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Hardening EN8?

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Dr_GMJN30/07/2020 21:09:19
1230 forum posts


I'd like to make some small hardened filing buttons for a brass fork end. I've used all my silver steel, so is it possible to use EN8 instead, if so what's the procedure?

I've also got some stainless, which might be tough enough compared with the brass to to the job at this size.


Paul Kemp30/07/2020 21:27:26
699 forum posts
18 photos

I don't harden them, doesn't do your file any good if you run down on them! If you don't touch them it doesn't matter anyway. Easy enough to make so just make them as needed and if you wear en out either turn them to a smaller size or scrap em.


Andrew Johnston30/07/2020 21:39:55
6390 forum posts
682 photos
Posted by Paul Kemp on 30/07/2020 21:27:26:

I don't harden them...............

Likewise; I make them from EN1A or EN3B, use them once or twice and then recycle.


Dave S30/07/2020 22:01:53
300 forum posts
61 photos

I thought the point of filing buttons was that they were dead hard and so the file just skated over them?


Dr_GMJN30/07/2020 22:23:46
1230 forum posts

Thanks all.

Like Dave, I thought the whole point was that you file the part to the profile of the button?

If the button gets filed as well there doesn’t seem much point apart from it being a kind of rough 3D guide.

Jim Nic30/07/2020 22:57:03
362 forum posts
202 photos

Filing buttons are best left free to rotate so that when the file touches them they just turn under it without getting reduced in size themselves while holding the file off the workpiece.


Ramon Wilson30/07/2020 22:57:27
1237 forum posts
330 photos

Hi Dr G,

En8 will through harden if heated and quenched similar to silver steel and should be okay for filing button use.

With regard to buttons, the hardened type should be held to the part so that they are not moveable - the file skating over as has been stated. This does not affect a file unduly unless very heavy handed though it will wear prematurely

The soft type are best set up to rotate as the file touches them - this will prevent the file rapidly changing their shape!

FWIW I prefer the former as soft buttons are quickly disfigured - just remember to keep both buttons together on a twist of wire once stored - saves a lot of time searching for the matching button!!

Regards - Ramon



Edited By Ramon Wilson on 30/07/2020 22:57:57

Nicholas Wheeler 130/07/2020 23:00:42
814 forum posts
59 photos
Posted by Dr_GMJN on 30/07/2020 22:23:46:

Thanks all.

Like Dave, I thought the whole point was that you file the part to the profile of the button?

If the button gets filed as well there doesn’t seem much point apart from it being a kind of rough 3D guide.

Surely it just needs to be harder to file than the part you're making?

Bob Stevenson30/07/2020 23:01:58
579 forum posts
7 photos

For filing buttons and jigs that I going to use repeatedly, such as clock wheel centres, I harden them and have never noticed any damage to files, and anyway the file hardly touches them........For 'one use' filing guides and jigs I don't harden as they are going to be dumped after the part is made

Dr_GMJN30/07/2020 23:04:48
1230 forum posts

OK thanks all. I’d rather go down the hardened route, it’ll be easier for me to clamp them in place accurately I think.

pgk pgk31/07/2020 06:12:19
2422 forum posts
293 photos

Whist it's easy enough to knock up filing buttons when silver steel is in stock I've also found it handy to just dip into my stock of bearings (spares for my r/c helis) when the size called for is there. Particulary useful when draw filing.


JasonB31/07/2020 07:00:50
21967 forum posts
2531 photos
1 articles

I'm on the soft a free to turn side of the fence.

There should be no problem locating them just a pin through the hole in the part and the buttons will line them up and if you want them clamped tight then thread both ends of the pin for nuts.

Ron Laden31/07/2020 07:27:42
2255 forum posts
446 photos

I made my first buttons quite recently and just used some EN8 as is, used them to shape some alu parts, didn't have any problems.

Martin Kyte31/07/2020 08:10:00
2634 forum posts
46 photos

Well as you shouldn't really use brass files on steel the buttons should be brass too. However if you are leaving the buttons soft ensure they are good and thick. You will find that the outer edges of the button will get eroded first as you rough file to leave the carefull finishing to just touch the inner edges. It pays to give the edges of the button a coat of marking blue or felt tip of choice just to make thinks easier to see. I do harden buttons but only those that rotate.

regards Martin

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