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Using a File (What am I doing wrong?)

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi...Long time, Listener; First Time Caller. Thanks for all the great tips. Typically I don't use a file to sharpen my edges. I try to use my diamond stones in progression because they're easier to use and I feel they don't take off as much metal as a typical file does. Inevitably, a few times a season I'll need to take out the file to put a "better" edge on my skis. Here's my problem (Only occurs while sharpening the side edge):

The Setup:
  • Ski in Vice on it's side. Base facing away from me. I try to work tip to tail.
  • Both my files are the type with diagonal teeth (Swix) with a "tail"
  • When tip is on my RIGHT (Working tip to tail) side I have no problem. The file moves smooth and takes a healthy and even amount off.
  • When tip is on my LEFT (Working tip to tail) the file doesn't work as well. But if I work tail to tip, it works fine
Questions:
  • What am I doing wrong?
  • Is it horrible to work tail to tip in this case?
Any help is appreciated.

~Leviathan~
post #2 of 18
You're not doing anything wrong.
It's just the way files are made.
They'll go well one way but not the other.
I was taught that you can file tail to tip if afterwards you go over it with diamond stones tip to tail.
post #3 of 18
So, if the tip is to your right, you would be *pushing* the file toward the tail of the ski, with the tang of the file following, right?

With the tip to your left, you would *pull* the file toward the tail. Again, with the tang following.

If you are doing it that way, it shouldn't make any difference, other than your technique. I would guess that a pushing motion works better for you.

Personally, I always have the base facing away from me, and I always pull. Yes, that means on one edge of each ski, I'm going tail to tip. I don't personally think that it hurts anything at all to go tail to tip.
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by U.P. Racer View Post

Personally, I always have the base facing away from me, and I always pull. Yes, that means on one edge of each ski, I'm going tail to tip. I don't personally think that it hurts anything at all to go tail to tip.
OK...I'm starting to feel better about myself now.
post #5 of 18
IMO don't worry about the tip to tail thing.

The metal doesn't care, it will get just as sharp. I have been doing it the easy way for years.

It the same with the diamond stones, they cut both way's.
post #6 of 18
Files are made to cut in one direction only. If you are using a machinist type file, hold the file in front of you at a 45 degree angle with the tang to the upper left. In this fashion, the file will cut on the downstroke on the surface facing away from you. A machinist will apply pressure during the downstroke and release the pressure on the upstroke. If this is a file section made for your hand sharpener, look at the edge closely. most of these will have an arrow marking the direction of downstroke. When you want to sharpen the other edge, simply remove the file section and turn it around to the other direction. Lastly, if you apply pressure to a file when moving in the wrong direction you will dull the file prematurely.

Karl
post #7 of 18
Always file tip to tail. Never file tail to tip.
post #8 of 18
Second that one the "file only cuts one way" .... run your finger down a file.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
Always file tip to tail. Never file tail to tip.
Ok...different opinions here. What's the reasoning for this?
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan View Post
Ok...different opinions here. What's the reasoning for this?
Don't pay attention to telemark skiers from Maryland....
post #11 of 18
or racers from the U.P. for that metter.







At that direction does not matter especially if you plan to polish the edges with a diamond or ceramic stone.


The thought behind sharpening tip to tail is that the file leaves striations in the metal, going from tip to tail it causes less friction going downhill. This is minimal, and you should polish your edges anyway, so direction should not matter.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY GS View Post
The thought behind sharpening tip to tail is that the file leaves striations in the metal, going from tip to tail it causes less friction going downhill. This is minimal, and you should polish your edges anyway, so direction should not matter.
Another line of reasoning is the fact that you would be running the plate of the file guide the wrong way down the base, theoretically raising microscopic hairs in the process. This could potentially slow your skis down to a certain extent. In practice, I have a hard time believing that anyone could possibly notice a difference.. (and I'm as meticulous as anyone when it comes to tuning)

If you are truly THAT worried about going tail to tip, you could put base tape on your base first.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY GS View Post
The thought behind sharpening tip to tail is that the file leaves striations in the metal, going from tip to tail it causes less friction going downhill. This is minimal, and you should polish your edges anyway, so direction should not matter.
Seeing as how the striations are going to be longitudinal along the edges, how would they matter anyway?

There might be bumps jumps across the edge from starting/stopping a file (bad technique, I would say). These would cause friction or bad edge feel. But these are going to occur no matter what end you start at.
post #14 of 18
But if you polish afterwards with a diamond, going tail to tip shouldn't matter. Just remember to do a quick diamond or stone run before you file in case you have any work hardened burrs from hitting a stone.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan View Post
Hi...Long time, Listener; First Time Caller. Thanks for all the great tips. Typically I don't use a file to sharpen my edges. I try to use my diamond stones in progression because they're easier to use and I feel they don't take off as much metal as a typical file does. Inevitably, a few times a season I'll need to take out the file to put a "better" edge on my skis. Here's my problem (Only occurs while sharpening the side edge):

The Setup:
  • Ski in Vice on it's side. Base facing away from me. I try to work tip to tail.
  • Both my files are the type with diagonal teeth (Swix) with a "tail"
  • When tip is on my RIGHT (Working tip to tail) side I have no problem. The file moves smooth and takes a healthy and even amount off.
  • When tip is on my LEFT (Working tip to tail) the file doesn't work as well. But if I work tail to tip, it works fine
Questions:
  • What am I doing wrong?
  • Is it horrible to work tail to tip in this case?
Any help is appreciated.

~Leviathan~
Leverage. That's your answer. You are simply able to keep consistent pressure on the file better when working with the base away from you and you are pushing forward and pulling the guide towards you rather than pushing forward as well as pushing away from you. I have experienced the same thing.

The metal does not care which direction you go. Your aim should be for smooth and even pressure on the edge while filing. As others have said just make sure you have the file facing the right direction. The cutting teeth have to be leaning toward direction you are filing.
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Wow..Thanks for all the detailed responses everyone. I'm feeling better now. I'll just go in the direction that I'm comfortable with and polish with my diamond stones afterwards.

Richie-Rich: I grew up in Seaford.
post #17 of 18
Cool, I'm in Merrick.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan View Post
I'll just go in the direction that I'm comfortable with and polish with my diamond stones afterwards.
Just don't go edge to edge. :
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