Easiest way is to use "Python" handles - wooden handles with an
internal steel spring. Easy to fit and solid (so long as your file
tangs are straight and the correct taper)
Avoid plastic handles - they're nasty and always wobble.
Danish oil is a good finish for wooden file handles.
Very hard to do accurately.
Yes. Traditional way.
Wrap the file in leather or cardboard and clamp it upright in a vice,
with the toe resting firmly on the shank of the vice.
Heat the tip of the tang until it just thinks about glowing. Quickly
plunge the handle over this and hold it there while it burns in.
Remove it quickly, before it jams. Don't stab your hand into a red-
hot file tang, it makes you feel a right eejit.
Repeat. Half dozen times. Heating is easier than hammering.
When it fits, drive the handle properly home. Use a mallet, not a
hammer. Only do this if the file is securely anchored against flying
sideways, and the teeth won't get munched. If you don't have a big
enough vice with a flat shank, hold the file loosely in a gloved hand
instead and wallop downwards against a log-end or previously abused
If you burned it enough, you won't split it.
OK, thanks for that Andy - I might give it a go next time.
I couldn't wait, so I drilled out the handle with a step (3.5mm all the
way then 4.5mm half way, if you're interested) and then "[held] the file
loosely in a gloved hand and wallop[ed] downwards against a [...]
previously abused benchtop." ;-)
So far, so good.
The correct technique is to hold the handle, with the file vertical then
bang it down sharply onto something solid (anvil, rear of the bench
vice, work bench if it's a proper one and not the wobbly crap sold in
The next trick you need to learn is how to get the handle off.
On 23 June, 19:43, % firstname.lastname@example.org (Steve Firth) wrote:
Yeah, drove the guy to casualty after that one.
It's OK if the handle is already "almost on". If you're starting
though, especially if you didn't burn it enough, and then you slip;
the file tips sideways the handle misses and you spike your hand on
On 24 June, 01:02, % email@example.com (Steve Firth) wrote:
There are two problems with this method:
* Firstly there _are_ planks in circulation. You have to organise a
workshop to keep them moderately safe too.
* Secondly it doesn't work too well. _Use_ the inertia of the heavy
file, so bang the file into the stationary handle instead, or knock
the light handle onto the heavy file. Bashing a heavy file up and
down against a bench whilst hoping the lightweight handle decides to
go on tighter is somewhat contra-Newton.
The practice of putting a file handle on a file and banging the handle
onto some thing hard is common practice in engineering, so why do you
say that it should not be coppied?
If you look at a file handle, you will see that it has a metal ferule at
the file end of it. This is there to prevent the tang from coming out,
through the handle, and biting your hand.
Appart from the ferule at the front of the handle.
Tangs are sized to prevent this, as are file handles.
In the 40 years I have spent on the tools and then mentoring others as a
team leader in development, I have never seen a file tange come anywhere
near a hand.
If the handle is the right size for the tang it should go on about 1/2 to
3/4 of the way before needing tapping home. The way to do that is place the
handle end downwards on a wooden surface and tap the end of the file with
another block of wood. You don't do it by holding the handle and banging the
end of the file on a wooden surface. That's a good recipe for the handle
coming off on the upstroke and you impaling your hand on the tang on the
downstroke before the file has fallen over. At a pinch you can hold the file
with a gloved hand and bang the handle downwards on a wooden surface. Golden
rule though is never strike towards the tang with your bare hand.
If the handle doesn't go on far enough to start with then yes you can drill
it out a bit more. The handles are made from soft wood though so they
usually deform enough to let the tang seat fully.
That's what I'd do, but a proper taper reamer does a better job.
must try this, it's a good idea. You could always file up a bit of
metal as a burning tool to avoid drawing the temper on the file. But
the tang should be dead soft anyway - just don't quench it when it's
don't do that whatever! not under any circumstances.
I always make my own handles from Ash with a bit of brass or copper pipe
as a ferrule - they are fun to turn too. You need a taper reamer to get
the right round hole, then the edges of the rectangular tang grip well
when the handle is banged on (bang handle on bench - no hammer
allowed). Any tendency to waggle in the short dimension, then use
wedges to centre the tang.
I never make the handle fully round, it always has a flat on one side
so that it doesn't roll. Same with great old chisels bought at car
boot sales, a good grind and a new handle, better than the new ones.
Every new hand tool needs fettling. I would resist buying files with
moulded handles, but that's me.
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