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  • #31
    Originally posted by loose nut
    Nicholson are best Simmons are next.
    Black Diamond files used to be about as good as you could get. But I don't think they're available any more. I have 2 or 3 old ones around.

    Tho I recall seeing that name Black Diamond somewhere just in the last few days, but it wasn't in connection with files. I wondered about it at the time, but never pursued investigating. Last I remember seeing any was in a farrier catalog, but that was years ago.

    Actually I've had a couple of India files that were pretty good. ...not the sharpest initially, but they seemed to stand up to abuse pretty good. But I've had others that were very hard, but worked no better than a popsicle stick for filing.

    Say, what effect would de-rusting (either Evapo-Rust, or electrolysis) have on files? I can see a potential, possibly, for dulling the edges slightly.
    Anybody have experience with that?
    Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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    • #32
      Mcgyver,

      That's the coolest machining photo I've seen in long time.

      I love the scene and vibe of that picture. I'm saving that one.

      Well done!

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      • #33
        Originally posted by T.Hoffman
        Mcgyver,

        That's the coolest machining photo I've seen in long time.

        I love the scene and vibe of that picture. I'm saving that one.

        Well done!
        makes a nice desktop background ...ive used it ..get it onto google picasso what ever its called ..and it could be a google background

        all the best.markj

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        • #34
          A couple of months ago i was in a flea market looking around and found 5 pool cues for $5.00. Looking at these things i thought good price,,, but what could i use them for??

          Got home ,, and ,, yup,, just cut them up into short lengths and use them for fancy file handles.

          Got quite a few different sizes in diameters once they get cut up. Turn the end down, slip on a ferrule.

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          • #35
            Steve --

            Here's my tip about files: The file-makers themselves sell tools to destroy files, calling them "file cards". The spring-steel wires of a file card are very effective file-tooth dullers, while being woefully ineffective in cleaning out whatever crud is stuck between the file's teeth.

            A nylon-bristle file brush (which sometimes shares a handle with a file card) is a much better and safer file cleaner, but the coarse bristles limit its effectiveness on fine-toothed files.

            I brush my files with a cheap toothbrush, which can be had several-for-a-dollar from a dollar store pretty much anytime, or every so often on sale from one of the chain drugstores.

            A file that is severely plugged up needs more than a brushing. For that, a scraper made from hardwood, bamboo, plastic, aluminum, or copper, that's been shaped like a wood chisel is just the ticket. Push the scraper's sharp edge along the file's teeth, and it quickly forms to the task, pushing all of the crud stuck between the teeth out of the way.

            John

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            • #36
              Thanks to all who responded! When I originally posted I had no idea the thread would generate so many replies. There are many variations of what people think is best for their particular use and that files may have to be selected for special occasions. Now that I've seen Mcgyver's file selection I have a serious case of File Envy.

              Originally posted by John Garner
              Steve --
              Here's my tip about files: The file-makers themselves sell tools to destroy files, calling them "file cards".
              For that, a scraper made from hardwood, bamboo, plastic, aluminum, or copper, that's been shaped like a wood chisel is just the ticket. Push the scraper's sharp edge along the file's teeth, and it quickly forms to the task, pushing all of the crud stuck between the teeth out of the way.
              John
              John, than you for the tip on file cleaning. I have used a file card in the past on occasion but not noticed the damage it may be doing. Truthfully, it didn't do that great a job anyway. I've learned that prevention is better than cure and have become very conscientious about chalking my files before use. I will take your advice and toss the card in favor of a piece of flattened out copper tubing sharpened like a scraper. I already have exactly that thing that I use to scrape gaskets on aluminum surfaces so they won't be damaged by being scraped clean; an old trick I learned form a motorcycle repair manual.

              This thread has taught me a lot. I was aware of single and double cut files but it was interesting to learn that there are different variations of tooth angles. My next move is to look at the files I have, make a list of those I think I might like to fill in with and make a purchase. Thanks again!
              Steve

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              • #37
                At work I use a piece of 3/8" square keystock to clean my files. . .I use it just like the piece of crushed copper tube and push the material clogging the file away from me and out of the file. . .an empty cartridge brass with the neck hammered flat works great as well. . .

                . . .using a pool cue to create handles seems like a really good idea, I don't like the shap of the premade wooden handles. . .I prefer either a straight walled cylindrical shape or a slightly tapering handle shap myself. I have two interchangeable handles that I made out of delrin with an aluminum insert to hold the files and a set screw with a plastic thumb knob to keep the files from falling out. . .a large one for standard files and a small one for needle files. The large handle was designed to hold a sawzall blade as well.

                I would agree that Nicholson and Simmons are good files and the files marked "India" are to be avoided, but don't forget to include Grobet files on the ones to grab when found.

                Good thread. . .glad someone started it. . . I will be taking a hand filing class with one of the retired toolmakers from my shop tomorrow. Hopefully I will come away with some more knowledge and more skill with a file; it is an area that I feel needs improvement and an area that gets only a passing nod in my apprenticeship, but that's the government for you. . .always trying to find a shortcut and save a buck in a critical area so that the saved money can go into some politicians pet bill or better yet into his pocket. . .sorry for the mini-rant.

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                • #38
                  A timely thread for me because I was just trying to figure a way to improve the storage of my files. I had bought a set of cheapish ones whilst in a pinch at work and never realised how much extra work was needed to remove material using a budget file. Last year I inherited a box full of old files and the quality of them is far and away better - I just want to get them out of that box so I can keep them that way!

                  I clean mine using a full-size wire brush with brass bristles. It's labelled 'scratch brush' if anyone wants to do a search for one..
                  Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

                  Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
                  Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
                  Monarch 10EE 1942

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by dian
                    what i always wondered, but never found out, is how flat a file really is.
                    Well I don't know exactly how flat they are, but I do know that files aren't flat. . .they are slightly convex in profile.

                    The slightly convex shape is what allows the file to create a flat surface. . .this is because the file flexes slightly when pressure is applied to it during the filing process. If the file were flat in it's natural at rest state then it would become concave when pressure is applied and the edges of the file would remove material while the middle of the file would not come into contact with the work. . .resulting in a convex profile of the workpiece.

                    Just learned that today. . .I'm brushing up on my file knowledge in preparation for my filing class tomorrow.

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                    • #40
                      Ajoe,, your'e fortunate to be able to go to a filing course!!

                      Such basic info just isn,t available to many and is such an important first learning need.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by sasquatch
                        Ajoe,, your'e fortunate to be able to go to a filing course!!

                        Such basic info just isn,t available to many and is such an important first learning need.
                        I agree 100% on both counts!

                        I think this is one of the first areas that should receive attention in an apprenticeship. . .in my own apprenticeship (I'm in my second year right now) I wasn't allowed to do anything until I learned how to properly grind my own HSS cutting tools (RH/LH roughing, RH/LH finishing, threading, and chamfering cutters), but I had to grind them out of keystock before I was allowed to use HSS. . .fortunately I had done this before and have pretty good hand/eye coordination and I was finished in a couple of days, one of my fellow apprentii (???) had no previous experience and it took him several weeks to finally figure it out!!!

                        The gentleman responsible for our education during our first year of our apprenticeship used to do an entire expose on hand-filing, but due to the lack of interest of the in-coming apprentii (mainly because of a poor selection by upper management which could be due to a small pool to choose from) he stopped giving it. . .he's really happy to see the 4 of us taking this class on our own time as well as the blacksmithing and knifemaking classes we are attending.

                        I will be happy to share any additional knowledge I gain!

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                        • #42
                          Here's one of the techniques I learned in my filing class on Monday. . .

                          Creating A Radiused Edge Using A Hand File

                          The first step is to file 45* angle on the edge to be radiused, next break that 45* angle by filing an ~22.5* angle on both edges of the 45*. Now you are ready to create the radius.

                          Ron said that he sees many mechanics and even veteran toolmakers going about this incorrectly. . .he sees most people go about this by pushing the file away from them and going from the near side of the work up and over the top of the edge. . .the correct way to do this is to start with the file on the top of the work, push the file away from you while rolling the file down over the edge and onto the near side of the work. . .

                          . . .by using this method we were all able to create 1/4" radii on workpieces in about 2 minutes with finishes that were much better than what you would get using a corner rounding cutter in a mill, were spot on checking them against a radius gauge, and they were achieved much quicker than having to set the work up in a mill!

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