Draw filing

Discussion in 'Other Skills' started by Zornt, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Zornt

    Zornt Guide

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    My father was a machinist by trade, and one of the many skills that he passed on to me was how to draw file. I find uses for it all the time. Things like getting an edge ready to sharpen, flattening the backs of chisels and plane blades,etc. I also find it very calming, it slows me down and gives me much needed lessions in patience.
    What do you guys think of this technique?
     
  2. 556mp

    556mp Bushmaster Vendor Bushclass I

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    Use it almost daily. Great way of flatening stock, or keeping stock flat or keeping/making a consistant angle. Personaly I prefer draw filing over using a grinder.
     
  3. tickflicker

    tickflicker Supporter Supporter

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    I use it a lot making stuff flat.
     
  4. crookedknife

    crookedknife Guide

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    I find that it's a good way to get extra use out of a file that is too worn for much else. Also, draw filing with a fine cut file such as a raker file really gets an axe edge ready to finish off with a fine stone.
     
  5. MtnManJoe

    MtnManJoe Guide

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    How about a description of the technique, for The Rest of Us - The Great Unwashed ..
    .. Thnx

    Joe
     
  6. rdec

    rdec Supporter Supporter

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    Essentially, you use a file as you would use a drawknife on wood. Hold the file in both hands at whatever angle is suitable and draw toward you with slight downward pressure. As with all file work, at the end of the stroke pick the file up and move it to the beginning. Don't scrub back and forth.
     
  7. MiddleWolf

    MiddleWolf Guide

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    This is probably why the Japanese saws are so popular. The control gained by "drawing" just seems to be much easier to maintain. And if your arms get tired, you can use a rocking motion to assist.
     
  8. woodsghost

    woodsghost Guide

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    To build on the description of the technique, you need to pay attention to the direction the teeth cut. Assuming your file has teeth that only slant in one direction, you need to check which direction the teeth are cutting. If you hold it by the handle, tip out, you draw your finger across it horizontally. First left-to-right, and then right-to-left.

    Odds are, your file is slanting upwards from left to right, and when you move your finger from left to right, it "catches" a little. When you move from right to left, your finger will just glide over it without catching a little. This lets you know the teeth are cutting away from you, and to the left.

    If you hold the handle in your right hand, tip of the file in your left hand, you can push the file over a metal surface and it will cut or shave metal off.

    If you put the handle in your left hand, and tip of the file in your right hand, you can draw it toward you, and it will cut or shave metal.

    When you do this, the top (or up-side) of the file will look wrong, but the bottom (down side) is actually correct.

    If your teeth are aligned in a different way, test it out to figure out which way the teeth are cutting, and think of it like a knife. You want to push the edge into a piece of wood, not the spine.

    If you are draw filing correctly, you will feel the file bite into the metal. If it just glides over the metal, and shaving are not produced, then you are probably doing it wrong, and you need to check where the teeth are, and figure out how to hold it to make the teeth dig in.

    Warning: some metals, particularly harder stainless steels, seem very resistant to draw filing. The file just seems to glide over them no matter how I hold it. So, I use the grinder on those.

    Have fun!!! This is an excellent technique!
     
  9. Looker

    Looker Guide

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    I do it all the time. And I'm a machinist.

    Looker
     
  10. BushMetal

    BushMetal Banned Member Banned

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    I usually use file cabinet over a draw:4:


    But seriously, yes very often, its a great technique
     
  11. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

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    I like draw filing and using hand tools in general over power tools. I like the quiet, calming effect of hand work.
     
  12. DBX

    DBX Guide

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    Also, I don't screw up as badly with hand tools as I do with power tools.

    Sent from over the edge
     
  13. Akela

    Akela Scout

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    woodsghost,

    That's a great discription of the draw filing technique.

    The only thing I could add is to clean the file every few strokes with a file card to dislodge the filings that have become stuck into the teeth of the file. It gets rid of any bigger chips that might otherwise drop loose as you make the next pass and prevents gouges as they roll between the surface of the file and the material you are working on.
     
  14. Lisa West

    Lisa West Guide Vendor

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    All the time..Barrel makers still do it to get good flat "flats"..Phillip taught me to draw file, he learned the finer points of it by watching a Peter Ross demo..Peter is one of the most talented blacksmiths there is, period..His stuff is stunning..
     
  15. x39

    x39 Supporter Supporter

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    I learned to draw file when I went to trade school for Tool & Die Making, guess that tells my vintage, lol! Peter Ross is a friend of a friend, hoping to meet him some day. Pic of me last week draw filing an octagonal .62 cal. smoothbore barrel I made for a buddy of mine...
    img_1340.jpg
     
  16. briarbrow

    briarbrow Banned Member Banned

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    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013

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