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Filing

Discussion in 'Working the Steel' started by propane_cooker, Sep 15, 2017.

  1. propane_cooker

    propane_cooker New Member

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    Hey guys,
    I have a question about files. I have used a 8" Nicholson Axe File to hand bevel the two knives I have made so far (second one not quite completed but most of file work done). The first knife had a bit of a warp in it after HT and I filed it "flat" again. I also used it to sharpen the edge (Is this called a secondary bevel?) by draw filing at a 20 degree angle. This was tough going on the hardened steel. I left the edge of my second knife thicker than my first to try and prevent warp from HT and am struggling a bit to get the edge sharpened (secondary bevel?).

    Is it possible my file is getting dull? Is there a better way to get the edge down to a cutting edge? I don't have a grinder. I haven't tried using my hand held belt sander with an 80 grit belt that I put in my vice and use for shaping the blanks. I feel like that would probably work but kind of scared to use it and accidentally mess up the blade. I would prefer to sharpen (secondary bevel) by draw filing, is there a better file anyone can recommend for doing this? Is there a better file anyone would recommend for doing the bevels?

    Kind of a separate question but I have also considered using the belt sander to partially do the bevels (pre HT) and then finish on my filing jig. I would basically rough out the bevels then do the ricasso and true up the bevels with the filiing jig. Is this an idea worth pursuing?

    Any advice would be appreciated. I highly doubt I will move into getting a grinder anytime soon (can't justify the cost to my wife). I also do enjoy the control of doing it by hand, seems like it makes it harder to screw things up irreparably. That being said I wouldn't mind speeding up the process and making sure I'm using files that are going to maximize my efficiency. (sorry for the long post)
     
  2. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    First, to help prevent warping of your blade during heat treat, run it through a normalizing cycle first (or even go with normalize-anneal to really soften the steel). I find that much more effective and less labour intensive than leaving all that metal to be filed off the hardened steel.

    Second, yes it could be that your file is wearing out; especially if you're using it on hardened steel. Also make sure you clean it regularly with a wire brush to dislodge any buildup of metal on it.

    It's perfectly fine to use your portable belt grinder, angle grinder, bench grinder, etc. to do part or all of the bevels. As long as you can find a way that gets the job done, use whatever works. That said, I also like filing. With a good file, you can do a full flat grind on a small 4-5" blade in about an hour. If you find it taking a lot longer than that, it might be time for a new file.
     
  3. John Noon

    John Noon Well-Known Member

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    After quenching and tempering the knife and file are so close in hardness that using a file would be a real struggle. Wet & Dry sandpaper would be faster and easier on the body or even diamond sharpening stones if you don't mind wearing them out.
     
  4. propane_cooker

    propane_cooker New Member

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    Thanks for the advice guys. Mythtaken would you be able to explain how I would go about doing the normalizing or normalize-anneal with O1? The O1 I used comes annealed, but from what your saying if I normalize it then it will reduce the risk of blade warp and I can take the edge down more?

    John I hadn't really thought of using sand paper. I will have to try that. Could use some 80 grit wet dry sandpaper, either on my sanding block or could tack some to a board to make a sort of "sharpening stone"
     
  5. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    To normalize your O1 blade, heat it up to critical temp (non-magnetic) and just let it cool on its own. If you're using a forge or oven, you can leave the blade in the forge/oven while it cools to keep the heat longer (annealing). You are likely not putting enough stress into the steel to require both a normalize and anneal cycle, but you can do that too. I have always run blades through at least the normalize cycle before heat treating. I've never had one warp.
     
  6. propane_cooker

    propane_cooker New Member

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    Anyone have any recommendations on brand and type of files?
     
  7. parker

    parker Active Member

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    Nicholson files have always been my fav, and when they wear out ( if made in usa ) they are close to 1095 I believe so you can make them into a knife haha
     
  8. Mythtaken

    Mythtaken Staff Member CKM Staff

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    I've always had good results with Nicholson as well. However, a while back I picked up a couple of Canadian Tire Mastercraft ones (Nicholsons were out of stock) and they did a great job.
     
    parker likes this.
  9. parker

    parker Active Member

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    I just ordered a Grobet checkering file for doing nice clean jimping and its awesome great quality files for sure but have a big price tag
     

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