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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Best way to "safe" files

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
***

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Oct 24th, 2016 01:36 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I finally upgraded my crap-house dollar store needle files to a set from Stew Mac.

I want to put a "safe" edge on the sides of the flat file. What's the best way to do this?

Tools I have that may be helpful in this:
Bench Grinder
Dremel
Wasp Sander (drill press attachment)
Angle Grinder????

I should have done this to the old cheap-bum ones, but I kept threatening to bin 'em and get decent ones :^)

mirrorboy

Yorkshire, England

Oct 24th, 2016 03:58 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Wasp, if you have the backplate.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Oct 24th, 2016 09:40 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I wouldn't use any rotary tool -- too likely to create humps and hollows. Belt sander would be fastest, coarse sharpening stone would work, but slow.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Onward

Christian Slater
Oct 24th, 2016 02:18 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I've tried several ways, and the best is a Carborundum stone.

Work the file lengthwise over the coarse side of the stone under running water until you no longer feel crosshatches on the steel with a fingernail.

Flip the stone over and work it under running water on the fine side.

The water washes the small steel particles away and prevents gouging the metal you're trying to smooth out.

Follow that with progressively finer-grit wet/dry papers (400, 800, 1200, 2000), using water.

That gets you a mirror-like surface that won't mark even lacquer finishes.

A grinder is a no-no. It builds heat too fast and will draw the temper out of the file, softening the steel.

A Dremel is not a good option either because it leaves a lumpy, uneven surface. You want the safed edge to be as straight as possible.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
***

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Oct 24th, 2016 02:46 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks guys.

After I posted, I thought about the heat issue with grinding.
I'll get a good stone next time I'm out near a tool shop.

Cheers

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
***

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Oct 24th, 2016 08:38 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

OK, thought I got my answer (which I did) but it has led me to more questions...

I thought buying a stone would be as simple as, well ... buying a stone.
Then when I started looking I realised the different kinds of stones out there.

The Carborundums I'm finding are all "oil filled".
Does that mean I can't use water?
Do I need a "water stone" (wet stone)?

There also appears to be different grits, but not all are specific beyond coarse/fine.
Some have numbers like 108 & 109 but does not state whether that is the "coarseness" or something else.

What is sort of a "standard" grit?

Please educate me on sharpening stones.


Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Onward

Christian Slater
Oct 25th, 2016 06:49 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Oil-filled is no problem...you can use water.

The term is "whet" stone :0)

And there are now so many suppliers (most from China) that coarseness codes are all over the map. Get a two-sided stone that has a smooth side that feels like unglazed ceramic, e.g., the surface of a terra cotta garden pot. That will be ideal.

Also, color often matters. The greenish ones tend to be softer in my experience. The black or dark grey stones seem to last longer.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
***

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Oct 25th, 2016 03:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks P. That's good info.

Some of that I knew (somehow) but it's good to get confirmation.

I can get an oil filled, double-sided carborundum stone at the local hardware. (dark grey/black)


Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Onward

Christian Slater
Oct 25th, 2016 06:55 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Perfect.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Mar 24th, 2017 10:26 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I finally got around to "safing" (?) my needle files today. I did two 3-corner files and one flat file.

It took a while and my hands cramped up, but it's done! One more mini-project ticked!

Now I've got a few guitar projects coming up soon.
Pickup swaps in 2 guitars, a new switch in one, minor twiddles & tweaks across them all, then install the Warmoth conversion neck on one of my teles.
Need to spray the neck first. Weather's getting good for that now...

Busy couple of weeks ahead - woo-hoo!
:^)

catnineblue

LA , Calif

I try my best
Mar 30th, 2017 09:07 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

How about a huge shop grinder with one bad bearing , an old worn, out of balance stone that rotates as fast as a wood router.

I've seen lot's of those in shops I've worked and techs actually used them.

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Best way to "safe" files




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