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Files for Brass and Steel

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  • Files for Brass and Steel

    I think it's pretty well known that files once used on Brass cannot be used on Steel.Why should this be? What properties of Brass prevent the files subsequent use on Steel??
    West Sussex UK

  • #2
    Originally posted by Alan Smith
    I think it's pretty well known that files once used on Brass cannot be used on Steel.Why should this be? What properties of Brass prevent the files subsequent use on Steel??
    I'm not supposed to do that?

    There sure are a lot of things to keep track of.
    Gene

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    • #3
      I've never heard that. Although, I do know that brass will "track" (it rubs off on other stuff) and I suppose you could ingrain some of it on the surface of the steel if that were critical. I generally don't consider a file finish to be a final finish on something that critical though, and sanding, lapping, surface grinding, stoning or whatever, which may follow filing would certainly remove the brass tracking I would think.

      I suppose another explanation is that it is probably nice to keep a set of files sharp for use only on brass??

      Ya got me???

      Paul
      Paul Carpenter
      Mapleton, IL

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      • #4
        Ive heard that brass cuts really well when the tools are really sharp (this was referring to on a lathe), yet the second the tools are slightly blunt it stops working at all - moreso than on other metals where blunt tools may work okay, just not quite as good.

        If in fact this is true, then it'd explain why you'd want to keep brass files razor sharp and not ruin them by using them on steel.

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        • #5
          I cannot see why cutting soft brass would blunt an otherwise sharp file as long as you clean of the brass swarf thoroughly before comencing with the new material to be cut,it doesnt make sense to me that it wouldn't .If however you try to use it full of brass swarf it would not cut well .Alsistair
          Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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          • #6
            i'd only every heard it the other way, once used for steel the file will not be as good for brass. and it applies not just to files...once used on steel cutting tools in general won't work (as) well on brass. can't speak to the metallurgy, suspect its that brass likes a very fine edge and that steel quickly takes of said fine edge, but that is speculation on my part. in my experience this holds true

            its not it can't be used on steel, but rather as Paul says, if its a file reserved for brass, once used on steel, you can't go back.
            Last edited by Mcgyver; 01-05-2007, 07:26 PM.
            .

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            • #7
              it's not the brass

              I don't think it's the brass dulling the file. Use some railroad chalk first to to fill the grooves slightly to prevent pinning. Then file the brass (or whatever).

              Much easier to clean, and then there's no pinning from full file grooves as it skips over material as it would if the grooves were full.

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              • #8
                Thanks, guys. My files read this thread and now they refuse to work on steel or brass, since they can't remember which they did last. Everything was fine until now.

                Joe

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                • #9
                  Just point your forefinger at them wag it and repeat naughty files naughty files that usually works for Norm Alistair
                  Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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                  • #10
                    If you have corrupted files just delete them and create new ones. This is about computers isn't it?
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                    • #11
                      I think Mcgyver's got it. The idea is that brass needs (or cuts best) with super-sharp tools, and a file that's been used on steel will be more or less dulled.

                      The older issues of Model Engineer magazine tend to belabor this point quite a bit. They also suggest reserving a set of drills just for brass, too.

                      Not having enough discretionary income to be able to afford two of everything, I don't worry about it.
                      ----------
                      Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                      Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                      Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                      There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                      Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                      Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Optics Curmudgeon
                        Thanks, guys. My files read this thread and now they refuse to work on steel or brass, since they can't remember which they did last. Everything was fine until now.

                        Joe

                        LMAO
                        Paul in NE Ohio

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                        • #13
                          Side walk chalk is cheap and the only use I can think of for it is files. Sure keeps the big chunks from sticking in the file.

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                          • #14
                            Your heart is in the right place, just the flow is off!

                            Brass /Bronze is really tough to cut, (for a file) . the file wants to skid, because the material is really a bearing material and resists abrasion.
                            New files should be allocated to Brass/bronze only.
                            Then as they dull (a little) use them for steel, and they will continue to cut.
                            When no longer good for steel, downgrade them to Aluminum...
                            That is the senario..BUT wait....be aware of this ....
                            warning..
                            If you solder or silver solder bronze/brass, never use anything other than
                            it's dedicated file. If you had some Aluminum on it for example, the particles will embed
                            in the brasss and prevent wetting of the solder,or cause a failure.

                            rich

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                            • #15
                              I use two sets of files,one for brass/bronze down grade to aluminum.One for steel downgrade to cast iron.In the automotive world,if you buy a brand new valve guide reamer and run it one time through a cast iron valve guide,it will never make through a bronze valve guide.It will weld itself to the guide and takes a sledge hammer to get it out of the guide.

                              I also second the idea of dedicated sets for aluminum welding or any type of soldering/brazing work.
                              Last edited by Steeltoe; 01-06-2007, 01:27 AM.

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