How to clean a metal file

Tips and tricks for the care and storage of goldsmith's tools

Good work comes from good tools! In order for the tools used to have a long service life, they should always be treated with extreme care. To protect tools from annoying rust, it is advisable to grease all pieces with oil or - even better - with acid-free vaseline. You should always avoid holding hardened steel tools such as tweezers, files, but also trassier points in the flame of the soldering fire. Otherwise their hardness is lost. Large tools as well as small tools are ideally stored separately from each other and drills, needle files, saws, etc. are sorted into a box with a subdivision.

It is also essential to avoid keeping your tools in your fur. For example, if a stone falls from the setting of the ring to be worked into the skin, it can be severely damaged by the tools in it.

Measuring instruments and angles

Since measuring instruments such as rulers and iron squares are used to tear out precise lines, special care should be taken with this type of tool to protect the edges. It is therefore not particularly advisable to leave the measuring instruments lying around under the rest of the tools on the workbench. Separate storage is mandatory! In order to keep the sensitive ends of screw compasses as well as the points of the route safe, you can simply put a cork on the pointed ends.


The following procedure can be used to remove the oil deposits stuck between the cutting edges of new files; the file is dipped in alcohol, then rubbed with charcoal and finally burned off. This will remove all oil residues. Files are often cleaned with the help of the file scraper. To attach the wooden handle to the files, drive the file into the wooden handle and never the other way around. If the holes are too small, you can simply enlarge them by burning them out so that the file fits perfectly.

Pliers and tin snips

So that the cutting edges of tin snips and nippers do not become unusable and have to be sharpened, you must absolutely never cut hard metals such as wire nails and nails from iron. These tools should only be used to machine soft metals. Pliers and scissors should always be well oiled. Since newly purchased pliers are often quite hardened, it is advisable to heat the tips until the steel has a yellow tint before use. Then the pliers are extinguished in water or oil. Unfortunately, sometimes it happens that the front of the pliers break off. There is still no reason to dispose of them. The broken pliers can be re-filed and hardened after they have previously been annealed. The pliers are now ready for use again.

Thread cutting dies and drawing dies

In order to achieve a perfect result, the cutting holes of the thread cutting die must be completely free of broken, old wire remnants. If you cannot unscrew this wire scraps with the help of flat-nose pliers, remove the remnants by carefully drilling out. For this you should use a twist drill that is roughly the same strength as the one that got stuck. Furthermore, if there are side holes, it is possible to saw in the stuck wire pin with a very fine saw and then unscrew it with a screwdriver.

There are also a few things to consider when using the cordurizing machine. When cutting the wire with the cording machine, you should not turn too quickly or too long. Otherwise there is a risk of overheating the die and the wire. As a result, the edges lose their sharpness. There is a risk that the wire will break easily. Constant and copious oiling is an advantage.

If there are unwanted metal chips in a threaded hole, the best way to remove them is to turn the wire back a few turns bit by bit. The regular cleaning of threads - as well as wire drawing dies is absolutely necessary.

By placing the iron in petroleum and then brushing it out, the oil and drawing wax residues encrusted in the holes are removed.

Saw bow

If you clamp your saw blade in the saw bow, you should always tighten the screws by hand and never with the help of pliers. If you turn too tight, the screw thread will soon be over-tightened and the saw blade will no longer be able to hold.

The same rules apply to the use of screw clamps and handle clamps. Saw and screw parts should be carefully oiled from time to time. If you oil the saw blade before use, it cuts the metal much more smoothly.

Solder pipe

The best place for the soldering tube is the soldering tube stand. Here you can set up the soldering tube vertically. For right-handers, it is best to place the holder on the left, for left-handers it is best to stand on the right. If you leave the soldering device lying around on the workbench, small, barely visible pilot lights can cause great damage. There is also the risk that the sensitive gas supply pipe could be dented if it is carelessly stored between all the other tools.

Solder pad

If you want to prevent the soldering carbon from bursting due to constant heating, wrap it with a strong binding wire. To get uneven soldering brushes flat again, you pull them flat on a coarse, porous stone or a wide sharpening file.

Archive contribution 07.09.2011