They make small wire brushes for this very purpose. You should be
able to find them at a hardware store. (Think small bristle brush with
brass wire bristles.) You can also use a B-B-Q wire bristle brush (for
cleaning off all the cooked on gunk on the grill if you can't find
something at the hardware store.
Hope that helps,
That's true for larger files. Some of the tiny needle files I have are
so finely cut that the file card's wires are too thick to clean out the
grooves. For those I use small stainless stell brush with plasic
handle (like others here have mentioned). That brush has much finer
wires which can clean out the small file's grooves. Yes I do have file
card and I know it doesn't work well on my tiny files.
For really stubborn metal filngs which don't want to come out I use
older #11 Exacto knife blade. I just place the blade's point in the
groove and pick out the stubborn filing.
For really stubborn styrene you can soak the file in lacquer thinner or
acetone overnight. It will dissolve the plasic.
I've also heard that packing the file with chalk prevents it from
getting clogged up.
| > Count DeMoney wrote:
| > > Spent the morning going through my tools and doing some cleaning and
| > > general housekeeping. Now for the files. Other than the "file card"
| > > does anyone have any tricks to clean up my needle files as well as the
| > > larger ones. They have really loaded up with plastic and even some
| > > resin. Thanks (:>
| > >
The best implement I've found for cleaning needle files is a small brass
brush. The bristles are much finer than on the file card. Brushes like
these are available in brass, tin, and steel at your local hardware store.
I use an old tooth brush or if its real stubborn a small brass wire
brush. Many many years ago in HS we were told the way to keep files
clean was to run them thru chalk which seems to keep a lot of the pieces
from sticking. This for metal but may work for plastic too.
I spent the first three months of my apprenticeship filing a metal block
into a cube and learning how to file square and flat while earning many
The chalk trick is apply the chalk to the file while using it , to
prevent pinning ,which is the ability of some metals to trap particles
in the file ,which causes bad scoring of the surface you are filing.
I'm not sure if it works with plastic.
The best practice is to clean the file regularly while using it so it
dosen't load up with filings to the point where it becomes filled with
the material you are filing.
"I'm not young enough to know everything."
The brass suede brush, lacquer thinner and an x-acto knife for really
stubborn chunks are all good advice,
Do NOT use a file card made with steel wires. I've seen them, but
don't know why. Maybe they are cheap, but will dull the file.
I haven't tried the chalk trick, but I do recommend filing plastic
with a little water. Works just like wet sanding. Keeps the file from
loading up. As long as you pat dry the file and store it with all
sides exposed so it can air dry quickly (like with the tang down in a
hole) it won't rust. Done it for years and never had a problem with
loading or rusting.
Another tip. Needle files, which most modelers have on their benches,
are availible in different "grits". The most common is #2. Look around
at better tool supply stores and you'll be able to find #0 (coarse)
and #4 (fine). The numbers should be stamped on the tang.
Greg Reynolds, IPMS
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