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Question about shaping/sanding with files


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So I've found that I use my files as much if not more than my sand paper and sanding tools. I have decent quality files but it seems like they lose their bite very quickly. I keep them clean with a wire brush. So my question, is there a better way to clean/sharpen them? And who makes really good modeling files?

 

Thanks!

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Guest EricD

I have the same problem and I look forward to hearing what other people have to say.  What I have learned is to buy quality and to take care of it.  In the case of files, put them back in their sleeves because I think of lot of the wear happens when they get knocked around.

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Using a file card will help keep the teeth clean, can keep them even cleaner by rubbing chalk on the teeth. Work it in to the bottom of the grooves, then wipe the file clean with a rag, leaving the chalk in the grooves. Always lifting the file on the back stroke, is probably a habit you already have. The chalk will keep the filings from building up and sticking at the bottom of the grooves and make the file easier to clean. There is a method using an overnight soak in acid that restores a file, never tried it myself but a friend was bragging about the results he got by doing that. He has a rotary table of mine, when I go get it I will sneak a look at his files.

jud

Edited by jud
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Thanks Jud.  I would be interested to hear what type of acid he uses.  I can get Caustic Soda pretty easy at work but thats some pretty potent stuff.  Not sure if that would be to aggresive or not.  Let me know if you find out more, and thanks again.

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Hi Ben,

 

I just checked out a really cool on-line store that sells the Grobet files. Wow, could I go berserk on that site - wish I had some money :(:D .

 

:cheers:  Danny

Wow those are super nice.  That place has a lot of interesting stuff.  It looks like they have super high quality #11 blades as well.  As much as I go through them that would be a solid investment as well.  Thanks for sharing.

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Yeah, that site seems to only deal with the BEST quality tools of all descriptions. No cheap rubbish on there :) . If you're after QUALITY tools that will last a long time then it's worth a browse - just be prepared to pay top dollar :D .

 

Everything from Needle Files ($6.50 each) to Mill Tool Sharpening Machines ($3,500). And I haven't really had a GOOD look yet :D .

 

:cheers:  Danny

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Danny you are absolutely correct about buying only the best you can afford and get them as you need them, I came across this article on files that is well worth the read. I inherited a number of 6 inch number 6 cut Grobet files from a watchmaker and they are wonderful even though they are old and a little worn.

 

Michael

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Michael, go back to the last page and look at the video about acid-etching old files to bring them back to a new state. I haven't tried it myself, and I'm damned if I know HOW it works, but it might be worth a go for your older and blunter files :D .

 

:cheers: Danny

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I found Grobet files on Amazon. They do not seem to be too expensive but I am not sure if they are the ones being discussed above. I have attached the link. Can anyone tell me if these look good?

 

http://www.amazon.com/Grobet-American-Pattern-Piece-Cross/dp/B000IE5WKQ/ref=pd_sim_sbs_hi_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1SDADCCCS7P861YEY1Y0

 

Richard

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Files are meant for metal (though I use them on wood myself sometimes). Their cutting angle is too blunt for wood (in theory). Because of this, you can blunt them on wood quite quickly.

 

And yes, I learned that chalk-trick from my father, who presumably learned it from his father, who trained as a mechanic (and later became a torpedo-mechanic) - but rarely actually use it  :(

 

The acid-treatment does two things: if it is an oxidising acid, such as sulfuric or nitric acid, it would dissolve wood; hydrochloric acid would just dissolve any small burrs on the teeth of file, leaving their main shape behind, which is the cutting shape. Of course, if the file is so worked down, that nothing of the original tooth shape is left, this treatment would be futile.

 

I don't know of any US american brands, but here in Europe Vallorbe, Grobet and Dick are the best. The first two particularly cater for watchmakers.

 

wefalck

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all

Been following this thread for a while. Have been using metal files on woodfor years and they require constant cleaning due to the teeth clogging. Ordinary woodworking rasps are generally too coarse for model making at the scales we normally work too.HOWEVEVER!! Whilst browsing the web some time back I came across a French maker of wood and stone working rasps. The firm is called LIOGIER of France. This guy makes rasps from a stitching grade of. O. Which will peel the skin of a rhino up to 15 which will tickle the feet of a butterfly. They also come stitched for either right or left handed working. I have ordered a few in recent months stitching grade 15 and they are a joy to use,you will still need to final finish with sandpaper or scraping , and clean the rasp with a good quality brass brush (which they also sell).

The products are well illustrated on the website ,just Google liogier rasps, they will even make a tool to your specific requirements if need be.BUT like everything that is good quality they are not cheap .however if looked after you'll be handing them down to your grandkids. Always buy the best you can afford,look after it ,use it for what it was intended and it will last a lifetime.

Cheers....mick

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