After my tips on saw piercing I thought it might be a good idea to
start a tread where us older generation metalbashers could pass on
some benchwork tips.
I hope some of you have tried saw piercing across the bench pin at
right angles to your eyeline as I said before this means you can see
where the saw is going, rather than where it has been. This method
also makes the sighting of and the blowing off of dust along the
piercing line much easier.
My next tip is about my collection of needle files, I use steel
files and have all shapes, sizes and cuts. They sit on my bench in a
length of wood that has holes, the size of the file handles, drilled
halfway through. This makes the choice of file easy. For filing
difficult areas some of my older files have the first half inch of
their tips ground down on a grindstone, I have some crossing files
files that I have ground off one side giving me knife edged semi half
round files. I do the same grinding on some safety back needle files,
giving me knife edged flat faced files with a safety back.
These files are ideal when filing interior, saw pierced angles,
leaving a knife sharp angle rather than the usual finish that has a
slight square the size of whatever sawblade you use. I also grind
shapes on three square and square needle file. When grinding the tips
of the files, it is important that you take your time and not over
heat the file, I have a cup of water by the grindstone and cool the
file tips after each touch of the electric grindstone wheel.
I assumed that these methods of altering needle files were common
knowledge, but I have a young friend who has learned her trade from
college only and she is surprised by my simple suggestions when I
show her my methods of benchwork. It never occured to her to alter
the shapes of her tools to suit the job. I am in the process of
shaping up some cheap jewellers hammers for her, once shaped on the
grindstone and then polished, these hammers will last her a lifetime,
I shape the hammers to various chasing tool shapes which makes the
metal shaping of the flowers she makes much easier. I hope this all
makes sense, it is intended for newbys so I appologise to those who
do the above anyway.
Ten days to the publication of my book of work!!!
Peace and good health to all
James Miller FIPG