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File clogging prevention question

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Hairy Clipper, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. Hairy Clipper

    Hairy Clipper Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 28, 2009
    Today a serious question. Over the years my file drawer has gotten out of hand and as I look through them I see a number of them clogged with what appears to be aluminum. I have been lucky with the files I use because Mr. Bohn, my old shop teacher, used a verbal hammer to drive the idea in our heads that if you use a file you better have a file card! I once had a fellow tell me to get rid of the file card and shake some talcum powder or scrape some chalk on the file before using it. Another fellow suggested ground mica. So far, I have kept their ideas to myself and heeded Mr. Bohn's advice. However, my curiosity is getting the best of me now that I am about to head out to buy a handy farmer's file. Do any of you fellows have any experience with talc, chalk or mica in this application? What insight do you have to pass on?
    Dusty One, A17, Fmont and 2 others like this.
  2. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Yes Hairy, call it insight or even if you must, advise, (though not mine me being only the passer-on of hearsay in this instance), but concerning the chalk I have heard that on new files only and prior to that first use a good chalking will prolong the use of your files. Please don't ask me to explain and take it for what it's worth, more 'n a poke in the eye 's what I'd say. I also am a fervent file card user. My understanding of filing on aluminum is it's a fast road to sapping all the life of your file, that aluminum promptly and irreversibly clogs them up. In the end I am not a big file user though I do have my collection of good quality Swiss ones for on those rare occasions.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
    Hairy Clipper, A17, Fmont and 2 others like this.
  3. Hairy Clipper

    Hairy Clipper Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 28, 2009
    I had not heard the use of chalk only before the first use before. I learned first hand about the ability of aluminum to clog a file in a short time ... and have not forgotten the results of that experience. There are a few files in a box that I am thinking about giving a vinegar bath to and see if that clears the aluminum from them? Thank you so much for the reply Ernest, i appreciate it.
    Fmont, Meek1 and Yankee Josh like this.
  4. Beachlogger


    Dec 27, 2015
    Google how to clean a file with a copper pipe
    Fmont, Trailsawyer and Meek1 like this.
  5. Hairy Clipper

    Hairy Clipper Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 28, 2009
    Here is the Google search that came up first and it looks like a winner. Thanks Beachlogger!

    Fmont, Yankee Josh and Meek1 like this.
  6. drail


    Feb 23, 2008
    If you keep a new file chalked and don't overload it it will work better and last longer. I used to file on guns and every time a file got used it got cleaned and carefully laid in a drawer. If your file ever gets THAT clogged you need to slow down and use less pressure. White chalk is better than talc because most of the talc sold today is contaminated with asbestos. You do not want to handle or breathe that stuff.
    Hairy Clipper and Fmont like this.
  7. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Or try a thin sheet of brass. Great for cleaning out what the file card doesn't remove.

    There are special files for aluminum. Other files will quickly clog.
  8. Hairy Clipper

    Hairy Clipper Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 28, 2009
    Thank you Square_Peg! I must be living under a rock or been wedged under a tree? I did not know there are aluminum specific use files. I can see where there should be one of these in the toolbox.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019

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