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Non-Tapered Square File

There is a company, you may know of it, called Gesswein. 

I went to yesterday - they have the standard files. They
have a die-sinker’s tool like a modern filing machine, but it takes
standard files. Somebody asked me personally about this, today, and
it made me wonder. I have MSC’s Big Book - 4" of machine tools, also
McMaster-Carr and a couple of others - machinery, not jewelry. No
non-tapered square files. American Pattern files have less taper, but
still some. Plus those are American pattern… But David’s right and
it made me remember - old filing machines used straight files of
various shapes. That’s one of those things that if you tried to
track them down you’ll get grungy old files for your year of looking,
though. Filing machines are pretty well gone from the mainstream, as
far as I know, and metal planers aren’t far behind them.

I have a small die filer:

and have been adapting standard files for use since the factory ones
are long gone… I have been unable to find any true square ones to
adapt. The machine pulls the file from what would be the point. Some
small tapered ones can work since the tapered point goes into the
adapter. Other wise pillar files can be used. The application they
were used for has pretty well been taken over by CNC wire EDM and
CNC milling.


Regarding straight sided files, all the ones in my toolbox are of
the type “grundy old files for your year of looking,” I prowl
garage sales and flea markets looking for old tools of all types
since they just don’t make a lot of the older styles, or they are
made poorly today. Old and grungy is okay as long as the file is not
damaged and will clean up and cut properly.

I have also modified a few files when necessary by annealing,
grinding to shape, chiseling in the teeth, and then reharding. It is
a lot of work but if you enjoy metalsmithing, then you get a special
satisfaction of making your own tool to your specifications. Just my
two cents worth.

Jim DeRosa