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Old 04-12-2010, 09:19 PM   #1
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Straighten a fine grade metal file


I have a fine grade metal file that has a slight bow ( 0.010 ) in the middle. It's a 12" x 1" x 1/4" file. Can this file be straightened? Please explain how to if it can be.......Tom

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Old 04-13-2010, 05:54 AM   #2
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Straighten a fine grade metal file


The quick answer is no. Files are tempered to be very hard, which also makes them brittle. If you heat it, you remove the temper.

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Old 04-13-2010, 05:38 PM   #3
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Straighten a fine grade metal file


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I have a fine grade metal file that has a slight bow ( 0.010 ) in the middle. It's a 12" x 1" x 1/4" file. Can this file be straightened? Please explain how to if it can be.......Tom
Tom, what do you need to file that would be of issue with a tool that is .01 out of plane?
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:26 AM   #4
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Straighten a fine grade metal file


An aluminum engine head. Running a true fine grade file across the combustion chamber side can indicate warped or bowed heads....
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Old 04-14-2010, 12:44 AM   #5
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Straighten a fine grade metal file


you should simply use a long straight edge and if necessary to measure the unevenness, a feeler gauge.

a file is not designed to where flatness is truly a requirement as only a small part of the file is intended to be in contact with the metal being abraded at any given time.

another method would be to apply machinists bluing and then using a well trued granite table, adhere fine emery cloth in an area greater than the length of the head, to the table and work the head across the cloth. I generally use a thick pane of glass in place of the granite table as I generally do not have access to a granite table. glass is generally accurate enough to do a good job if you use thick (3/8" plus) and a supporting table under it. If the glass is too thin, it will flex a lot and cause more damage than you had to start with.

the other problem you will have is your file is only 12" long. That would be fine for checking the short way across but lengthwise, your straight edge needs to be as long , or actually longer, as the full length of the head. Using your file method, you could remove the short dimension unevenness but end to end could be greatly out of plane since you have no way to check it or machine it.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:16 AM   #6
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Straighten a fine grade metal file


Having worked on many engines, both for racing and street use, I agree with nap. Do not use the file on an engine block to determine "flatness". IF you have an auto aluminum engine block DO NOT use this method--PERIOD!. As nap stated: a known "true" flat edge and feeler gauges or feeler strips is a preferred method. If this is an aluminum auto engine block I would not hesitate to take it to a local auto machine shop to have the deck height and flatness checked. If this is a small engine block, the granite/glass pane works good. David
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:11 PM   #7
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Straighten a fine grade metal file


Thanks for all your valuable input. Wonder how the file got that way in the first place. It sounded like i had an aluminum block when actually the head is aluminum (GM v-6)..I will take them to a auto machine shop. They say for 10.00 a set they will check for cracks and flatness or warpage. If all's within specs they will re-surface fly cut them for 15.00 extra a head.

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