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  1. #1

    Default Grinding a safe edge on a file

    Various authors suggest putting a "safe" edge on files for getting into tight corners, etc. while filing.

    I do not have a bench grinder, and before I ruin a nice file or my bench stone, I thought I might as well ask someone who has done it...

    Can the safe edge be put onto a needle file with a standard India stone, or will this be a lengthy exercise?

    Thanks,
    Philip

  2. #2
    Registered User Kevin W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Grinding a safe edge on a file (RE: Philip Bayer)

    Hi Phillip.How about about a piece of two sided tape on the file,s edge.How would that work?
    One clock at a time. Kevin West
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Grinding a safe edge on a file (RE: Philip Bayer)

    In some cases that maybe an option, maybe even just some masking tape to prevent the cutting, but in other cases it is demonstrated to grind the file edge to essentially mate with the profile of the object being filed. For example, filing the inside rim of a small wheel, a crossing file has its sharp edge ground off to form a safe edge that can go right up against the spoke and therefore file a sharp corner without damaging the wheel spoke in the process.

    On the other hand, I know Bill Smith's opinion in his video on wheel cutting is that this whole idea of safe edges is unnecessary and a waste of money, and that with carefully filing one can accomplish the task without safe edges.

    Phil

  4. #4
    Registered User Kevin W.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Grinding a safe edge on a file (RE: Philip Bayer)

    Perhaps another option to removing the sharp edge is to use a scraper, such as a 3 sided hand scraper? Just thinking of my machine shop deburring.
    I understand your example of a spoke on a wheel.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Grinding a safe edge on a file (RE: Philip Bayer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip
    In some cases that maybe an option, maybe even just some masking tape to prevent the cutting, but in other cases it is demonstrated to grind the file edge to essentially mate with the profile of the object being filed. For example, filing the inside rim of a small wheel, a crossing file has its sharp edge ground off to form a safe edge that can go right up against the spoke and therefore file a sharp corner without damaging the wheel spoke in the process.

    On the other hand, I know Bill Smith's opinion in his video on wheel cutting is that this whole idea of safe edges is unnecessary and a waste of money, and that with carefully filing one can accomplish the task without safe edges.

    Phil
    Hi Phil, bench grinders are so inexpensive these days and anyone with a workshop will say they are a necessasity and not a luxury, so get grinding to your hearts content. I have found many many times around the workshop when safe edges are needed, i dont consider safe edges to be an aid to a poor work ethic, rather an aid to better workmanship. When grinding a file to shape dont draw the temper and after grinding, run an emmory stone over the edge in a length wise direction, this will help to avoid marking the work, regards OC

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Grinding a safe edge on a file (RE: Philip Bayer)

    Hello Philip,
    I have quite a few files that I have ground to suit my purpose [screw slots, filing sharp corners, etc.], but I have access to a surface grinder. The idea of putting a safe edge on a file with just a india stone may indeed prove to be a lengthy exercise, even a small file. Without power tools, I think the next best option is the diamond bench stones or similar diamond type stones. They cut quickly especially the coarser ones.
    David

  7. #7

    Default Re: Grinding a safe edge on a file (RE: Philip Bayer)

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I haven't avoided a grinder due to costs, but for those who are "kitchen table" type weekend repairers a bench grinder in the dining room may not be tolerated by the spouse

    I may pick up a grinder bit for the Dremel tool and try it out on a worn economy needle file and see how it works out.

    Phil

  8. #8

    Default Re: Grinding a safe edge on a file (RE: Philip Bayer)

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip
    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I haven't avoided a grinder due to costs, but for those who are "kitchen table" type weekend repairers a bench grinder in the dining room may not be tolerated by the spouse

    I may pick up a grinder bit for the Dremel tool and try it out on a worn economy needle file and see how it works out.

    Phil
    Hint: Clamp the Dremel horizontally in the vise; turn it into a mini bench grinder.

    This assumes you have a vise.

    bangster
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Grinding a safe edge on a file (RE: Philip Bayer)

    There are file sets with the safe edge already on it.... have a few swiss pattern files like this.

    and yes, dremel, or bench grinder can make the edge also...

    would think a stone would not cut fast enough.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Grinding a safe edge on a file (RE: Philip Bayer)

    A stone will work OK, but it does take a little time. I've done mine (3 needle files and 2 full sized files), and I used a stone for all of them. I would suggest using a grinder for a full sized file, noting the warning about drawing the temper above, but for a needle file a coarse stone followed by a fine stone works good unless you have something more pressing to do(maybe 20 minutes for a needle file). Follow the sharpening stone with an oil stone or wet/dry paper for a good finish (less likely to mar).
    "Look, he is winding up the watch of his wit, by and by it will strike"
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Grinding a safe edge on a file (RE: Philip Bayer)

    Thanks again,

    My only concern with a grinder/Dremel etc, was that it may be difficult to maintain a nice even surface. I guess it could be finished up on a bench stone/emery paper etc. to make it flat.


  12. #12

    Default Re: Grinding a safe edge on a file (RE: Philip Bayer)

    All:

    On just about all my needle files I have ground a "safe" side. I do it on a belt sander, and go to great lengths to keep the file perpendicular to the sanding belt. This is not a time wobbling or heavy-handedness. I also keep a tub of cool water by the grinder to constantly quench the file in. I probably never grind more than 5 seconds before re-quenching the work. I cannot stress enough keeping your work cool. It will get hot soooo fast, and if it does you will ruin the file.

    So in summation, Yes, put a save side on your files (all of them, even large ones) and keep the grinding COOL.

    Also, to clarify, I only grind a safe side on files with flat sides; that is 3 and 4 sided.

    Bryan
    [edit=2792=1200678226][/edit]
    [At Curly's funeral] The man ate bacon at every meal... you just can't do that! Phil Berquist - City Slickers - My clocks

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