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Metal vs. wood files - how to tell the difference

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I have a bunch of files and am trying to figure out their intended use. 

Are some files made for wood and others for metal? 

If there is a difference, how do you identify for which use a file is intended?

 

Thank You,

Richard

 

 

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  Richard

 

 All you need to look at are the teeth.

 A rasp is very course long tooth. It is used primarily on wood.

 The finer the set of the teeth then you can start mixing materials.

   I would also tend to look at what the files are made of. If they are just HSS( or High speed steel) they tend to disintergrate with metal. I tend to go with tungsten carbide for metal. Cost more but I still have my original files when I started machining in 74.

 A good quality set will work on both but you also need to look after them.

 Brass nails are soft but over time they will slowly chip the set.

 On metal use a good lubricant on the teeth. Machine oil. On wood use a rubberized square block that lubricates and also prevents build up.

 Hope this helps

 Dave

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On metal use a good lubricant on the teeth. Machine oil.

New to me, Thanks. Will give it a try. Have been using chalk on the teeth for easier cleaning, seems to help. Bet chalk and oil makes a mess, pre-cleaning is in order.

jud

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Great advice from DaveF and don't forget to keep the teeth clean--if you've oiled them using the file on wood can gum things up.

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Ok,

I am going to paraphrase what I am hearing to see if I truly understand.

Rasps, with their longer, coarser teeth are for wood only.

 

Files with finer grain (flat grain) can be used for any material.  If used with metal, use a Lubricant.  (I think I would separate the tools keeping two sets so that I did not chance ruining wood.) These multi use files would include most files with single row of teeth, crossed rows, bastard, etc.  They could be used for wood or metal.

 

HSS is ok for wood but should use tungsten carbide for metal work.

 

Please let me know if I understand correctly.

 

Also, what about diamond impregnated files?

 

Richard

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  Richard

 Sounds like you have the gist of files.

 BTW  Cross cut tooth sets are used strictly for fast removal of material. Metal or wood

As far as diamond, I have never used them so I don't know. Maybe someone else has the answer to that.

 Dave

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Have used diamond impregnated blocks shaped like sharping stones and even several shaped like a sharping steel with good results. Never have seen diamond impregnated files. Still use my stones, if you have some good ones keep them.

jud

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Buy a file card and use it to keep the teeth clean also. My middle school shop teachers pushed this one a lot. When ever we finished using a file use the file card on it. What's a file card? Think of a hair brush with short metal fingers and lots of them.

Also remember push down on the fore stroke and take the pressure off on the return stroke. Wood or metal. Even pressure and use the full file not just part of it.

 

Later Tim

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OK, I am not a professional mechanic, but I never heard of files made from HSS (or tungsten carbide). Files are made ('cut') by driving (mechanically) a chisel into the soft steel that raises the teeth in a pre-defined pattern. The steel then is hardened and tempered (to straw colour, if I remember correctly). This process would not be possible with HSS or carbide. Perhaps the teeth could be formed by grinding, or in the case of carbide during the sintering process (still requiring grinding).

 

A rasp for wood has single, sort of triangular teeth, while metal files have ridges of teeth, rather than single teeth. Finishing files have the ridges in only one direction, while roughing files are cross-cut in two or even three directions.

 

I have used diamond-impregnated nail-files on wood long before diamond-files came onto the (modellers) market. They work well and give a good finish, but are not so easy to keep clean. I would use them only for finishing, not for removing significant quantities of material.

 

wefalck

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The impregnated files (diamond and similiar) are really only for wood.

Cleaning can be done with a wire brush.

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This has been a great education.

Thank You all for your posts.

 

I think I finally understand the difference... and how to use and care for them.

 

I appreciate everyone's responses and will continue to look in as anything new is added.

 

Richard

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There exist diamond-(honing)files for metal, but they tend to be rather expensive, as their manufacturing process and construction is different from the cheap chinese diamond-studded tools. There are also diamond-studded sharpening and honing plates for knives, cutting tools, and gravers on the market.

 

wefalck

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