Thread: Draw filing
View Single Post
Old 05-18-2001, 08:20 AM
Posts: n/a
Draw filing

It's amazing how we can go through life doing things the same as we've always done never stumbling on things that would simplify what we do every day. I'm talking about knife making, of course.

While at school, I learned the simple art of draw filing (Instructor, Mike Williams). All my life, I've been using files in one way or another. You ever try to get the ricasso flat with a file and a vise? Man, what an excercise in futility! And even if you do get it fairly flat, it's all wavy and uneven. Well, draw filing is the answer to that problem. Sure, it's hard work, but very simple.

Since I discovered how to draw file, I don't need a grinder for anything but profiling. Pretty soon, I won't need no stinking grinder at all! You can get a fantastic flat grind on a blade using the most basic tools in your shop. A short length of 2X4, a 4" C-clamp, a vise and a single or double cut bastard file, or both.

Clamp the blade onto the 2X4 with the C-clamp and mount it in your vise at a comfortable angle for filing. Take your bastard file (a nice, sharp new file is best) and hold it at a 90 degree angle to your blade like you would a sen or draw knife. Now, find the angle you want for your grind and start at the tip of the blade and push in a firm, even stroke all the way to the ricasso. (Oh, first file your grind line in slightly at the ricasso for a stopping point). Keep this up until you have the grind as deep as you want it. You'll be amazed at how much control you have on the grind line across the spine. I've been fooling with draw filing for the last few days filing every knife blade in sight. It's fun!

Once you have your bevel filed in, flatten the ricasso using the same method as before using short, rapid, even strokes. In no time at all the ricasso will be flat and clean.

The best part is the finish left behind when you're done. It's about the texture of 120 grit sandpaper if you finish up with a fine toothed file. And the file doesn't get loaded up like it will in straight filing. I always hated those dreaded gouges cause by a loaded up file. If you have alot of texture you need to remove, it's best to start with a medium or coarse double cut file. Finish up with a fine toothed single cut file. You'll notice as you file the blade (fully annealed of course) that the shavings are more like steel wool instead of little tiny pieces. Long, curly shavings is an indication that you're getting the most out of your file. Once you get the hang of it you can really make the steel fly off that blade! Grinders? We don't need no stinking grinders!
Reply With Quote