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steven smith

Can I use a farriers rasp on steel?

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Okay, seems like a silly question.

There is a blacksmiths shop just a couple miles from my house with a good selection of rasps, https://www.centaurforge.com/Rasps-Rasp-Handles/departments/375/ , and I was wondering if I could use a rasp to shape a blade before hardening it. I asked someone there and he thought I meant to use it for sharpening a hardened blade, I have also tried searching google but all I get is "what kind of steel is this rasp/will it make a knife".

So I would like to be sure before I waste $25, I dont see why it wouldn't work but I cant really remember seeing anyone use a farriers rasp for stock removal after forging.

If anyone has a recommendation for a real metal hogging file I would appreciate that as well, I have a decent selection of usa nicholsons but they all came to me sort of dull so its time for an upgrade.

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Hot rasping with a farriers rasp makes for great stock removal.  it's fast effective, pretty laborious, but not really something I see too often that knife makers do.  You can hot rasp a knife to general profile with one - and maybe true up your bevels before you do most of your typical grinding work.   I've never tried this before, mostly when I'm hot rasping its to hog off material that I just don't need or true up a shape that I just can't seems to match with a hammer. 

Typically, you do not file cold steel with a farriers rasp, the teeth are not really meant for that - their built like large fingernail files to rough out and flatten horse hoofs.  Normally when a 'blacksmith' gets them - a 'farrier' as already dulled down the teeth through use and the blacksmith guy loves them that way.  Brand new they still work - they tend to bite and stick though.

 

If you are using a farriers rasp - it's best to use it when the metal is hot.  All else - horse hooves or wood.  There is a great topic about files on another section I'll have to find it and link you up to it.  I hope I answered your question about rasps.

Edited by Daniel W

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There we go, a good topic all about filing and the process of draw filing.

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Thank you, for the help.

If I had a post vice, or a regular vice in my smithy im sure id do some hot rasping. But im mostly looking to take down bevels cold. 

I have read alans thread and I already drawfile "through the grits" for lack of a better term, but as I said my files are sorta dull and I want something more aggressive for the initial shaping. It sounds like I could get a rasp and dull it myself, but I would have to make a few knives to do that. 

Not to disregard your advice but I think ill go check out the rasps in person, some of them had large single cut teeth that looked pretty tough to me, others had large teeth but they did seem delicate.  Gives me an excuse to go to the blacksmiths shop anyways.

I will keep it in mind that they might not be appropriate, and I do appreciate the help.

Maybe I should just try making another sen scraper.

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Don't think what you want to do will work very well, but try it and let us know. However hot rasping has it's place in smithing. It's a great way to tidy up work, remove burrs, fish lips, and smooth out a bit of rough forging. An example if where I frequently use it, is to remove the rag that's always left when hot cutting.  And no reason to buy a new rasp, long after the rasp is too dull for the farrier, the rasp is still good for hot work.

Edited by Gerald Boggs

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On second thought, I wont go with a farriers rasp, ill get a regular aggressive file. But if I ever find some old farriers rasps ill grab em up.

Thanks Gerald.

Edited by steven smith

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Okay, one last little question.

The simonds multicut has been recommended a bunch and I found one on grainger https://www.grainger.com/product/SIMONDS-Flat-Multi-Kut-File-38RJ73 

My concern is that its made in honduras, im not saying I dont think they can make a file but I wanted to check if I should be looking for an American made simonds multicut or if the honduras one is what people are recommending?

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I can't answer your question about the Simonds but I have been less than thrilled with some of the newer Nicholson files that were made in Mexico. If you don't mind paying a little more for files that will last a lifetime check out Grobet files. They average around $30USD each but they are worth it. The next best thing is finding out of business or going out of business machine shops and hardware stores that have a stash of "new old stock" American made Nicholson Black Diamonds from when they were made of W-2. The main thing about not dulling files was covered in Alens thread linked above, not dragging them in the wrong direction.

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I will look into the grobet files, I thought they were much more expensive.

I have had luck making my own smaller files, maybe I should try a 6-8" with super aggressive teeth and handles on each end for drawfiling, gotta make a new chisel for that though.

My files are all dull because they came from an engineering school, one of them has streaks of flattened teeth, I cant imagine what they have been through. A 16" usa nicholson anbsolutly ruined, they must have been filing hardened ball bearings, and a few of them were all jammed up with aluminum. But thats what ive been using for 4-5 years now. Still better than the Mexican nicholson magicut I bought new.

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I have a 14" pipe liners file and it is amazing for hogging material down. I'm not sure of a brand or where it was made but I have used it for years. I have a UHMW handle made for it. It is always my go to file. I will find out what brand it is when I get out to the shop next.

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That would be very helpful Jeremy, thank you.

I was looking for grobet files but most places want to sell them in 5s or 6s, I just need one....

Im seeing some files made by mercer? They are cheapish but does anyone know if they are any good?

Here is one https://www.empireabrasives.com/14-mill-file-bastard-cut/

They also have those files with the super aggressive curved teeth, can those be used for draw filing?

These guys https://www.empireabrasives.com/14-mill-curved-tooth-file/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAnNXiBRCoARIsAJe_1cpFNAB741rtZPvqxWchsHTQkWNq9HKYooBgCoWY_FIFiFaMH_4ufPEaAqpkEALw_wcB

I feel like I should be able to google all of this but google is so useless, I was searching about the quality of mercer files and the first page was half ads, then something about trump and cats and how MRSA is spread.

Edited by steven smith

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One thing with files is you get what you pay for. And another thing I've seen a lot of people do is keep them in a box or bucket all together piled on top of one another. This is a no no. Same with reamers. They should be kept neatly in a drawer and not touching each other. Roll out cloth holders is great for this.

Edited by Jeremy Blohm

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Never heard of Mercer files, but they may be worth a shot.  Those curved-tooth files are for serious metal removal at the cost of a terrible finish.  They will also take your fingers off if you're not careful.  I have one I rarely use because it physically rips out huge chunks of steel with each stroke.  I never tried to drawfile with it, it's just too aggressive.

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I have a file with curved teath like that and I've never used it. I will give it a quick try when I get home if the wife will allow it. She wants to go out to eat and she wants me to hurry. I will do my best.:lol:

Ok maybe I wont try it then. :lol:

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On 2/2/2019 at 1:15 PM, steven smith said:

hey also have those files with the super aggressive curved teeth, can those be used for draw filing?

Thanks for the link, i have an old file like that and its my favorite one. didn't know what it was called or if even still made.   My favorite file for hogging at steel.  Makes quick work.   I usually use it on projects other than blade blanks, as I didn't want to dull the teeth on an overly hard steel.  But for mild it does wonders. I have draw filed with it on some mild, and man it just leaves these nice little strips of steel all over the place. Very useful when you don't feel like pulling out the grinder or all your aggressive sanding belts are dull :)

 

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Well, I would like to try one of those curved tooth files but they are pricy. Hopefully ill finish a kitchen knife ive got on commission soon, ive already got the money for it but im hands off until the customer is happy. He works with a friend of mine at a nice restaurant and said he would post it to the places instagram which has a large following. If that generates some more sales/commissions ill try the rasp, curved tooth file, and the cheap mercer. 

For the moment I might get a good quality 14-16" bastard file, I have one here that is cut in half ($#*!&@#/%!!!!) And I think a whole one could be nice, not half a file because that would be silly to cut up a 1/4" thick usa nicholson and jam it with aluminum. Its safe with me though, I have sharpened three rows of teeth with diamond needle files so I will try the rest next time something hits me in the head and I need to slow down for a bit.

I forged a chisel for file cutting, I have a little experience cutting files so I might try a short section of teeth on a bar for draw filing. My smaller files work great, but heat treating a larger one makes me wonder if I will have trouble with decarb. But I can put carbon containing goo on the file to deal with that. 

Ill share the secrets of file cutting tomorrow if I can, its pretty simple, you just need the right chisel and you need to hit it right, you wouldnt want to chisel your file in half with a missed strike.

(Im sorry, its late)

I might as well throw this in here; I have been using a sen-dai, or a staple vice, and its super good at quickly clamping blades with tangs that are tapered from spine to edge. It does flat tangs as well, but the tapered tangs are hard to clamp with c-clamps, anything is hard to clamp with c-clamps. The sen-dai is quick to use and flipping over a blade takes seconds, however the blade can move side to side so its only for draw filing. Id recommend anyone who uses files to try one.

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This is my favorite file. I would recommend a USA Nicholson but this Brazilian one has held up well other than the chips out of the teeth which is worse than I thought. I think this one might become a blade.

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That reminded me of something I have not tried, but I may as well pass along:  A pipeline welder was watching me file one time, and he said "Hey, we use files out in the field to smooth the V-cuts before welding!  Wanna know a trick?  Take one of those pipeliner files, and with a cutting disk in an angle grinder cut a shallow groove across the teeth perpendicular to the angle of the teeth.  Cuts fast and slick!"  This is basically what the Simonds Multi-Kut is, but a homebrew variation.  I keep meaning to try it, but I don't want to screw up a perfectly good file.

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I'm going to give it a shot with this one....its junk anyway!

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I've been working with a neighbour on occasion, Mike is more into tool making and he's taught himself much more of the art of smithing than I know.

He helped me forge out some leaf springs to get more stock for making cleavers, and one one occasion he brought along a farrier's rasp to test whether we could clean up the sides.

It does work, but not great IMO. I didn't check the state of the rasp before we started, but it was pretty much  done for after out testing.

I got the impression if ate the steel but skated on the scale......not 100% sure, just my impression. 

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