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Drilling pin holes in old files.

Managed one.

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#1 Aden Cassidy

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 02:40 AM

Managed to get one done, but am having trouble with the other pin hole. Used an old broken file that I got out of the scrap bin at school before I finished last year. Have already hardened the blade and tempered it.
Bought a propane torch, this fixed the problem of the other hole but this one will not heat up enough to anneal, is very close to the blade as it the whole thing is only 200mm long. My best heat treated yet.
Have got about a third of the way through, what should I do as I don't want to have to heat treat it again.
Have scales made out of jeans I really want to try on this.

#2 Kendall P

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 05:48 AM

You might have to - easyest way would be to anneal it again and leave it insulated for 24 hours then when youve really annealed the whole thing well - drill in your pin holes after ward you can concentrate on heat treating without the worry of buggering up a temper with haveing to anneal bits of the blade again.

Just my 10 cents.

#3 2Tim215


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Posted 22 September 2012 - 06:05 AM

An old trick is to take a masonry drill bit and sharpen it - go oversize and then peen a brass in the hole and then drill to size in the brass. Masonry bits are tungsten and if sharpened correctly drill through mostly anything. What I do with steel that can air harden or are a struggle to drill is punch a hole when hot where I need them then do the brass trick - I also forge to size and do my HT process before I work the blade - never afterwards - these new belts from Pferd work hardened steel like a dream so I never have a problem with warpage or wavy edges.
Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work

#4 bigfootnampa


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Posted 22 September 2012 - 07:26 AM

You might be able to spot anneal it with a hot punch shaped rod. Taper a rod to a small tip and heat it to red hot and hold it against the steel where you want to drill. The taper gives more mass to hold heat. A very small cutting torch could also spot anneal it... like my "Little Torch".

#5 dimenickel



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Posted 22 September 2012 - 10:30 AM

get a pail of water... clamp the blade so that the knife blade is completely under water and the tang is out of the water....
- this will make sure the blade doesn't get over heated

take 2 propane torch... use both at the same time... use one to heat from one side of the tang and the other from the other side...
- bring the tang up to a black heat.. ( just just before it starts to turn a dull red ) and let it air cool..... do this several times !

it should work..

if not, buy a small carbide drill bit the appropriate size .... drill in a very secure drill press... as chatter will break these quickly

try to drill the holes prior to heat treat.... it'll save yourself some frustration


please pic's after your done !

#6 Rich Hale

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 11:34 AM

Drillin hard mystery steel is tricky. Yoiu really do not know wot that file is made from and a big thing is whether it is an air hardening steel. If it iis it will take a full annealing to make it easy to drill. That part is not hard if yoiu know how and have the tools to heat it properly and cool it properly. I have not tried the masonary bit, That would seem to be a first choice for this if yoiu have a way to sharpen it. A carbide bit will work for this if youi do it right. As mentioned above they break real easy. And they are not cheap at all. With the bit in a derill press and the blade clamped securely to a piece of mild steel yoiu can apply even pressure ,,when the bit starts to exit the bottom it will break if you do not have it clamped to a back up or if there is a gap between it and back up steel. You will not like my next thought at all. If you do not have the tools needed to follow the above. Start a new knife from a steel that is annealed and lay this one aside for the future. This will make more sense after you spend the next few days and maybe breaking a few carbide bits at near ten bucks a pop. Good luck. ( i recycled my broken carbide bits into quite a few usefull shop tools.)

#7 Jerry W.

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 12:34 PM

As Rich said, you can use a carbide bit. It will take pressure and high rpm on the drill to drill through the hardened steel. You do need to make sure that it does have a metal backing plate. If you do not, the carbide will break as soon as it starts to punch through. When we drill safes to open them, we use this method to drill through the hard plate that protects the lock. Good luck, Jerry

#8 ianinsa


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Posted 22 September 2012 - 12:37 PM

See if someone close to you has a plasma cutter- use it to burn a pinhole and then slowly enlarge the hole, then peen in a pin(brass is good) and drill the hole in that.
My $0.02 worth.
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#9 mat


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Posted 22 September 2012 - 03:56 PM

m morris makes knives (stock removal) from new files, he has 3 vids in this series,he tempers the file to the mid 50s rockwell then grinds and drills he uses a carbide bit.

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#10 Aden Cassidy

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 04:37 AM

I was going to put up pics of the reforged file before I try and finish it but can't find the bloody thing.
Must've put it down somewhere yesterday.

#11 Tran


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Posted 23 September 2012 - 07:41 AM

I have in the past, used an angle grinder to grind a slot length wise in the tang. Then drill the scales and fill the slot with epoxy or whatever. Then clamp the scales. Then place the pins in. After the epoxy hardens peen the pins or not.

#12 Woody


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Posted 23 September 2012 - 11:44 AM

hasn't anybody heard of Jigging Putty. it's a putty like substance that is used to keep heat from running to places you don't want it to go. Just pack the blade end in jigging putty and then heat the tang and let it air cool, that should soften it enough to drill unless it's an air hardening steel, then all bets are off. Hot punch it.
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