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Repurposing a blunt file?

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clogs

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nice one MrT.....
they'll wonder wot it woz used for in a 100 yers.....hahaha...
be good to see the experts explain that on Bargain Hunt......hahaha...
 

AES

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Very interesting info johnbaz, AND from you too AndyT. I'm not into knives at all personally, but the other info was eye-opening. And those old-ish catalogue pix, not to mention the old "DIY mag" articles really all are new info to me.

👍 to both of you. "You learn something new every day". (NOT a bad thing at all in my case!). :)
 

clogs

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on the subject of files n Rasps....
there is a company in France that still make rasps by hand and they are world class.....
I think this is them....saw a video of them making them ...very interesting.....

it's an interesting world out there.....!!!!
 

shed9

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I have a couple of the Auriou rasps, a combination and a cabinet makers rasp.

Liogier is also another option for hand cut rasps. The next batch I get will come form them. I emailed for a quote for a number of their sapphire rasps and got direct response from Noel Liogier. That's the difference between batched tools and hand made, you get to speak to the maker direct.

 

J-G

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only retired or redundant!

aidan
Well I'm neither really (though I suppose I ought to be) and I did my share of scraping bearings in and scraping bed-ways and even clutch gluts, as an apprentice back in the 50's / 60's. In keeping with the theme of the thread, the only scraper I now own is a re-purposed three-square file about 4" long that I use to de-burr some drilled holes.
 

Robbo3

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AES
Firstly, only Americans try to get from square to round with a scraper. :devilish: Most turners will use the correct tool, a spindle roughing gouge. A skew chisel can also be used but in both cases the wood is being cut not scraped.
My thoughts on files snapping when used as scrapers is probably because they are being used too far over the tool rest. If the overhang is restricted the forces are channelled where they need to go, ie through the tool rest.

As to the sharpened files, I haven't got them back yet.
Boggs state that sharpening services ...
"may feature the advantages of our ABRASIVE BLAST LIQUID HONING PROCESS to sharpen files and other small tooth tools as seen in American Machinist, Anvil's Ring and many other industry publications. Using steam, we relief-grind with abrasive blasting, taking material from the back edge of the tool to reform and sharpen the edge. Our process will give you the sharpest edge possible."
 

Adam Pinson

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I've made both wood turning skews and scrapers from files with no problems, i know some folk say they'll explode, or shatter and that they're too brittle but i've never had that happen.
 

AES

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@ Robbo 3: OK, interesting (re the sharpening process), thanks. Re the spindle roughing gouge, as said before, I know nothing about wood turning, so everything I said about "bump, bump, bump", etc, etc, was purely my guesswork.

I really would be interested to hear when you get those files back though (sorry, from your previous post I thought they'd already arrived).
 

peter-harrison

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for what it’s worth, I have several scrapers made from old files. I have used them for years with no problems. I have not been particularly careful with them. However, I always wear eye protection whenever I use the lathe, whichever too, I’m using
 

MusicMan

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The people who can scrape like that (as you say, johnbaz, usually old men) are called Hands. Great name! Yes, old files are good for scrapers, but not an easy skill to master. I keep a few for little repairs but I couldn't scrape a whole lathe bed.
 

Worthtrying

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There are various bits of info about the interweb about how to chemically sharpen metal files. As I recall, you dip them in some kind of weak acid for a length of time - until the acid eats enough metal from each blunt serration such that it again comes to a point.

Eshmiel
There's a long tradition of making tools from old files. Here's one that I own - I'm not skilful enough with metal to have made it, but I can confirm that it works.
View attachment 91950

View attachment 91951
I'm sceptical wether the acid etch process for sharpening files is either effective or financially viable, but in either case the result won't be as good as a newly cut file. Drawing from over fifty years experience in engineering manufacturing, I know there are two main factors which will affect a files cutting ability:
1. Misuse ie. trying to file material which is as hard or harder than the file itself, and or, allowing the teeth to become permanently clogged.
2. Corrosion - atmospheric or galvanic. Leave a file out in the rain or immersed in a bucket of water for a few weeks and it will be next to useless. The rusting process that transforms iron into iron oxide will affect all the surface, in particular the tips of the teeth!
As I'm now a keen woodturner, I've made many scrapers, traditional grind and negative rake, and also skew chisels from old files. These take a keen edge when ground correctly, though you do have to avoid overheating and drawing the temper when sharpening. Admittedly, a Robert Sorby M42 HSS chisel will resist tempering and keep sharp longer between grinds than the High Carbon Steel of a repurposed chisel but won't take so keen an edge. In most cases also, a file will need to be tempered to increase toughness & reduce brittleness , the downside being that as the hardness is reduced, so also is it's ability to take a keen edge. Having said all that, it's still well worthwhile making turning tools from repurposed files. Over the last fifteen years I've made all manner turning tools, knives, and blades this way, and have never had a 'snapper'!
 

heimlaga

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I have forged two custom scrapers for corrugated white metal bearings from worn out files. They work great.

Ordinary machinist's scrapers can easily be made from worn out flat files. Just grind away the teeth and sharpen the end correctly.

I have made skews for wood turning from worn out flat files. Of cause I tempered them a bit softer so they would not shatter. They work great.
Turning scrapers can surely be made by the same method. However I would temper them a wee bit softer than the skews.

I have made profile plane irons from worn out flat files. Annealed and ground away the teeth. Cut to shape and roughed out the profile. Hardened and tempered and then sharpened. The resulting blades are good.

Some forge scythes from worn out fies. Forge weld the steel between two layers of soft iron then forge to shape.

Some forge knives from worn out files. Again forge weld the steel between two layers of soft iron then forge to shape.

Some make woodworking chisels fromworn out files. Carving chisels not intended to be struck with a mallet can be forged in one piece but for heavier chisels they say one should forge weld the piece of file to a backing of soft iron.

The opportunities are endless.
 

disco_monkey79

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Well for my pennyworth a worn out old file is just that - fit for recycling as scrap!
The amount of hassle that others have described to make something else that probably will never be as good as a purpose made item imo seems a waste of time and resources - well Ive said it - maybe the only person with that opinion, ah well

Perhaps, but why do I bother making lumps of timber in to furniture? If I factored in the cost of my time, it's an extremely expensive hobby, and would be far cheaper to buy something (and I'm certainly no craftsman, so quality isn't the issue).

I rather like the idea of repurposing the steel from a tool I have used for 25 years, so I can continue using it for a few more, and I enjoy the process as well as the end result.

Just to be clear, I am in no way offended/upset by your post - just expressing the flip side.
 

marcros

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to wade in late to the discussion, it seems that the arguments are actually fairly aligned.

old files have a few limited uses unless you can do the necessary heat treatment to make them less hard.

There is much written for example about never using them to make turning tools, but it is a case of not using them to do so unless you heat treat correctly. This is abbreviated to "never do it" because it is dangerous and quicker than explaining to everybody who suggests it what needs to be done to make it safe.

I am 40 and when I was at school, we didn't do woodwork and metalwork. By that time, schools were teaching CDT (Craft, design and technology), with emphasis on the design rather than the making. we did occasionally use a few hand tools rarely, but they were limited to a coping saw and sanding block. We spent longer bending acrylic than much else from what I recall. My point is that working with metal and heat treating steps is unlikely to be background knowledge for most people under 40 unless they have gone on to learning about it in college or at work. YouTube and this forum have taught me more about both woodwork and metalwork (and design) than school did. Basic annealing and tempering may be second nature to some, as simple as setting up a hand plane to others, but to many it is up there with rocket science!!!
 

MikeG.

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.....I enjoy the process as well as the end result.......
Spot on, and profound. I couldn't agree more. I make furniture because I like the process. That's also why I cut joints rather than use dominoes or the like. There are some who would buy that fantasy machine which you stack wood in a hopper at the top, press a button and a completed piece of furniture pops out of the bottom. They're in it for the end result, and the means of getting it isn't critical. My enjoyment is less from the result than from the process, and such a magic machine would spoil it for me.
 

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