September 12, 2010

What you hope is included with a used saw filer

When you buy used Foley or Foley-Belsaw equipment, chances are that you will deal with someone who knows nothing about it, like a relative of the original owner. If you are fortunate it will be in the building where it was used, allowing you and the seller to look for any items that should or could go with the filer. In order of importance, these include:

File holders; if there’s a file in the filer, you will have a pair, but there may be more.

Carrier bars, a minimum of one straight carrier, but possibly a crown carrier, a miter/back saw carrier, or others. As these are unpainted and have do not say “Foley” on them, the seller may not associate these with the machine.

For the F-61 filer, a pair of carrier gauges; I have only 1 set and they look homemade (page 7 of F-61 manual)

Instruction manual

Taper saw files



September 11, 2010

Transporting a Foley Automatic Saw Filer

Today I had the privilege to see a saw collection that he said was about 300, and I told him I thought there were more - like 100 more.  He also has an Acme saw filer on loan from a man who will never use it again, and it was my first look at one.  It is a massive machine, and would be very heavy and awkward to move.

The Foley filers are compact and lighter, but they are awkward to pick up and carry, and there are potential pitfalls to transporting them.  Aside from human injury, the cast iron that is the major material in a filer is a brittle metal and difficult to repair once broken.  Some of the various small levers on the front are cast aluminum, which is also subject to breakage and expensive welding or eBay replacement.

First, remove the electric motor, which has 4 bolts, along with the power cord.  This will lighten the filer and lower the high center of gravity.  Also remove the power switch linkage and light if there are any.  The light is an accessory you will want to take if it can be found.

Then decide how you want to carry it to your vehicle and where it will be positioned.  A filer should be secured with 2 to 4 nylon hold-downs.  It should never be allowed to slide in a truck bed or in the back of your car.  It may leak oil, grease, saw filings, or cigar ash, so put cardboard under it.

Before lifting it, familiarize yourself with the wing frame locking handles.  These are the bolts - one on the F-61 and 2 on the 387 - that allow the frame with the moving parts to swivel sideways.  These should be tight when you lift it, but once in your vehicle may be loosened and retightened to achieve a better balance.

With the wing frame set properly, the F-61 can be picked up from the left side by putting your left arm under the rear of the wing frame and your right hand where you choose.  Don't pick up by the file arm or grip any other moving part!  I weigh just under 140 and by myself can carry the F-61 or 387 without motor.

When you set the filer in your vehicle according to your carefully thought-out plan, slowly tilt it back and to one side.  Ideally you would have chunks of foam, old pillows or a dog bed, or wadded-up cardboard to help cushion it as it goes sideways and in transit.  You want to protect all those little parts and avoid placing too much stress on the cast iron frames in case there is an old crack or casting bubble.

As you'll see, it's an awkward chunk of hardware.  Strap it so it can't move in any direction while in transit.

Once at your shop and you have set the filer on a sturdy bench, have one or 2 big C-clamps and wood shims handy. Immediately clamp the filer to the bench with the shim between the clamp and filer.  Keep the brittle nature of cast iron in mind, and don't bear down hard on the clamp.  You just want to keep it from sliding forward and tipping off while you study it.

When I bought a full set of Foley equipment a few months ago, I was in a hurry to grab a good deal and to beat rush hour since it was in the next metro area east.  I didn't have cardboard in the car, so we went dumpster diving at Border's Books.

When screwing down the filer, note that it has 3 only factory holes so it will sit solidly at each point, again avoiding breakage. 


September 6, 2010

If you are looking for a Foley filer...

Please be patient and do not overpay.  In 4 months I found more machines than I needed on Craigslist within an hour or 2 away, and paid an average of $65 each.  My first one, a Model 61 filer, was in the next state.  The seller was passing through Richmond the next day and dropped it off at my house for an extra $25, and my total cost was less than his original price.

Some sellers, especially some on eBay, seem to have an inflated idea of what Foley filers are worth.  Based on my transactions and what I see on Craigslist across the country, there are quite a few Foley filers gathering dust.  Three of my buys were used in neighborhood sharpening shops in detached garages and had seen little or no use in 10 or 20 years.  The original owner may have passed away, and the seller will be a relative who will know very little about it.  So, please take your time looking.

I will be posting some links, but here's one for the Oshlun MTM-SD Side Dial Gauge (Set Gauge) for $48.98 on Amazon: