Drilling and Tapping Up


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Established Member
18 Feb 2011
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Switzerland, near Basel
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!


Established Member
6 Jul 2015
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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.

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