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Myself writes: “While repairing mangled bolt threads with the corner of a flat file works, it’s far from ideal; the 90-degree angle removes more material than it should, and the finished threads are weaker as a result.  It’s also hard to guide unless the damage is relatively minor.

“Purpose-built thread files have teeth arranged in common thread pitches, and self-align when held at the right angle. The result isn’t quite as good as the original formed threads, but it’s better than the alternative.

“Most thread files are made from square bar stock, with four pitches represented on each end. P ick up one imperial and one metric thread file, and you’ll be ready for anything!”

The file pictured above is a metric one.  We found numerous versions available starting at around $9.

Thread Files [Froogle]


4 Responses to Reader Find: Thread Files

  1. Nick Carter says:

    You can also use a triangular file for cleaning up threads, as they are 60 degree. You should have one on hand anyway…

    The thread repair files can also be used as a poor man’s checkering file, if you need to work on a gunstock or sight.

  2. Bill says:

    These are great when you’re cutting a lot of threaded rod on site.

  3. Myself says:

    An angle grinder with a flap-wheel is my tool of choice for cleaning up threaded rod ends. It tends to hurl metal dust quite some distance, so I make sure to unpack something in a large cardboard box before I start the rod cutting, so I can do all my messy work inside the box. 🙂 Hand files definitely have the edge in low-volume, low-mess applications.

    I picked up a “knife file” quite by accident, I didn’t realize it wasn’t rectangular in profile like the others in the bin. It has about a 15-degree angle and really gets in there for cleaning up messy threads, and I’ve also found myself using it to break tape on packages, a sort of boxcutter that won’t cut skin.

    Nick, I just looked up “checkering file” and am enlightened! 🙂 Now I’ve got all sorts of ideas for things I want to texture. First on the list: Cheap flashlights! Why do you say “poor man’s”, though? Seems to me that having a bunch of different pitches available would be ideal for a gunsmith. Just figure out a way to chuck it into a reciprocating saw…

  4. Nick Carter says:

    I think real checkering files have rake angles optimized for cutting efficiently, although there are two types – ones that look like files and ones that only have a short cutting area and a bent handle for wood…

    A good gunsmithing book (or the Brownell’s catalog) shows all sorts of tools you won’t see anywhere else. (although jewelry catalogs like Rio Grande list checkering files as well as line gravers for fine texturing…)

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