Why so many files?

Kevin75931

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Oct 9, 2016
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Jasper Texas
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Metal Detecting
It seems when I metal detect around early 20th century homesteads I find files. I am not talking about wood working files, or files for horse hooves, but your standard course metal files. Some people may call these rasp files.

Today, (07/09/2022) my son was disking up a spot for a garden, ad guess what, a foot lone rasp file rolled out of the ground. A half mile from here there is a spot where a company store sat for the sawmill company town, and I probably found half a dozen files around where the store use to be.

The only thing I use files for is fixing threads on a bolt. If the bolt gets buggered up you can take the corner of a file and work the threads out, but this is very rare that I have to fix a bolt. But files seem to be a common trend in late 19th and early 20th century areas.
 

crashbandicoot

Gold Member
Sep 27, 2020
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Dumas,AR
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All Treasure Hunting
It seems when I metal detect around early 20th century homesteads I find files. I am not talking about wood working files, or files for horse hooves, but your standard course metal files. Some people may call these rasp files.

Today, (07/09/2022) my son was disking up a spot for a garden, ad guess what, a foot lone rasp file rolled out of the ground. A half mile from here there is a spot where a company store sat for the sawmill company town, and I probably found half a dozen files around where the store use to be.

The only thing I use files for is fixing threads on a bolt. If the bolt gets buggered up you can take the corner of a file and work the threads out, but this is very rare that I have to fix a bolt. But files seem to be a common trend in late 19th and early 20th century areas.
Folks used files for many things at that time,a lot of repair parts for implements were hand made on the spot since there wasn,t a NAPA down the road.Used to sharpen saw blades of course,old time crosscut saws and hand saws before the common use of circular saws and circular saw blades before the advent of carbide teeth for those. Some mills and timber crews had a guy who specialized in sharpening saw blades,all he did and was payed a premium if he was good at it. A good file is a joy to use once you learn the trick.
 

crashbandicoot

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Sep 27, 2020
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Dumas,AR
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Probably used to sharpen their axes. I'm no good at it, but the correct way to sharpen an ax is with a file. I sharpen mine with my grinding wheel, which is a hack way to do it!
Put the rough edge on with the grinder and finish with the file.You can damn near shave with it like that.Don,t make a miss lick,you,ll cut your leg off kid!
 

releventchair

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May 9, 2012
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Files can be slippery when pocket carried.
Imagine they could bounce out of a wagon ect. pretty easy too.

Being good steel , (well , quality files are) they are worth not just discarding when worn out. A good scraper , or a knife , or striker for flint and steel are just some uses.

If lost at /around a woodshed or woodpile , who knows what else was dropped and not recovered?
 

crashbandicoot

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Sep 27, 2020
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Since we,re talking about it,the proper way to use a file is to only stroke the file one direction,if you scrub it back and forth you,ll dull the file and ruin it. Takes a bit of practice but once you get the rhythm it works really well and can remove a lot of metal quickly.
 

releventchair

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May 9, 2012
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Since we,re talking about it,the proper way to use a file is to only stroke the file one direction,if you scrub it back and forth you,ll dull the file and ruin it. Takes a bit of practice but once you get the rhythm it works really well and can remove a lot of metal quickly.
A file card can be handy to keep files teeth clean too.

Some old tool boxes contain a piece of chalk that was used to rub on the file to reduce it's chip carrying ability.

Used a tired and neglected a bit much riding in the truck toolbox single cut file to touch up a Kukri yesterday.
There's a half round double cut and a round file in there too.

I need to get a set of needle files again.
Borrowed the daughters last time I needed one.
Same daughter that used to leave some of my tools in the dirt of the dog kennel years ago as a toddler. Who knows where else. L.o.l..
 

crashbandicoot

Gold Member
Sep 27, 2020
12,127
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Dumas,AR
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A file card can be handy to keep files teeth clean too.

Some old tool boxes contain a piece of chalk that was used to rub on the file to reduce it's chip carrying ability.

Used a tired and neglected a bit much riding in the truck toolbox single cut file to touch up a Kukri yesterday.
There's a half round double cut and a round file in there too.

I need to get a set of needle files again.
Borrowed the daughters last time I needed one.
Same daughter that used to leave some of my tools in the dirt of the dog kennel years ago as a toddler. Who knows where else. L.o.l..
Kids and tools,ya gotta love em.Well, you can get more tools but you can,t get more kids,metaphorically speaking. The types and styles of files are staggering if you look into them and today,s selection is a faint memory of olden times.An old time saw filer taught me the chalk trick many moons ago. I was lucky to associate with a lot of old men who were from the times when you made your own stuff if you could,they taught me a lot.Taught me to have a little snort of bourbon now and then to take the edge off too!:laughing7: Bless those old men,may they rest in peace!
 

releventchair

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May 9, 2012
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Kids and tools,ya gotta love em.Well, you can get more tools but you can,t get more kids,metaphorically speaking. The types and styles of files are staggering if you look into them and today,s selection is a faint memory of olden times.An old time saw filer taught me the chalk trick many moons ago. I was lucky to associate with a lot of old men who were from the times when you made your own stuff if you could,they taught me a lot.Taught me to have a little snort of bourbon now and then to take the edge off too!:laughing7: Bless those old men,may they rest in peace!
Them ol timers are still around when we hold or use thier old tools.
Well , part of them is. A molecule here , a bit of dander there.
And the sights sounds feel and smell of material being worked is almost unchanged..
 

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