Decorative File Work on Tang Advice

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Outdoor Gear Dad, Oct 23, 2020.

  1. Outdoor Gear Dad

    Outdoor Gear Dad Gold Member Gold Member

    167
    Jun 1, 2019
    Hello BF, I needed a break from my normal knife stuff today so decided I would try my hand at some file work. Had some scrap steel laying around. I dont have a good file set nor did I have Epoxy dye so I used leather dye and my crappy files.

    The result is nowhere near perfect, but I realized I could probably start practicing at this and get better. So couple questions.

    1) can anyone recommend a good set of files to do this kind of work? If there isn't a "set" but rather individual files I would need, that's fine.

    2) I know I need Epoxy dyes, but are there better brands than others?

    3) Any other tips, tricks, or things you wish would have known when you were first starting out with this kind of work. Anything and everything is appreciated.
    IMG_6318.jpg IMG_6316.jpg
     
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  2. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    747
    Apr 17, 2017
    The Swiss or German needle files are very good, Rio Grande carries several different brands. I bought Frederick Dick files, they do a good job and last a long time. Stay the hell away from the cheap HF needle files, they will break your heart.
     
  3. kdnolin

    kdnolin Basic Member Basic Member

    280
    Jan 16, 2017
    4BF309F2-14BA-43CA-BC5E-D07D7F748D80.jpeg 858A3956-C175-49EA-83F0-660F8B4D8756.jpeg https://www.instructables.com/Vine-filework-for-knives/
    I got thins link from @Willie71
    Helped me out a lot. I found it easier than it looks. I used a small chainsaw file and triangular file. This was my first try.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2020
  4. TheEdge01

    TheEdge01

    Apr 3, 2015
    Irwin needle files are fairly decent and a set costs less than 20 bucks.
     
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  5. Outdoor Gear Dad

    Outdoor Gear Dad Gold Member Gold Member

    167
    Jun 1, 2019
    Thanks I’ll check those out.
     
  6. TheEdge01

    TheEdge01

    Apr 3, 2015
    Oops!!! They’re actually Cobalt brand, not Irwin. They are still good to go though especially for the price.
     
  7. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    Lee Valley sells good ones too.
     
  8. Storm W

    Storm W KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    521
    Feb 19, 2019
    My Stihl chainsaw dealer sells some nice ones at a good price.
     
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  9. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 6, 2000
    Filework looks best when it is polished, in my opinion. Filling it up with epoxy is the easy way out. What if you do filework on a blade?
    Most epoxy dyes are about the same.
    File work is much easier with a rotary tool.
     
  10. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    Your vine seems to grow from the tip towards the handle.
    I would have done it the other way around, having the last thorn flow in to the tip
     
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  11. kdnolin

    kdnolin Basic Member Basic Member

    280
    Jan 16, 2017
    Good idea, I never gave that part any thought. I’ll do it on the next one.
     
  12. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    747
    Apr 17, 2017
    Check out Dwayne Dushane’s filework examples (he has a dvd out also).
    I imagine there are others as good, his is the only one I’ve seen personally.
     
  13. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    TIP:
    Try to bring the thorns to a sharp point and don't grind them away so much in handle fitting.
    Same for the vines - make them a smooth curve with no flat on the side.
     
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  14. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 3, 2005
    Yours looks better than the one in the linked tutorial!
    I would find several examples that look really good and then look closely at exactly what the pattern is, what shapes are needed and the corresponding tools, then sketch it out and go from there.
     
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  15. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Remember, if the filework will be under the scales, the only part that will be seen is the exposed spine. Cut as deep and ugly on the sides of the tang as needed to get the desired spine look, because it will be filed with resin. Actually, rough filing on the sides of the tang makes for better resin adhesion.
     
  16. kdnolin

    kdnolin Basic Member Basic Member

    280
    Jan 16, 2017
    The pics I posted are pre heat treat, I just got it back yesterday so now I have to clean up the decarb and touch up the pattern. Definitely a learning curve to it, but still not as hard as it looks.
     
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  17. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    The Stihl files are made by pferd. Or at least they were 6 or 7 years ago when I looked them up. Those are my favorite files.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
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  18. Storm W

    Storm W KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    521
    Feb 19, 2019
    I know both Stihl and Husqvarna have rebranded items. Their axes are about half the price of the original brand and are a huge bargain. It would make sense that the files are really good for the price.
     
  19. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    corrected my post. They are made by pferd. My favourite files in my shop.
     
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  20. Outdoor Gear Dad

    Outdoor Gear Dad Gold Member Gold Member

    167
    Jun 1, 2019
    Yeah this was just a sample piece. There was not tip or butt. Just a scrap piece of steel and micarta.
     

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