Handy File Handles

Discussion in '1911 Gunsmithing' started by ForesterPumice, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. ForesterPumice

    ForesterPumice Not a Gunsmith, but learning more everyday.

    Sep 23, 2016
    I like to have handles on all my files, a good way to make them is to take a hardwood dowel, drill a center hole, hammer the file in firm.

    Then, my little trick.

    Drill a tiny hole, and bend hard steel wire at a 90 degree angle, cut off so it's about 1/4".

    Stick the wire in the hole, then using pliers gently heat the wire with a bunsen burner or plumber torch as you wind it as tightly as possible 25 times, it's ok if the wood smokes a bit, if you use cherry you can soak it in water first overnight, the one pictured is a cherry one i think.

    Then add a drop of hard solder, or spot weld the end. When you quench it in water, it hardens the wire, which also shrinks and tightenes the clench.


    Works well for tiny file sets that come with just one handle, in the picture is a chain saw sharpening round file, I'm getting ready to put a new handle on the new file. I also cut the 1/2" of smooth space off chainsaw files, I find they are good for removing casting flange and junk from inside things like 60% castings.

    Old drumsticks are around half inch ,and single ones mismatched,or used ones can be found for about a dollar, made from maple, cherry, or walnut at a music instruments store, they make good handles for small files, the one pictured is about 3/4" ,and I took the extra step of cutting a shallow channel for the wire.

    The small file sets of files, like from harbor freight, can use even smaller dowels if you want, there is a square one that is usually exactly the size of frame rails, don't be shy, pop open the package and check to find the ones exactly the right size, oversized is good too,so you can make safe faces to deepen without widening the channel. I got tired of waiting for my $65:eek:ne from Bronnels, that file is better, but these can be found just about anywhere.

    These are from Fire Mountain Jems jewelry supply, about $10 per set, very handy, especially with 1/4" or so handles on them , gives more leverage and control. I bought a set from harbor freight that were too dull for stainless, these cut it like butter. For $50 or so you can get diamond ones, they also have lots of smithin' uses.

    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
    ZoidMeister likes this.
  2. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
    @PaulM , you'll like this tip!

  3. PaulM

    PaulM Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2016
    Very cool DIY tip, thanks for sharing!

    Thanks, I do have a thing for files! Agree about sourcing files, I don't buy files from Brownells aside from a few of their specialty files (barrel lug and checkering for example). Also check McMaster-Carr and MSC for huge selections and good prices on files.
    ForesterPumice likes this.
  4. pistolwretch

    pistolwretch Dremel jockey Supporting Addict

    Aug 26, 2011
    Otto Frei has the best prices on high quality needle files.
    PaulM likes this.
  5. Bender

    Bender Supporting Addict Supporting Addict

    Aug 15, 2011

    We used to get files for compressor blades there.
  6. ForesterPumice

    ForesterPumice Not a Gunsmith, but learning more everyday.

    Sep 23, 2016
    I'm not familiar with that outfit, I'll check them out, I need to upgrade some files, I have bins and bins of them, but most are dull. And I tend to ruin them by purpose grinding safe faces, etc.

    I need a checkering file, do they go by any other names? Or where can I get a cheap one to try it out?

    EDIT, FRIE FILES, I have some Swiss watch makers watches, some of them might be that brand, looking into them.

    Glardon-Vallorbe Checkering Pillar Precision Files - LP1136
    Choose from Multiple Cuts:
    Anyone know Which of these checkering files would be equivalent to 25 lpi? On frie web site
    I love tools!
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
  7. PaulM

    PaulM Well-Known Member

    Mar 7, 2016

    Get high quality files...I buy them a few at a time as it adds up and they'll last a long time and perform way better. I too had a box of them as I ordered a few different Chinese sets hoping to save a buck.

    Grobet, the non-Chinese Nicholson, and GV are the way to go!

    I just ordered two from them, they put them on sale every once in a while. Just finished one at 10-15% and as you know their shipping is top-notch even to my side of the country.
  8. ForesterPumice

    ForesterPumice Not a Gunsmith, but learning more everyday.

    Sep 23, 2016
    Absolutely agree with high quality files, it equals speed.

    I'll post a pic when I get to my storage that will make you want to cry, surrounded with rust n crud, maybe 200+ swiss, Italian, German, files, most probably cost around 30-40$ each in the 80's, I inherited them from the man I apprenticed silversmithing withs wife a couple years ago. ..if they had just oiled or sprayed wd40....huge tangle of heartbreaking rust. All shapes, watchmaker ones as well, tiny little guys. I've been cleaning them a few at a time with brass brush, most have lost the edges, but some are recoverable. Hate neglected tools. The 260 pounds of 12" mandrels from 1/32" all the way to 7" makes up for it tho. Circle and oblong. But those files....

    I have been checking out the website, one at a time, build it back up!

You need 3 posts to add links to your posts! This is used to prevent spam.

Draft saved Draft deleted