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Thread: file sharpening

  1. #1
    magneticanomaly is offline Stainless
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    Default file sharpening

    Has anyone here had files sharpened? Happy with result?

    I found two companies that do it. One replied to my inquiry with very reasonable prices, but unsettled me by saying that I do not have to sort the files because they will run them all through the process and then their inspectors will determine which ones they "had success with".

    He claimed his was an abrasive process,. "the same as used to sharpen new files"....but I thought that files were made by essentially raising burrs with a sharp chisel, no sharpening involved.

    Perhaps someone here can explain the details of the sharpening process, and/or can correct my misunderstanding of how files are made in the first place.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Gazz is offline Hot Rolled
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    I always thought they were done by a quick dip in an acid.

  3. #3
    AeroE is offline Cast Iron
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    I am completely satisfied with files I've sharpened with a 24 hour soak in vinegar.

    Clean them first. I use a .30-06 case with the neck smashed flat to push through the teeth.

    After the files come out of the vinegar, they will be covered by black scuzz that can be wiped off with a brush with very fine brass bristles. I use some random brush I've had for years, not a file card.

    Then they need to be flushed in clear water and oiled to stop new rust.

    The files with damaged teeth get no more than a good cleaning with the brush, there's no point in investing lots of time.

    Now that I'm a convert to chalk, I'll recommend that, too. Might as well keep the file teeth clear from the start than go through the trouble to fix an avoidable problem later.

    Some people use muriatic acid to do this at home, and the commercial companies also use acid, although I don't know if it's sulfuric, nitric, mixtures, or something else, and don't care because I'm not going to use the service even if it amounts to less than a dollar per file.

    Abrasive blasting doesn't sound like a process I would pay for. Hopefully they're using a mild process that cleans the file without dulling the teeth.

  4. #4
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    JRIowa is offline Diamond
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    All of the files that I tried sharpening with nitric acid are now parallels. I never had any luck with it.
    JR

  5. #5
    BMyers is offline Hot Rolled
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    I dont know how other companies do (did) it. But at Simonds, the teeth where chisel cut on a cutting machine, the files were heat treated then run through a sharpener that used steam to pass an abrasive over the teeth. At one time you could send files back to Simonds for resharpening. Machine looked like a sand blast cabinet. I know the gentleman that bought the resharpening equipment at the sale, but last I heard he wasn't resharpening any.

  6. #6
    L Vanice is offline Diamond
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    I have read that some sharpening companies use abrasive blasting and others use acid. I have not had either one done by those companies.

    I have blasted some files myself, but it was a long time ago and I don't recall the results. I have hundreds of files, so I tend not to keep track of what I might have done to them in the past.

    You may run into files that are stamped, "Recut" and have the original maker name ground off. I am not sure what they have had done to them.

    Larry

  7. #7
    greggv is offline Cast Iron
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    I've always soaked them in battery acid overnight. No problems, just stinks!

  8. #8
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    Steve in SoCal is online now Stainless
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    I have sent file to sharpen by "hydro-honing" and they come back a good as new. The company I use is Bogg's Tool and they sort the files AFTER sharpening. From vixen files to extra fine they have done great work. To make it economical you should send at least a dozen files.

    Liquid Honing in Depth

    Steve

  9. #9
    rimcanyon's Avatar
    rimcanyon is online now Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in SoCal View Post
    I have sent file to sharpen by "hydro-honing" and they come back a good as new. The company I use is Bogg's Tool and they sort the files AFTER sharpening. From vixen files to extra fine they have done great work. To make it economical you should send at least a dozen files.

    Liquid Honing in Depth

    Steve
    Steve,
    Boggs' website has no pricing. What does a dozen files cost to sharpen?

    -Dave

  10. #10
    Steve in SoCal's Avatar
    Steve in SoCal is online now Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by rimcanyon View Post
    Steve,
    Boggs' website has no pricing. What does a dozen files cost to sharpen?

    -Dave
    Hi Dave,

    It has been several years so the prices have likely changed, IIRC 1.80 per 12" file and half that for rejects, the rejects are fully serviceable. Rejects are files that have a bad section or grooves. Rotary files were 2.00 and they were really dull.

    Steve

  11. #11
    TimH is offline Hot Rolled
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    Gee I was thinking it might be better just throwing the file out and getting new. but the prices seem reasonable

  12. #12
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    knudsen is offline Stainless
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    If you throw them out. throw them my way. Good files are getting hard to find new!

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    MagneticAnomaly:

    1) I've not used Boggs service, but have heard rave reviews of them on the OLDTOOLS mailing list with one caveat: Remove _everything_ stuck in the teeth _before_ sending them in to Boggs. (Do a search in PM to learn why AeroE's brass "pusher" is by far the way to go - do NOT use filecards, they dull the file.)

    2) Muriatic Acid is HCl and has no place around steel due to the Chlorine, which chemically combines with steel and rusts it forever. Gotta use something else - battery acid is H2SO4, a much better choice. I believe a STRONG solution of Citric Acid would sharpen a file.

    3) Discarding old files is a terrible waste! There are more uses for that high-carbon steel than you can count! Scrapers, for example. Tooling. Yes, I realize it is not high speed steel, but on the other hand you must certainly have some applications where you don't need HSS.

    John Ruth

  14. #14
    Sea Farmer is offline Titanium
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    Picked up a collection of flea-market lathe bits once that contained a few form bits made from old files. They work well on brass. Haven't tried them on anything else.
    But after this thread, File cleaning question I won't be throwing away any old files!

  15. #15
    TimH is offline Hot Rolled
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthBendModel34 View Post
    MagneticAnomaly:

    1) I've not used Boggs service, but have heard rave reviews of them on the OLDTOOLS mailing list with one caveat: Remove _everything_ stuck in the teeth _before_ sending them in to Boggs. (Do a search in PM to learn why AeroE's brass "pusher" is by far the way to go - do NOT use filecards, they dull the file.)


    John Ruth
    Funny you say thatm My old Boss, a German Miester (sp?) Always made us clean files with a piece of brass. There was never a file card in the shop, nor were htey allowed. People look at me funny now when I use a piece of brass to clean a file

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sea Farmer View Post
    Picked up a collection of flea-market lathe bits once that contained a few form bits made from old files. They work well on brass. Haven't tried them on anything else.
    But after this thread, File cleaning question I won't be throwing away any old files!
    That's where my last batch of decent files came from essentially. From the perpetual yard sale for Big Brothers. I'll be trying to sharpen them soon. I think circuit board etchant would be good, and I have an abundance. I'm down to buying used now that I have two of every US made Nichole's (sp) that I can find.

    They make good wood lathe chisels too. I've used them to free hand cut acrylic for handles.

  17. #17
    Harry Boggs is offline Plastic
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    Default topari

    Boggs Tool Co. can provide you with 6mm - 25mm chucking reamers at a fraction of the normal cost. Let us know if you need American or can do with foreign. There is a significant price difference. Feel free to visit us on the web at BOGGS TOOL & FILE SHARPENING COMPANY - WELCOME or give us a call.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by knudsen View Post
    That's where my last batch of decent files came from essentially. From the perpetual yard sale for Big Brothers. I'll be trying to sharpen them soon. I think circuit board etchant would be good, and I have an abundance. I'm down to buying used now that I have two of every US made Nichole's (sp) that I can find.

    They make good wood lathe chisels too. I've used them to free hand cut acrylic for handles.
    Circuit board etchant won't work if you have the standard ferric chloride. It reacts with copper because copper is more reactive than the iron in ferric chloride. Iron won't replace iron in ferric chloride.

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