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The Newbies Arena New to Knife Making? Here's all the help you need ...

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  #1  
Old 06-01-2017, 05:30 PM
Sawdusthappy Sawdusthappy is offline
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All files created equal?

I have a set of files I use for wood, are these ok to use on metal as well? Or do I need files that are specifically made for metal?

Also the files I have are home depot specials. Or should I step up and get some quality files? If so, any suggestions?

Thanks,
Ed
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  #2  
Old 06-01-2017, 05:52 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Simple, what is the name of the file maker and the file? Also are they fine like a smooth bastard file or are they rasp like? A fine mill file is good for metals, but a rough file may or may not be depending on the maker. Some Nicholson files in the rough to fine mill range are for metal, also a vixen file is for hogging metal. It is a field onto itself. Go to Ace Hardware the the workers usually know more than the big stores. I have a vixen file or what some would call a rasp, but it is for metal including mild steel, not wood but it will work on wood.


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Last edited by jimmontg; 06-01-2017 at 05:56 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-01-2017, 06:31 PM
Sawdusthappy Sawdusthappy is offline
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Thanks for the tip! I am honestly not sure of the file types other than the shape. I will hit Ace hardware and ask for some nicholson files!
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  #4  
Old 06-02-2017, 05:11 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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They make different style/shape/cut files for certain reasons. It's best to read up a little on application of the diff types. Learn about using a File Card and use it regular. The only place I've seen really good info on selection and use of diff files was an old issue of Lapidary Journal. I'm sure there are other sources, just have to do a little googling. There also might be a "Sticky" somewhere here on KNF so you might try the "Search" feature.
I recommend never mixing files I use for wood with files used for metal, I also never mix soft metal files - brass, nickel, copper, etc. with files I use for steel. Keep you files separated so they don't bang into each other and mark use with different color paints on tangs. Handles make big diff in how well you can use a file. I save old golf balls and drill a small hole 3/4's way through then tap on to the tang.
Note: Quality files will cost more than junk files....just like any tool.


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  #5  
Old 06-02-2017, 07:13 AM
Win3855 Win3855 is online now
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http://www.nicholsontool.com/Magento...iling-2014.pdf
This has a little info that might help.
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  #6  
Old 06-02-2017, 05:27 PM
Sawdusthappy Sawdusthappy is offline
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Thanks for the tip! I will look into some nicholson files and be sure to mark them for hard metal use only. I do not plan to add softer metals until later
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  #7  
Old 06-06-2017, 07:53 PM
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The Nicholson files used to be top of the market!

However since they moved the manufacturing to Mexico, well those marked made in Mexico are crap!

Supposedly the ones marked made in Brazil are supposed to be better but haven't got my hands on one yet to try it!!


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  #8  
Old 06-06-2017, 08:58 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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I have some Made In Brazil files and they do not hold up as long as the old Nicholsons did. I have 40 year old Nicholsons I still use from the 70s. I doubt I'll make a knife out of made outside the US ever again unless maybe a Grobet. They are totally mystery steel and I doubt much more than 1080, so just buy 1080.


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  #9  
Old 06-07-2017, 06:29 AM
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Dunno, I kind of like playing around with the old worn out mystery files. Some are very surprising. One can do the simple snap-test to see if it is solid or casehardened. That tells you a little. Then do a spark test comparison with some know - hardened - 1095, 1084, and W1/W2. Each has it's own spark pattern and color combination. You can get reasonably close to an educated guess as to steel. Then test the blade to see if it performs as desired.
Agree, lot of junk out there, but takes only a few minutes to find out if it's anything close to bladeworthy. Then you can do thermal cycling with a modicum of confidence. Won't know for sure with out lab analysis.

I like the challenge of repurposing steels when I have the time to experiment and test. Way my shop is setup it is no big deal time/effort wise as I am continuously back and forth from forge to grinder, etc. Not everybody's cup of tea, but works ok for me.

I have made some very unusual discoveries over the years with different files. One, no markings, was a very old handcut file. I think I read somewhere that "modern man" started machine cutting them around 1800. This particular file was fabricated from laminated steels....yeah, what everybody calls damascus these days. At first I thought it was carbide banding or something akin, but microscopic inspection proved it was laminated layers. No, didn't get as hard as 1095 or W2, but was more like 1070. Still it was a very interesting piece of work and made a beautiful period piece. The laminations were very distinct.


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  #10  
Old 06-07-2017, 06:42 AM
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Ed Caffrey Ed Caffrey is offline
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"Good" files are hard to come by these days. The name of the game is to produce them as cheaply as possible, and in the process the quality has really gone downhill.

When it comes to types of files, there are a ton of options. Generally files that are specifically made for wood tend to be far below the quality line for using on metal.

Something I've been doing is buying the Husky brand files set from Home Depot.... http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-Mul...PCFS/206313272

Here's the thing.... this set of files is marked "Guaranteed Forever".... I purchased two sets, and so far have worn out, returned, and been given a total of 11 replacement sets. I just keep the packaging and the receipt, and when they wear out, take them to the return counter, walk back to the tool section, and grab two new sets.....and out the door I go. So far they've not said a word...just trade them out and go.


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  #11  
Old 06-07-2017, 09:37 AM
Sawdusthappy Sawdusthappy is offline
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That is crazy that you can trade them in like that. But hey, whatever works!
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  #12  
Old 06-07-2017, 05:28 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Guaranteed forever? The only files that last practically forever are good diamond files. That is dumb for Husky to do, but I guess they figure most people won't use them enough and/or keep the receipt for a file.
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  #13  
Old 06-07-2017, 06:55 PM
WNC Goater WNC Goater is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawdusthappy View Post
That is crazy that you can trade them in like that. But hey, whatever works!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmontg View Post
Guaranteed forever? The only files that last practically forever are good diamond files. That is dumb for Husky to do, but I guess they figure most people won't use them enough and/or keep the receipt for a file.
The old Sears Craftsman tools used to be like that. You break a Craftsman tool for any reason, even from misuse and they would replace at no charge, no questions asked. Don't know if they still do since they became little more than mall stores a few decades back and since they are about bankrupt. Come to think of it, I think they are bankrupt.


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  #14  
Old 06-08-2017, 11:12 AM
samuraistuart samuraistuart is offline
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I used to cut bevels with files before buying the grinder, and got schooled up right quick-like on what files worked and which didn't. As already mentioned, Nicholson USA made files are great....available only as NOS now. The Mexico Nicholson's are meh. The Brazil Nicholson's are a step above meh.

I wanted the most aggressive file I could fine for rapid steel removal, and found the Pferd Chipbreaker. that thing is a beast. 14" of angry shark teeth that chewed metal like nothing. Any file made by Pferd is going to be of very high quality. Never used Grobet, I've heard they are excellent as well.

Then there are Simonds brand files. These are excellent. Maybe not quite the quality of Pferd/Grobet, but WELL worth the money. They have a file called the Multi Kut....very good at rapid material removal, tho not quite as aggressive as the Pferd Chipbreaker.

Iwasaki is a Japanese brand. Pretty pricey, never used them, probably very good.

Then there are the Lowe's brand Kobalt files. Stay away from them. I don't think I've ever seen one (I look at them in the packages about every trip in the store) straight, or that didn't have a compound bend in them. I had bought a few early on, and was highly disappointed not only in the lack of straightness, but the steel and/or heat treat was no bueno. Also, many of them had the tooth pattern totally skewed and/or not the same consistent height.

Never did try the Husky's. My recommendation for excellent files would be Pferd, then Simonds, then NOS Nicholson. Aldo Bruno (New Jersey Steel Baron) has a few Black Diamond files in stock as well. These are 72HRC with the black coating. Probably a very good file.
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  #15  
Old 06-08-2017, 12:52 PM
Sawdusthappy Sawdusthappy is offline
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Thanks for the tips! I will start looking at Pferd files! I have bought kobalts and other generics, and they do ok at wood. But for working with metal I am looking to get a set I can keep for years!
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