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rick2112

Question about making knives from old files

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A neighbor recently gave me about 50 old files in all different sizes.

 

Was wondering can I heat them up and bang out the teeth flat or do I have to anneal and grind them off before forging?

 

Thx

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I like to knock the thin tips off the teeth, but still leave a little texture. That's assuming you want a knife that was obviously made from a file. If you just want it to look like clean steel, by all means grind off all the teeth.

 

If you leave them sharp there is a risk of both cold shuts along the edges and of creating stress risers during the quench, but I've never had any trouble with that after knocking off the tips. I use a big stone cup wheel on a 7" angle grinder to do that, no annealing required, takes about 45 seconds to strip one side of a 12" file.

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I like to knock the thin tips off the teeth, but still leave a little texture. That's assuming you want a knife that was obviously made from a file. If you just want it to look like clean steel, by all means grind off all the teeth.

 

If you leave them sharp there is a risk of both cold shuts along the edges and of creating stress risers during the quench, but I've never had any trouble with that after knocking off the tips. I use a big stone cup wheel on a 7" angle grinder to do that, no annealing required, takes about 45 seconds to strip one side of a 12" file.

Thx Alan

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I use a bench grinder to do the same thing, but yeah, you really ought to take down the teeth. OR just use a really really blunt file to make a knife. :lol:

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When I've used a file for knife making, they've always been well worn. I've just put them in the fire and beat it to shape then after forging took off all traces of the teeth after rough forging and before heat treat. I figure it is less work (mostly hand tools here) to remove the teeth after some has gone to making scale and they've been beat down. No real evidence to support that though.

 

ron

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I've never made a knife from a file. It seems like too much trouble, grinding off teeth and all that when you can just use a piece of old leaf spring. I think the problem with a file is that they get "too" hard. I mean, you can find files that are W series and some of the old ones are close to, if not exactly 1095 or whatever. But I believe file steel is different than knife steel. Some things I use files for are in respect to either hardness or the normalized toughness of the material. I'll make flint strikers out of old files. I use pieces of files for bits in my axes but never quench to harden. They are plenty strong for an axe just outta the fire. Sometimes I use old files and rasps to make spurs, but again don't harden them.

Files are great for lots of things, but in my opinion I just don't think I'd make a knife outta one unless I was in a real pinch.

 

Important things to consider when working with files, definately grind the teeth off to avoid the cold shuts and stress risers. I always anneal before working with a file too. It's an extra step for some folks, but it's important to make sure there's no disasters along the journey, no matter what you're making from the file.

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The ones I've made from files lately have been the Nicholson files I had that wore out. From an old thread here someone asked the company what they used and they said 1095. I jsut heat them in forge, toss them on in, and shut it off.

Take them out later on and grind the teeth off with angle grinder, and they're good to go.

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You don't necessarily have to get all the teeth off of it, but you defiantly should consider grinding them down a little for the above mentioned reasons. I personally like file made knives better if some of the teeth texture if left on. I'm sure it's not good to leave that texture there for obvious reasons, but it looks cool.

 

I might start making one out of a file soon as well. Not using it for anything else so might as well.

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most of my knives are made from old files (US Nicholson, if possible! the Dutch Nicholson are not so good).

-I do first the file in the fire and hold the metal at quenching t° for around 1 hour.

-after that I put it in charcoal ashes or white sand until cold (mostly 1 night)

-I begin to forge and give the form.

- when ready, I use the grinder to remove the "points"

- and after that, the usual process....

 

here under, a knife (integral)made in 2005 with a Nicholson file

Nicholson web.jpg

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