A metal file can be an extremely handy tool for many DIY auto repair situations. There are different types metal files you can use for the wealth of filing situations that occur during your auto repair projects. The variety of metal files you can use is actually astounding, all useful for different aspects of auto repair. There are files with more teeth, that are extremely fine, with an almost sandpaper grit. There are other files, with larger more spread out teeth, and others with a mix of both. Some are round files, half-round files, flat files, triangle files, etc. The different types can help you with all your filing needs. Unfortunately, they can only help if they are properly taken care of and used correctly. Here is a guide for proper use and care for whenever you are using your reliable metal files.
- As stated previously, there are a variety of files for different situations and needs that arise. Depending on the shape or placement of the work piece that you are working on, you may need the different shapes and sizes to fit and file correctly. Choosing the right file for the right situation can really ensure you keep each metal file you own, cared for. Remember: Proper care can make your metal files last, and make them viable, for a long time.
- When choosing the right file, it is a good idea to not only look at the shape or size of the file itself, but also look at the metal file teeth pattern. The rougher the teeth, the rougher the cut. The benefit of a rougher file is the very fact that they are meant for taking larger chunks out of the pieces you are working on, and so it helps save your smoother files for finish work on the product. Double cut files with actually have two different cut patterns making up the teeth. These are especially meant for taking out larger portions of material from your product, while single cut files, files with only one pattern set making up the teeth, are meant for a finer finish.
- Once you have decided what file would be best, knowing the proper care technique before you start filing is a good idea. When you file, metal shards and chips may find their way into the teeth of your metal file. This is called pinning. If you think your metal file has lost its even finishing ability, it doesn’t necessarily mean its worn out. It probably means that the shards of metal have created a barrier between the metal file and the work piece. To reduce pinning, take a little bit of oil or chalk, and rub it across the teeth. This can help loosen the metallic pins. If that doesn’t work, you can use a file card, a special wire brush with short bristles, to brush in between the teeth. For a finer file, use a sturdy paint brush instead.
- When you are filing, using the correct process and technique will help you get the longest use out of your metal file. The correct way is to only apply the file, and pressure to the file, on the forward stroke. This is where the teeth will make contact with the work piece, allowing the shaving process to occur. Also, for an even shave, you will want to move sideways down the product, while continuing to push forward evenly on the strokes. This can prevent divots and uneven spots.
- An alternative way of filing, is draw filing. Using the file completely sideways towards the material you are filing, push forward in fluid straight motions. Though it may not file as quickly, this can create smoother, squarer, finishes.
- Finally, metal files do not have to be used on metal alone, they can be used on many other materials, such as plastics, ceramics, wood, and even glass, making them exceptionally versatile tools to have around. No matter what you are filing, clean out the files after every few minutes of work, to keep them working properly
Using the correct methods of use and care on your metal files can help make you completely satisfied with your metal file product, on every project. This will keep your teeth, and your metal file’s teeth, smiling whenever you DIY.