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I Forge Iron

Hand files - grit file recommendation?


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I do most of my stock removal with a set of 12 inch half round steel files (good quality ones - none of the case hardened cheap stuff) . They're not lasting well since I started on ferrous - the smooth is a bit smoother than I'd like after five pieces.  

I'm thinking I should get some grit files but I've not found they last well (because I bought cheap ones), any suggestions for a good set? 

 

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They've not been crusted in scale - cleaned before annealing but then I set to with the file, maybe I should wire brush first. Getting a couple of grit files would let me file in both directions though :)

 

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Are you carding them frequently? Are you lifting them or letting them skate on the back stroke? And YES remove scale and dirt before you start filing it dulls the teeth quickly.

Think of your file as what it is, a saw it has a Really wide kerf but it's a saw none the less. Files work and last best if you follow the same general rules as you should using a saw. 

We were taught to tap them vertically on the handle every 3 strokes or so, tap the like you're tightening the handle. Yes? This knocks cuttings out of the teeth and retains performance. If you go too long between bumps the cuttings can begin to bind between the teeth and will require carding to clear them. 

I don't hand file to finish so my file cards are long dead but I know where to get fresh ones if I need. 

Were I hand filing blades I'd have around 3 files per TPI step and a couple file cards for each cut of file. 

Yeah, 60s jr and high school industrial education classes. Filing was metal shop 1 and included book work w/tests, bench work w/tests and a final test. The final was a 1" cube and the instructor used calipers to proof the faces were within tolerance. I think everybody made a die and rounded the corners and edges after it was graded.

End ramble.:rolleyes:

Frosty The Lucky.

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What brand of files did you get, and did you get machinist files made for metal? Files made for wood are a lesser grade of steel because wood and hooves are not as hard. This was told to me by the materials guy at Nicholson.

Chalking the teeth helps to prevent chip sticking. Do you know how to draw file?  And curious why you chose half round?

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They're a LOT harder to keep from plugging with cuttings than files too. 

I'm afraid it's a learned skill however you go about it, Japanese sen and stones, files, belt grinder, whatever. YOU have to be able to do the work. Don't worry, keep at it and the skills will come and we'll be here cheering you on. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Working through the replies - I've been carding (even if I didn't know the name), I didnt know about picking through the teeth with something hard - that's made a difference. I was taught proper filing action as a child to stop me ruining my grandfather's stuff! 

Half rounds - I just like them, I have others but it's my first choice I'm filing freehand most of the time and like the versatility. The brand I can't remember - small relatively local engineering firm,( that stocked saw sets last time I looked! ) they're meant for metal. Definitely going to try the chalk. 

Hot filing I'll have to give a try - I know I should reserve a file specifically for it. I must start saving my filings as well - they'll come in handy one day. 

Thanks everyone 

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Good Morning,

Rub the file with Chalk (like the teachers use in school) or Soapstone. Doing this hinders a build-up between the file teeth (better when using a fine Mill Bastard). A trick I learned for picking junk from between the teeth is use a rifle cartridge. I pinch the open end in a vice and put the primer end in a handle or a golf ball. When you pick the junk out, it automatically sharpens itself. It is hard enough to work and soft enough to not harm the File.

Neil

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Scalebar,

In my opinion, hot rasping is a bit of a different animal than normal filing.   First off, the hot metal needs to be held in a vice, which means you're rapidly losing heat, unless the hot end is thick enough to support itself out from the jaws. I have found it's best to use the metal cutting side of a farriers rasp for hot rasping.  Technique is a bit different here too as I try for more of a skipping hit, than a set-push-lift-retract routine.  This is because the hot metal tends to grab the teeth of the file.  That, and you've gotta hustle while the work is hot.

I have used coarse "normal" files for hot rasping, but since the goal is speedy stock removal, it's much more efficient to use the farrier's rasp which is wider, and longer than most average files.  Plus, I find the width of the farrier's rasp to be advantageous for maintaining flat planar cuts. 

Be advised that the first few licks will cut a whole lot easier than the next couple, and so on.  This isn't the best choice for fine stock removal as you're likely losing material to scale with each heat.

Finally, give some thought to how you clamp and support the stock for hot rasping.  A lot of work won't allow a secure supportive hold, without blocking access to the spot you're trying to rasp.  

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I do a lot of hot filing. I too use a farriers rasp. A slight correction, both sides of a farriers rasp are meant for horse hoof, not metal. When I was a farrier I had two farriers rasps, a dead one and a live one. The live one was for hoof, the dead was for metal or whatever. 

I start my hot rasping with the fine side. Then turn it over and use the coarse side. I use all my files the same way. A hot rasp is a great way to dome the struck end of your hand tools. I start with the fine side. This prevents the coarse side from grabbing, then reverse to hog it out. Then back to the fine side to clean it up. One heat does it. The filing is done with a rocking stroke. Start with rasp tip down on the far side, then rock it parallel as you come towards the top, then tip up/handle down as you rasp the near side. This is all one stroke.

There's no better teacher for how to file in this day and age than by being a farrier. 8 horses or so a day, 4 feet per horse and all are brought  to level plus setting two angles with a farriers rasp. Once upon a time Tom Joyce made a comment to me. " You were a farrier, huh? Must be pretty good with a file!" It took me a bit to realize the power of that statement. Once I realized it's meaning, I took it to heart and used that base knowledge to expand my filing. There's generally a "touch of the file" in all my work 

My go to files are two half round bastard files. One is half inch. The other is one inch. They last a long time. I prolly don't take as good of care of them whilst working, but in-between use they all have a home that keeps the cutting surfaces from touching iron. Throwing them on a table or in a drawer just doesn't cut it, so to speak. All my files have a safe edge. Usually a narrow edge. This means the safe edge has no teeth, so it removes no metal whilst the perpendicular edge cuts.

 

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