I've built a sizable collection of nut files over the years...  sometimes shuddering to think what the total investment has been, and that's what leads me to my question.

An increasing number of the oft-used ones have, over time, dulled.  I've already gone the route of breaking-off the ends to present a fresher surface area, but that can only be done so often.

Curious if anyone has experience with acid-sharpening nut files?  If so, what sort of acid and at what strength?  I'd also imagine there must be an optimum length of time for sharpening without causing irreversible damage.

Or maybe I'm hoping for a magic fix that ain't there?!  Curious about all comments... thanks. 

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Blatter is no longer...

I've tried vinegar on rusty bolts and such. It did some foaming but not much actual cleaning. If you had some acetic acid, which is the acid in vinegar, it might work but, I know from experience that it's almost as bad on your lungs as muriatic acid. 

Yeah I wanted to avoid that, and purchasing large quantities. Any experience with citric acid? I can get that in small bottles of crystals from the pharmacist for 5 bucks.

I haven't used concentrated citric acid but I really think that just about any acid would work if it i s strong enough. I think probably muriatic acid gets the most mention because it's easy to find, inexpensive and strong enough to do the job in a reasonable amount of time. It's used a lot in concrete/ masonry finish work. Around here, almost any "home box" store will have it in stock. Even Walmart carries it. A gallon is around $8.00 and you're not going to have to mix it before using it. 

Common Vinegar works well for rust but not much more. You will end up with a solution that will Ebonize tannic woods if you toss a little Steel Wool in it though. 

My daughter, a "word nut" and studying to be a linguist, just looked up the roots of the word aluminum. It seems that the British man credited with discovering it first named it "Alumium" taken from the Latin word Alum in 1808. Then he amended that name to "Aluminum"  (note spelling) "Which remains the U.S. word'.  In 1812 British editors, not the man credited with discovering the metal, changed the pronunciation to "Aluminium" (note spelling) with the intention of having it sound more like other metallic elements.


Their reasoning was;  "Aluminium, for so we shall take the liberty of writing the word, in preference to aluminum, which has a less classical sound." - "Quarterly Review" 1812

My daughter, who is actually a big fan of British English, says "it's a typical example of 19th century British linguistic snobbery".

She also tells me that English, unlike French and many other languages, has no governing body to determine what word or pronunciation constitute "correct" english. In a phrase, We are all right.  As an added bit if fun, it also means that our dictionaries are more a "guideline" than actual "rules". It's one of the reasons that English "words" number in the millions, rather than in the thousands. 

Rusty and  Steve, to my ear,  Aussies and Englishman do not sound the same anyway. 

I'm no linguist Ned, my Latin is very rusty, gave it up at school over forty years ago. But alum is garlic, while alumin is potash. But I have no idea what the root of the word is. You are not totally correct about pronunciation, there is what is known as 'received pronunciation' which is how English is supposed to be spoken. Though not even the BBC bother about it overly now. But you can start an argument over how 'scone' should be pronounced, there are at least 3 ways. Much of it is down to regional dialect, there are parts of the north east where no one can understand what is being said by who to whom.

Someone once said of the Brits and the Yanks that we are two countries separated by a common language, in Britain we are four countries separated by a common language. 

You gave me a laugh, Steve. I used to have a friend that came from Houma, Louisiana, USA. He said it was as far south as you could drive in a car without sinking into the swamp. His Cajun accent was so heavy that he had to say everything twice to be understood by me and our other friends... and that's no exaggeration. He got really tired of hearing us say "huh" all the time.

I've heard about the "received pronunciation" of english and understand that it's what is considered to be "proper British English" or "the Queen's English", or so I hear.  In the US we have our own version which is referred to as "American Standard English". It's something talked about in school usually followed by an explanation that it doesn't really exist since no one actually speaks it. 

I wasn't all that interested in Language studies when I was in school but my daughter has taught me loads in the last several years. One of the fascinations I've developed is the richness of the english language and how easily it incorporates new words, manages all the different accents and dialects while doing a pretty good job of maintaining definitions that usually make sense to all of us.

I read a book that my daughter passed to me a few years ago that explained a bit of the history of English. In it, the author explained that one of the reason for the worldwide spread of English was the British empire's need to worldwide communication. Schools were established and english was taught  primarily so that there would be a supply of local people who could write english.  A clerk in India may have had a very heavy accent and an odd timing to his speech from an Englishman's point of view but his written report was completely legible in England. It's actually quite an accomplishment.

I'm just a guy that grew up in the Ozark mountains (hillbilly country) so I'm pretty glad that I managed to be born in a place where I only needed to learn to understand a couple of hundred different accents and dialects rather than needing to learn a second language.  :)  

I spent years on bike racing teams with teammates from all over the world. Communication could be perfectly effective with very limited vocabularies.

The only person I could rarely understand was a Kiwi. I would beg him," Steve, for gods sake, just speak English!"

Sorry to be a contrarian, Steve, but alum is a salt with an aluminium base. Allium is the generic name for garlic.

With respect to spelling and pronunciation, the matter has been professionally settled. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) officially standardized on aluminium in 1990. This is why it is technically speaking incorrect to use aluminum in academic papers.

But not wishing to be a pedant, just go on doing what you do !

I stand corrected Dave. IUPAC tried at one point to force the US spelling of sulphur, sulfur, on us a while back, it didn't last! 

David, I once worked with an engineer from Clyde in Scotland on a RFA ship which was crewed by Kiwis, It was a miracle that anything got done as we couldn't understand each other. Added to that my chargeman was from Cork in Ireland it was a regular Tower of Babel.

My daughter's best friend is from S. Korea here to go to school. Her older sister went to England for the same reason. A big part of the point was to learn to speak english fluently. She told us that they have to speak Korean when they get together because her sister can't understand her American accent and she can't understand her sister's British accent. 


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