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How to Clean & Sharpen Files?

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Nelson

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#1
Here is one method:


This can be done a couple, few times before the files are beyond repair, and they'll never be as sharp as new files. It's pretty simple:

1. Prepare the vinegar: place in a glass container, microwave for a couple minutes 'til it starts to boil, and take it out. I place it on a hotplate on "low", but this is not essential.

2. I prepare the files by running them under hot water and scrubbing them with a steel brush.

3. Place the files into the acid bath.

4. Take them out after five to 10 minutes.

Repeat steps 1-4, rinsing and drying at the end. Oil well, and let sit.​



Anyone know any other ways?
 

Metalmann

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#2
I use concrete etcher, leave the file in for 5 minutes, depending how bad it is, rinse with water; then soak again if necessary.

Just don't put them in and forget them.
 

swatson144

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This might just be a tall tail but I have heard that letting a file rust will re-sharpen it to some extent?
Planting them in the garden until well rusted works very well on the *******s and other rough cut files. I don't think I'd do it on the finer smoother files.

Steve
 
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jgedde

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I've heard that a 10% solution of hydrochloric acid (Muriatic acid) does wonders on an old file. Haven't tried it, but have several files that are good candidates for this...

John
 

majorm

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I think your asking about a little more in depth cleaning but I use a large brass cartrige casing (maybe .300 win mag with the shoulder cut off.) I then put it in the vice and crimp about .500" of the tip down flat for the scraper. The brass easily gets cut into the profile of the file and cleans it out.

Like I said I think we may be talking about two different kinds of clean and you mentioned sharpening but thats how I maintain mine while Im using them.
 

Arky

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If you use blackboard chalk to coat file with before you use it, it will help prevent "pinning". Therefore you don't have as much cleaning to do. I, like majorm suggested, use a piece of small copper tubing ( 1/2" works good ) and flaten the end of it. Gets the filings or "pinnings" out very easily. Hope this helps also, Arky
 

KevinL

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I've heard that a 10% solution of hydrochloric acid (Muriatic acid) does wonders on an old file. Haven't tried it, but have several files that are good candidates for this...

John
I have been doing this for over 30 years. Learned this trick when I went to gunsmithing school. I never put oil on them though. Press your thumb on a file or onto the metal that you are filing and you will see how it skips right over the material until you get under the oil.
 
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Nelson

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I have been doing this for over 30 years. Learned this trick when I went to gunsmithing school. I never put oil on them though. Press your thumb on a file or onto the metal that you are filing and you will see how it skips right over the material until you get under the oil.
Do you get the stuff they sell at Home Depot for use on patios and brickwork and suck? It comes in a clear jug.

Pretty volatile stuff- gloves necessary and safety glasses in case you splash it.
 

KevinL

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Do you get the stuff they sell at Home Depot for use on patios and brickwork and suck? It comes in a clear jug.

Pretty volatile stuff- gloves necessary and safety glasses in case you splash it.
Yes sir. I think the last jug I got came from Menards. You can also get it from places that sell swimming pool supplies. It is added to change (lower I think) the pH in water.

Remember to slowly add the acid to water not the other way around. I usually mix it 50/50, let it sit for a while and rinse it off out in the driveway with garden hose. Half hour is usually how long I go. Blot them dry and sit in the sun or use some compressed air to finish drying them. I save my mix and use it again.

Think of it this way. Ever heard of removing a broken tap in aluminum with hydrochloric acid? Muriatic acid is just a diluted hydrochloric acid. It gets down and etches a little deeper and helps removed the pinned particles.

And yes make sure to wear PPE. Many years ago I was a garbage man after getting laid off from a factory and someone put some in their garbage. When I cycled the hydraulics on the truck the fumes started coming out the seal on the back of the truck. Went between the side shields of my safety glasses and got into one of my eyes. We carried emergency eye wash in the truck and I emptied into my eye and the driver got my to the nearest doctor’s office. Upon arrival I got my eye washed and scrubbed for the next 20 minutes. After that I got sent to an eye clinic to have my eye photographed in case of lawsuits.

Later we learned the people had put about a gallon and a half in their garbage…..their insurance paid all the doctor’s bills. Think of the lawsuits today.
 

burnrider

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#10
This might just be a tall tail but I have heard that letting a file rust will re-sharpen it to some extent?
Rust is a slow oxidation vs a quicker chemical treatment. Sounds reasonable


Ever heard of removing a broken tap in aluminum with hydrochloric acid? Muriatic acid is just a diluted hydrochloric acid. It gets down and etches a little deeper and helps removed the pinned particles.
Is the aluminum getting removed more than steel w/ HCl? Muriatic acid at the store is a dilute hyudrochloric acid for masonry etching. Best to store outside if purchased in a plastic container. I had it in attic storage and the galvanized joist hangers were getting a white corrosion not ordinary for covered construction. The usual gloves and glasses warning is found on the container I'm sure.
 

KBeitz

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Plain old battery acid work fine....
 

9t8z28

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The best I have found to remove pinning is a copper pipe flatted in the vise. Put a handle on the opposite open end of the pipe and go at it. As the copper wears away it leaves the impression of the file teeth. The more you run it across the file the more it takes on the shape of the teeth. It works wonders. The copper breaks down into a fine dust. Nothing left behind to clog up the file. Other than that I use Krud Cutter to remove rust. Leave in over night making sure the files do not sit above the level of liquid or they turn black. If you prefer them black like I do my impact sockets then trust me when I say it leaves a very durable flat black finish.
 
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