Hand Tools Archive

Re: Float Question
Response To:
Re: Float Question ()

John Aniano in Central NJ
Steve, et. al.,

Good discussion!

I've made several floats over the years and used old files as the blanks. I heated them to get the tempering color to just past blue, almost gray, and although hard, you can still file them into floats. As long as the tool's edge isn't super long, at 1/8" wide, it's not all that bad to file the teeth by hand. Maybe take 10-15 minutes for, say a 4-5" long cutting edge. Use as big a 3-corner file as you can find. I got some at the local flea market that are ~3/4 wide on a side. Must have been for filing circular saws. Also quite aggressive.

I've never done the hardening treatment; was easy to touch up with a file when not cutting well...

The widest float I've made was 1/2" wide and I use it to define the non 90 degree corner of my violin bow's ivory (now faux ivory) tips. One side cuts, the other is safe. It took over an hour to file these teeth over a 4" long cutting edge. So, yes, consider buying the wider floats unless you have a horizontal milling machine...


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