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Cleaning Files

My files are clogged up with aluminum and/or zinc ...

Hi Linda, I am an infrequent contributor since most often the
answers to questions posted are answered by the pros on this forum
and I am still a hobbyist. However, I have used a simple homemade
tool to clean files since the usually recommended file brush does
not, in my opinion work too well. The tool I made is as follows:

Take a piece of nickel silver, 20-22 gauge, 1 X 3 inches and with
the rollers of the rolling mill touching, or nearly so, create a
"knife-edge" on the 1 inch end by squeezing that end with the

This can be used as is or mounted in a convenient handle and pushed
against the file in the same direction as the file grooves. In a
short time the tool will have teeth that fit into the grooves and
will push out the imbedded softer metal. A quickie tool which also
works can be made using a short length of brass tubing which is
pinched close at one end and used as a pusher in a similar manner. I
have found this far more effective than a so-called file brush. Joe