Shop Tip #195
© Frank Ford 2006; Photo by FF

Ever need a really short file for working in cramped quarters?  I find it useful to take a regular old used eight-inch mill file and break it into small chunks.  It's easy to do - just stick the end in a vise and yank, or smack it with a hammer.  Files are very brittle, and break relatively easily.  Then just grind the sharp corners a bit so you don't cut yourself using the little shorty file you've just made.

Here's my latest use for such a file shard.  I was facing the ends of a couple hundred small brass parts, and when I cranked the lathe handle, I held the file between my second and third fingers. I was operating the on-off and collet release levers with my left hand, so as the lathe was slowing down, I'd touch the file to the end of the rotating part to knock off that little bur before removing the part.  It took almost no time, saved me having to do a second operation.