Jump to content
I Forge Iron

cleaning files


Recommended Posts

After acid sharpening, files should be washed with running water, dried, and given a very light coat of light oil. To remove metal stuck in file teeth, run some brass paralel with the teeth. Anothewr file factoid, contrary to c.w., files need not be lifted from the work upon the return stroke. This advice dates back to the era when a blacksmith might make one file in a days hard labor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've read that putting clogged rusty files in acid will not only clean them but also sharpen them. Any fact there?
I know I get some dandy sharp edges when etching damascaus blades.
Thanks bruce

Degrease first.
Clean files with a file card, and chalk. Metal "pins" have to picked out.

Hitting them with acid works after a fashion but not great.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Best sharpening of file is done by sand blasting the teeth. The sand is directed to the back of the tooth at about a 15 degree angle.The sand cuts away the back and regenerates the cutting edge.

The best way I have found to test the sharpness of a file is to run your finger across the face of the file along the direction of the teeth. Each tooth should leave a light very small cut.

I also take except to not lifting the file after each stroke. Dragging a file backwards is essentially the same as not allow the tool on a shaper to lift on the return stroke. It rolls the cutting edge over burnishing the teeth and drags particles over the fresh surface. This dulls the file and can scratch the part finish. There is nothing quite the same as using a sharp file and draw filing a piece of metal by essentially pulling the file sideways along the part. The shearing effect of the sharp teeth form little curling chips. This right up there with making transparent wood curls with a sharp hand plane.

To the original question, the best way to clean a file that I have found is to treat the teeth with chalk before starting and to use a file card or very stiff wire brush frquently to prevent buildup from forming in the teeth. If a booger does form, I pick them out using a sharp scribe one tooth at a time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some in the Trad. Tools Group have experimented with vinegar and citric acid solution (separately of course). There have been some very useable results, especially good for cheap/free old files that aren't much use as obtained.
Andrew O'C

ps the worst trick i've seen with a file is a historical fencing boffin trying to 'wipe' nicks out of his sword, waving the file over like it was emery paper! He is an office worker after all ; )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dragging a file backwards only is bad on hard metals.
Sharpening with acid helps a dull file, but the teeth will be uneven and have a shorter life.
To remove "pinners" from a file, make a file pick from soft iron ( preferably pure iron). The best one i've used has a looped handle and a crowned, flattened blade. With edges sharpened, the end of the file pick is cut on a diagonal and sharpened to about 60*.
Don't let sharp files grate together. Clang.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find the best way to keep files clean is the preventive measure of filling the gullets with soapstone....it also keeps your soapstone shap! A quick pass with a wire brush or even on one's pantleg followed by a soapstone reload and things are good to go again.

By the way: I don't lift a file for the return stroke; just remove pressure and let it slide back over the work. I find it to make for faster going than the paced, deliberate, responsible strokes of a conservative filing technique; I have no complaints about file life.

As for the quality of finish: It all depends what you do. I'm not an anachronist or machinist; . I do fine filing on occasion but most of my filing work is finishing lands on pipe joints and cleanup work in tight spots. I don't worry too much about dragging, or chips scratching the work; I just care that it cuts.

Actually, 90% of the work I do is with a big Nicholson pipeliner, and a little trick I use is to grind a scraper blade onto the end with a small radius; like for l

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...