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Joshua States

Practicing My filework

13 posts in this topic

Today I spent a couple of hours practicing Vine Filework. I Have a set of fittings that I am going to put this on and haven't done this one in a while. So I decided to practice it before I totally screw up a perfectly good knife. I thought I'd share this with folks in case anyone is interested.

Most filework patterns have about 4-6 steps (other than layout),  and can be reduced down to 4, when you consider that some steps are identical to one another, just on opposite sides of the work piece. I use a method Duane Dushane has in his video with a 2" square piece of 1/8" thick brass bar and number the sides 1-4.

# plate.JPG

Then each side gets step 1, sides 2,3,4 get step 2, side 3 & 4 get step 3 and 4 is when you finish. You can keep this handy thing around to help you remember the process, or you can finish all the sides as a practice piece. If it doesn't work out well, simply grind the faces down and start over.

Step 1 is cutting the lobes in on each side.

Step 1-opt.jpg

Step 2 is cutting the thorns in.

Step 2-opt.jpg

Step 3 is starting to remove the excess and create the curves.

Step 3-opt.jpg

Step 4 is smoothing out the curves, sharpening up the thorns and generally cleaning up the shape.

Step 4-opt.jpg

After a sanding to 600 and  buff (red & green) I blacken the whole thing and lightly scrape the top with 9 micron paper to see where I am at. This still needs a little work on a couple of thorns and some curves.

Blacked 3-opt.jpg

 

 

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Joshua, thanks for sharing this. Stuck in Ft. Lauderdale, without a shop & no known forging "homeys" I am aware of, I can work on something like this. 

Gary LT

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Thank you for the how-to Joshua. I will also have to give this a go. May I ask what files you use for this? Thanks.

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Cool! Thanks for sharing. I am also interested in the file shapes you were using!

 

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If anyone is really interested in doing this, I highly recommend the DVD  "Fileworking with Duane Dushane" This excellent video tutorial covers three popular styles: Vine, Rope and "S" patterns. Worth every penny.

The vine pattern uses just two files: an 1/8" round (chainsaw) file and a modified half-round needle file. I use two sizes of the half-round, a #2 cut and a #4.

files.JPG

The modification is that the flat side of the file is ground off to make it "safe" so it doesn't cut. This is important for cutting the thorns. The resulting edge is very sharp! It will cut your finger, if you are not careful.

safe side.JPG

The cutting angle is also important. This is a compound 45 degree cut for everything. 45 degrees across the edge, and 45 degrees to the edge.

DSCN3553.JPG

DSCN3554.JPG

When cutting the thorns, the file safe side is toward the long side of the lobe. Sorry for the crappy photos.

DSCN3557.JPG

 

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Thanks Joshua. Can't seem to find the DVD this side of the pond unfortunately. Think I might have to raid Jantz's DVD section if I ever come over to the US (and hope they're region-free).

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Nice trick to modify the files for recurring work. Then you can file away without worrying too much every stroke. I can think of some other areas (for example weld finishing in complex hilts) where this can be really useful. 

Thanks for sharing!

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what did you do to blacken the surface around the edges of the vines???

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Nice tutorial Joshua.
I learned something in the fine bench tools class I took.
When filing to view the flat face the downward angle needs to be greater than a 45 degree.
It helps how the piece looks face on.
IDK if that makes sense.
When I was doing dividers and decorating them I started by filing the first set close to a 45 and it looked bad.
After a little instruction I made the cuts more acute to the sides and it made the filework look nicer.

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9 hours ago, JeffM said:

what did you do to blacken the surface around the edges of the vines???

Black Sharpie

7 hours ago, JJ Simon said:

Nice tutorial Joshua.
I learned something in the fine bench tools class I took.
When filing to view the flat face the downward angle needs to be greater than a 45 degree.
It helps how the piece looks face on.
IDK if that makes sense.
When I was doing dividers and decorating them I started by filing the first set close to a 45 and it looked bad.
After a little instruction I made the cuts more acute to the sides and it made the filework look nicer.

Let's see if I got that right. It sounds like the file should be closer to the side than a 45 deg angle thus making the relief portion larger. Yes?

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Yes that's what I am trying to say.
Is that your experience?
Is the angle of your file work more acute than 45 to the flat of the blade vs the spine?

 

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3 hours ago, JJ Simon said:

Yes that's what I am trying to say.
Is that your experience?
Is the angle of your file work more acute than 45 to the flat of the blade vs the spine?

 

I came to the same conclusion on the last knife I did.  It had filework in the handle area that came out looking a bit "Flat", and upon reflection I realized that I had shallowed up my filing angle without thinking about it.  It was too late for me to go back and change it by the time i realized what had happened, but I made the note to myself to use a more acute angle on the next one.

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I just file until it looks right to me. I try to start at a 45/45 by eye, but who knows? It's a kind of trance like Zen thing when I file. 

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