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Rich ,

 

I guess I opened up an interesting area...  I'll add to the confusion on oil on files...  How about files used only for wood ?  Myself I keep my files in a lined drawer that's dry and put a light coat of WD on them after use and wipe of excess..  I Googled file care and some say dry and some say oil..

 

Thanx for posting

Jim

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I'm sure that was an interesting discussion and am looking forward to the responses
here.
I have and use files in my machine shop on a daily basis that were my fathers from his
days as a machinist. They have allways been stored dry in a toolbox drawer and not just
thrown on top of one another.
If they seem to lose their "edge" a good scrubbing in the parts tank with a file card then
off to the blast cabinet. After a good sand blast it will cut as good as any new file. Then
back to the drawer dry.

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I use lard and cooking oil on all of my saws, files, drills, tools. To protect and to aid the cutting and finish work. I use lard as a finish for the wood work I do in conjunction with the metal work. I use cooking oil from our little deep fryer. Family gets together and cooks a large back. When oil starts to add flavor to the food it gets recycled into my garage for baked on finishes, quenching, lubricating punches, drills, saws, plaines, and protecting my tools from rust.


Oh and I use beeswax on my jewelers saw blades.

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My little files are in a brass spitoon filled with oily sand.  They're the ones most prone to rusting, I've found, so it makes for an easy way to organize and oil all in one.  The big files are in a lined drawer and are generally coated in whatever gunk I last worked on.

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I grit my teeth every time I see someone dragging a file back across the work. I guess some people feel a file cuts both ways... I also grit my teeth when I see someone working with a file with no handle, especially if it's on a machine like a lathe. I'll admit not all my files have handles, but the vast majority of them do, and given a choice, I'll grab a handled file over a non handled one in the box. If I know I'm going to be doing a fair amount of work with a nonhandled file, or I'm going to use it on the lathe, I'll take the time to knock off a handle from another file if I'm out of new handles in the box. Buddy of mine uses old golf balls for handles, but I don't do golf and I gave away all the ones I got from a customer to a friend of mine without thinking because he plays golf.

 

Most of my files are dry. I do use wax when working with alum that wants to clog the teeth. A file card doesn't always work well cleaning out really gummed up alum.

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I never really liked files. They seemed like an antiquated finishing tool to me. Don't ask me why, maybe I thought electric and air tools could to better faster work than files. Anyway, that was just the way it was and before I learned their value in blade work, my files were stored in and old metal box that once held a socket set. Small files were kept in the tapered tray designated for standard sockets while the larger files were kept in the large main area of the box. Neat, huh? Even had a label on the end of the box that said "Files". Now, I didn't throw the files in the box carelessly, but I wasn't that careful either. Never crossed my mind the stacking and laying face to face, edge to face, etc., could be harmful. I had quite a large collection of files but they were all used and many quite old (Many, my dad's) I just assumed that was why I had to use a little more force than a new one I had just bought.  (Much of my reason for not caring much for files, I suspect.)

Then, recently, I started reading posts about file care and and their wide use in blade work and it opened my eyes. I have recently bought a few more new files, but they don't go in the box. I don't have an empty drawer to devote to single layers of files yet but I have isolated some bench top near my vise where I have laid out a piece of leather and new files reside there until I can justify the purchase of a new tool chest with a drawer I can devote to my new respect for files

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I love files. I tend to love anything low tech. If it gets the job done, the simpler the better for me. I use soapstone to keep the teeth clean. Store them dry. I try to not store one one top of another. Believe it or not, you can aquire as flat a surface with a file as with a mill. I like things simple. The simpler the better for me. I have the ability to use any type of machining capabilities, but for some reason, love simplicity.

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Dodge, 

 

As for the obvious that Donnie just pointed out.

 

The old file keeps working after the electric file runs out of power and grinding wheels.

Hard to turn a grinder into a knife after its dead.

Harder still to turn a burnt up grinding disc into a knife. 

 

I thought I was the smart guy with golf ball handles.

Real and fake wine corks work excellent as handles on the smaller, delicate files.

 

I'm abusive (mostly to clutter) and rarely oil unless I happen to file something that's oily.

It gathers filings when they should be falling away. 

My smallest files get the best care with their own resting spot either in a hole in a block of

wood or stuck to a chef's knife magnet block. The rest are protected in varying degrees

until the big boys that get scattered around like clubs. They have 4 inch ends from old

hammer handles burnt onto the tang. 

 

An acid etch and a file card can make your old file feel younger. 

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For flat files, I have seen more than one file cleaned dried and then placed and wrapped in an lightly oiled cloth.

 

 

For the larger files you can use a piece of small fire hose as a sleeve to hold the file. Cut to length.

For the round chain saw or rat tail files I use gas line or other rubber hose cut to length.

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ALL of my files have handles (even needle files get put into a handle before use). I've seen what happens when you slip with a bare file and I am not going to do that one!    DSW says he grits his teeth when he sees unhandled filing or the draggin of a file backwards. I don't grit my teeth, it is an automatic reflex to shout at them now!  

 

My workshop has cupboards built into the studwork of the building, basically a cupboard that is 3" deep and 18-20" wide with waterproof membrane and 6mm ply on the inside and a 6mm ply door. I've got rows of nails to hang my files from so they don't touch each other. Once in a while I spray the whole lot with either oil or wax dissolved in white spirit. They still rust if I don't use them often, but then EVERYTHING here rusts!

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My shop is all steel construction in the old half and there is a C channel at the 5' mark to screw the wall sheets to.  On the inside I mount garden rake heads to it so it's up above the height of the workbenches, but and easy reach.  I use every other slot and the rack tines hold the golf balls well.  I do have the very bad habit of tapping the side of the file on a hard surface on a regular basis.

 

When I moved I took a roll of heavy duty shop paper towels and wrapped each file individually in one and stacked them in a steel box.   My scrap files just get tossed into  drawers, sorted by Black Diamond, cast steel and misc

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Never heard of oiling a file.  Like Wroughton, I'd think they'd gather more filings and junk that way.  Waxing sounds like a pretty good idea - might try it.  I've used chalk to keep the teeth clear.  It works ok, but I seem to have about the same results if I don't chalk, and make sure I use a file card every 3-4 strokes.

 

Depending on the 'grade' of work I did with them, they got dealt with different:

 

1)  New/near-new files are used pretty much for finish/fine work, carded/brushed thoroughly, wrapped in wax paper, put back in their boxes and stored in a special drawer.  Occasional sacrifices of fruit, farm animals, or small, unsupervised children are occasionally offered up to keep them happy.

 

2)  General use files - get brushed/carded, and stored flat in a drawer in a single layer.

3)  Dead/near dead files - are used to knock the high spots off of grinding/sanding belts.  These I keep around until I have the teeth worn off them, then they go into the 'becoming something else someday' pile.

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A very good rust preventative/inhibitor is camphor.  It can be bought in some drugstores or on ebay.  Normally comes in a small block about 1" to 2" square and about 1/4" to 1/2" thick.  Just place a small block of camphor in a tool drawer or other enclosed space and the fumes will coat the tool with a microscopic layer that will inhibit rust formation.  For tools in the open, a cover of some sort to keep the fumes contained is usually used.

 

Google "camphor rust inhibitor" or "camphor rust preventative".  Camphor is one of the main ingredients in Mentolatum chest rub, so it's safe to be around.  From what I've read, the amount of camphor in chest rubs is too minute to effectively work as a rust inhibitor

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I've never tried using a file with oil.  I have used chalk and my experience is similar to Private Entrance.  The Chalk doesn't seem to kick out the pulp better than just carding.

 

It's dry where I live so corrosion isn't really a concern but dust is.  It seems like dusty grit finds it's way into everything.  I've found that cleaning the dust off first has kept sharp things cutting longer across the board.

 

 I'll completely agree with Thomas about rubber being abrasive.  Spending any amount of time trying to cut rubber with precision will reveal what a devil that stuff is.

 

I'd also add that a brand new file can really change your opinion of how quickly they work.  I started off with some ancient abused and dinged up files. The difference is absolutely amazing.

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I like oil as I never get a pin and it provides such a nicer surface.  I do wipe my fingers across the teeth to unclog them or using a brush I brush them as they do collect shavings from time to time.  I store some of my needle files in corrugated cardboard as it keeps them separate and every other void is the perfect size and distance apart.  For my larger files I use a tool roll made out of old recycled work jeans.  I have them in it in such a way as to always have a layer or two of fabric between them any any of the other files when rolled up.  I haven't been as careful with some of my files mainly because they are nearing the end of their useful life and are already pretty dull.  I may try acid sharpening them but I have made a file chisel to make my own and a rasp punch for rasps as well.  Now I can make any sort of weard file I may need. :D  

There may not be any evidence that hot filing/rasping was done but it still is a good way to use the massive rasp/files that ferriers won't use as they are to dull for them.  When you still have a bit of clean up it can be much easier to get their closely with that and then only use the other files to touch up when forging it closer isn't advisable.  Scale is also quite abrasive as the japanese have been known to use it in their polishing so you want your old to dull to care about files to remove the scale before your good files go to work on clean steel.  

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After replying last night and now after reading what others have posted I decided to
dig out some of my old machinist text books from years ago to reference exactly what
is recommended.
Everyone has their own way that works well for there situation..............anyway here's
what it reads.

post-48468-0-79119200-1386894843_thumb.j

post-48468-0-26052300-1386894891_thumb.j

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I have lots of storage via sheets of pegboard.

I have several peg hooks that were made for screwdrivers- my files fit right into those and the handles prevent the files from falling through.

Easy to find the one I am after and easy to put back away.

 

GOOD THREAD!

 

Dave

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