Fitting a wooden handle to a file



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 benchtop.
If you burned it enough, you won't split it.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

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.
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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 sheds.
The next trick you need to learn is how to get the handle off.
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On 23 June, 19:43, % snipped-for-privacy@malloc.co.uk (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 the tang.
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One would have to be a bit of plank to cock up like that.
I think it's about time they started to teach metalwork in schools, again.
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On 24 June, 01:02, % snipped-for-privacy@malloc.co.uk (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.
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It's also not what I recommended. You seem to have misread/misunderstood my recommendation. The handle is the thing that strikes the surface, not the file.
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On 24 June, 15:22, % snipped-for-privacy@malloc.co.uk (Steve Firth) wrote:

That'll be because you didn't specify which way up you were holding the file.
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It'll be because you made an assumption and didn't stop to think.
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Were you not taught this method of putting a wooden handle on a file when you were a lad, or at any other time?
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I've been told lots of ways, and I've also seen people using several others.
The ones that involve banging anything where your hand is near the tang aren't an example that ought to be copied.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

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.
Dave
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Many people. when prompted to "bang a file" will grab it by the handle - the obvious thing to grab it by. This may lead to injury. It's also a poor way to seat the handle.

You know, I'd never noticed that.

A tang is perfectly capable of coming out of the back of the handle (more likely, I would suggest). If the handle splits, and the file has a long enough tang, there's little to stop it.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

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.
Dave
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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.
--
Dave Baker



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On Tue, 23 Jun 2009 12:52:21 +0100

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 hot.

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.
R.
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We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold. I remember Dave Osborne

The tang is soft, so heating it as suggested would be ok.
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