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luc

file steel for blades?

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I have been making knives for a few years doing stock removal using files. I am ready to start forging and taking it to a new level. Does anyone know what steel files are made from? Also what clay is used to temper with and how do you find it? I want to start making great knives not just good ones. Any help would be appreciated.

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I think most files are simple carbon steel .095 - 1.00 percent carbon.some horse shoe rasps are case hardend.You can test them by heating one end up to non-magnetic and quenching it if it snaps in two its ok.

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If you can find old bastard files there is a good chance it's W2 steel. If it's a newer one then it is probably 1095. A quick note though about files. Stick to ones made in N. America or Britain. Cheap imports are just that. I have tried using some chinese stuff that I swear was almost steel plated white metal. Total garbage.

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I agree with Tom and Luc's posts.

I started out by making stock removal file knives back in '92. My own experience is that Nicholson "Black Diamond" files have the best and most consistent quality steel in their files. I got most of my stock from pawn shops. Usually paid between .25 and .50 cents apiece for them. They nearly always came with a coating of rust but that grinds off easily. Before you forge any files, I'd suggest grinding most, if not all of the teeth off so those teeth don't become cold shuts when hammered down.

 

Best of luck in your endeavour!

All the best,

Mike U.

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Thanks for the info, I scavenge them everywhere and even buy new. I like the Nicholson brand and have had good luck with them so I think I will buy a bunch and grind them flat to start learning to forge with. Appreciate the help.

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One word of advice, if you get an old W2 file and try forging it be prepared for cold shuts. W2 is prone to them it seems. My favourite files to use are a brand called Globe that was made in Canada. Guaranteed to be W2 steel and plentiful around here. Have found lots that although coated with heavy rust, they can be cleaned with a wire brush and used as files...or forged heh

I find that W2 files don't last long in my shop before I say ooops and drop them in the forge which is usually followed by "Oh well, might as well anneal it.."

I really like the W2 steel in a knife. It holds an edge forever  and if you do an edge quench, they are really tough.

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An easy way to remove rust from files is simply soak them in vinegar overnight. Works like a charm.

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