Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, CHJ, Noel, Charley

I've missed all this, sorry (too much to do on my pedal car). My articles (VERY long) are both stickies right at the top of this Metal Working section. One's called "Files , blah, blah" (I forget exactly, sorry!) and the other "Hack Saws, blah blah"!

But in short just buy an ordinary 12 inch hack saw frame and a packet of bi-metal 24 TPI blades by a known manufacturer ("Eclipse", "Starrett", "Sandvik/Bahco", are the best names - don't bother with cheapo no name blades). As said 24 TPI will cover general work, 18 TPI for thicker work, 32 TPI for thin sheet. Above article shows how to identify bi-metal blades but these days you'll find little else unless searching hard I think. Small outlay for a set of tools that will cover most things.

+1 for "removing case hardening" - just heat until red then wait until you can touch it again. That's it.

Some great help been offered by everyone so far, hope the above helps too.
By disco_monkey79
I had to drill out some hardened steel bolts (seized suspension components on an old truck). HSS wouldn't touch it. but cobalt bits sailed through.

I've bought both decent branded ones, and the cheap ones from Toolstation, and been happy with both.
By Lonsdale73
Read through both of AES' comprehensive posts, brain now well and truly fried.

Draft shopping list so far:

1 x engineering vice

1 x 12" Hacksaw

1 x Selection of each blade mentioned

1 x Drawer full of quality files in flat, half round, round, triangular and special ali-file

1 x Cutting Compound

1 x Stash of aluminium from which to cut two t-shaped nuts

Should maybe have just bought Incra versions and paid the postage!
Sorry about brain fry Lonsdale 73!

Yup, a lot of info, but take it easy, LOTS of practice, and you can't go far wrong (if those apprentice teachers could knock it into me, then anyone can do it)!

Have fun (as always)
By Lonsdale73
AES wrote:Sorry about brain fry Lonsdale 73!

Yup, a lot of info, but take it easy, LOTS of practice, and you can't go far wrong (if those apprentice teachers could knock it into me, then anyone can do it)!

Have fun (as always)

You made it a lot more interesting than my old metalwork teacher. Mr Shillito was his name and even he didn't sound all that interested in the subject. Still, I suppose years and years of teaching hundreds upon hundreds of snotty nosed, useless kids like me would have that affect, He also had the unusal habit of hissing out any word that ended with an "s" and then he'd repeat it. Eleven years of age and after one brief, equally disinterested demo, they let us lose with the braising torch. I recall it had two levers for mixing gas and air, thing used to feel it had a life of it's own? And we braised against a sheet of asbestos! One term of that was more than enough for me.

The woodwork studio was right next dor and they really were night and day. Woodwork area looked all bright and shiny and new and had a nice woody smell to it whereas was as dark as hell, everything was black and there was always a greasy, oily aroma mixed in with the smell of burnt children and their excrement, courtesy of that damned braising torch!
Glad it was interesting, even if lots in it.

You're dead right, IME, the quality (or otherwise)of the teacher/s goes a long way to change the students' attitudes to any subject (similar thing happened to me in maths class until I changed schools, and therefore teacher - a WORLD of difference).

And starting my apprenticeship I was really interested (though all that "tosh" about files & hack saws was only the beginning of a pathway leading - eventually! - to playing about with aeroplanes, which was what I was really interested in).

But as said, understand the metal working basics, practice some, and you'll get there fine, I'm sure.

It's really not hard if you want to get there, and it's a useful skill to have - as I said in one of my pieces, a "professional" I saw at our place "hack sawing" would not only have made my old apprentice teacher cry, he (the "profi") was using much too much energy to produce an, at best, indifferent result. Lack of basic training.

Edit for P.S. Re your shopping list:

Vice? Yes definitely. Hack saw blades? Only 24 TPI are needed unless you plan to cut LOTS of thick stuff (10 mm and up - then 18 TPI, or even 14 TPI IF you can find 'em); and 32 TPI only if doing a lot of thin sheet - say 2 mm & less). "Drawer full of files"? If buying new you'll need to have a full wallet these days my friend - OR wait for the bay and car boot sales. Suggest you go back to the article and select the lengths and cuts you want for what you'll be doing. A small triangular (for starting saw cuts) plus 2 or 3 hand files to suit your work, then later on add, perhaps, a set of needle or warding files. That selection should see you right for most work. An Ali file (or 2) is great, but a decent 10 inch turnip will remove metal almost as well - IF you keep it unclogged.

I've collected my files "stable" over at least 20+ years and inherited some from my Dad when he died (in the 70s), so treated carefully they wont wear out unless you do a LOT of work. Just add in one's & two's as the needs arise. AND please, do NOT let them bang together - ever!
By TFrench
Sorry, I just assumed a vice and hacksaw were something in everyone's shed arsenal! :D A decent vice is handy - if you have a good wood bench vice you can mount the engineering one to a block of wood and grab it in the wood vice - saves on bench space if you're short. A decent bahco hacksaw is £13 at screwfix, get a couple of blades and you're away. For a very long time I used a forge steel set (think they're magnusson now at screwfix) and they were fine. They do a set with all the standard shapes and a file card for cleaning them.