AR15.Com Archives
 Help for rusty files?
shadawick  [Team Member]
1/5/2012 10:34:32 AM EST
Hey guys, I found a bunch of old files at a years sale. All different sizes and cuts. Most have surface rust and some down in the grooves but I did not really see deep piting when sprayed with and wiped down with WD40 and hit with a file card.

My question is how do you clean up and restore old files?

I have been wondering about trying one in a "electrolysis," bath. Has anyone ever tried this?

I had origninally bought them for possibly making into knives but when I got to really looking at them, there was some really great potential there for use!
Paid Advertisement
paulx  [Member]
1/5/2012 12:28:39 PM EST
A trick I learned of in a machining magazine was to squesh the end of a 30-06 case flat and then use it to push out the crud between the teeth.Probably most know this one.
AeroE  [Moderator]
1/5/2012 12:48:55 PM EST
I use a .30-06 case, too, but I didn't read about it first.

Clean up the files with the flattened case or strip of brass, then card hell out of it to get all the pins and general dirt and crud out. Then soak the files in vinegar over night. They'll come out with a black scuzz that will have to be cleaned out, and then oil them to prevent rust.

This works pretty good.

There is a company in California that will refresh files for about a buck, and everyone I've talked to that uses them say it works and is worth the cost and trouble.

Don't throw your old files away even if they can't be sharpened, they are good for making tools with cutting edges.

cumminspower  [Member]
1/5/2012 3:50:43 PM EST
Sandblast them.
wp6529  [Team Member]
1/6/2012 5:42:22 AM EST
Zep Rust Remover which can be found at Home Depot (gal jug) works pretty well. I haven't tried it on files, but I aquired a set of Starrett pin punches with heavy surface rust and an overnight soak in the rust remover cleaned them up.
Heatnbeat  [Team Member]
1/6/2012 5:49:44 AM EST
I used to know an old timer that had worked for Edison. He told me that they soaked used files in sulphuric acid to resharpen them. IIRC he said that they'd do them about 3 times until they threw them out. I guess the acid etches the edges to a sharp profile.

Never tried it myself, maybe I should.
AeroE  [Moderator]
1/6/2012 5:55:51 AM EST
Etching in acid is tricky and will ruin a file if the solution is too strong. Grit blasting ruins a file, but they are pretty afterwards.

Paid Advertisement