasn't looking I gave it a try and lo an behold the file just slid across the surface I was filing.
To prevent the teeth from clogging or pinning we always had a block of chalk to rub on the file. In doing so you can only get a couple of passes across the metal before the file needs to be cleaned and rechalked but we're talking finished filing here. To clean the single cut file we had a piece of brass rod that had been passed across the tooth pattern until it also looked like the file being used. A few passes with the rod and it would remove all the metal filings and chalk from the teeth.
As far as using oil I can honestly say I have never heard of that. I'm not saying it wouldn't work but more to the point what kind of oil and on what type of material.
Filing brass and bronze requires a niece sharp file and I can't believe that using oil would facilitate metal removal on these types of materials.
gbritnell

bborr01
11-06-2015, 09:56 AM
I don't use oil or chalk on my files. Maybe there is a little oil on them from the oil residue that is on the metal that I am filing but that is it.

I use a file card for cleaning out the teeth. There has been a lot said about file cards dulling a file. It will if you use it wrong. Most people that I have seen use a file card use it wrong. If there is an interest maybe I will post my first video showing proper usage of a file card.

Brian

firbikrhd1
11-06-2015, 10:38 AM
I don't doubt that file cards will dull files, too many experienced people here haves stated such. I stopped using them because they weren't effective, for me anyway, or not as effective as a piece of flattened copper tubing or soft wood.

But here's a question. Files are obviously hard, quite hard in fact and I would venture to say harder than the steel bristles on a file card. So, why is it that a file card dulls files? It would seem that the difference in harness would let a hard file just shrug off the softer card bristles.

bborr01
11-06-2015, 12:36 PM
I think that the bristles on a file card are hard. If they weren't they would wear out very fast.
Most people that I have seen use a file card stroke the card over the file from the handle end to the other end of the file.
If you look at the bristles on a file card you will notice that they are bent toward the handle. That is the opposite direction of the teeth of a file. When using a file card, stroke the file card in like with the teeth on the file so the hooked bristles clean out the grooves on the file. The bristles should never really touch the cutting edge of the file.

Brian


I don't doubt that file cards will dull files, too many experienced people here haves stated such. I stopped using them because they weren't effective, for me anyway, or not as effective as a piece of flattened copper tubing or soft wood.

But here's a question. Files are obviously hard, quite hard in fact and I would venture to say harder than the steel bristles on a file card. So, why is it that a file card dulls files? It would seem that the difference in harness would let a hard file just shrug off the softer card bristles.

thaiguzzi
11-07-2015, 01:26 AM
Chalk on a file to help stop clogging, when filing aluminium. That's what i was taught, and has worked well the last 3 odd decades.

Shawrco
11-08-2015, 07:43 AM
As long as there are grandchildren there will always be sidewalk chalk! :)

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk

PS4steam
11-08-2015, 05:38 PM
Hi

I have been using caulk on my files for over 40 years and using the hardwood to clean them up. I only use mill files and have tried a lathe file. I also have a set of three files for brass only. I have two granddaughters who have become over the last 8 years accomplished apprentices. Two years ago for Christmas they gave me a box of 72 - 4" x 1" Railroad Caulk from some supply company. They were tired of having to find the one piece of caulk in the shop.

Bob