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Sveinn Kallinen

Where do you guys buy your files?

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Hey,

 

I have been trying to source some good files for a week or so, and I am wondering where you guys order your files from. right now, I have a 12" mill bastard hardware store nicholson, and I have heard that the hardware store files are cheaper quality. anyways, I have heard lots about simonds multi-kut, and nicholson magicut, but i seem to be having a hard time finding them somewhere I can order them from.

 

Also, related to this topic, is what is your favorite files in sequence from course, to final file before sandpaper? are double cut any good? can you go both ways, or do you only "draw" or just "push" the file? Don Fogg on Arctic fire 2021 demonstrates files cutting both ways. I trust Don's experiance, but is this the correct way? I'm curious.

 

Sveinn

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I found the Simmonds Multi-Cut here, but you have to buy a whole box:

 

http://www.sawbladestore.com/multi-kut-flat-files/

 

Maybe you could get someone to split a box with you.

 

I haven't ordered from here, so I can't speak for their service.

 

Don

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Order from MSCDirect or McMaster-Carr. Do not order Nicholsons. I used to preach the difference between the hardware store ones and the industrial ones, because the industrial supply house-sold ones were half again thicker and harder. Then last month I ordered a new batch of my go-to sizes.

 

It turns out that Cooper Tools has sold Nicholson to some greed-based investment consortium who moved production to Mexico. The new production Mexican Nicholsons are useless. I mean, they are still half again thicker than hardware store ones, but they are badly mis-struck in the cutting machines. The 16" mill bastard I ordered had one long-side corner where the teeth did not even touch, leaving a useless edge. I grind one edge safe anyway, but on this one it was so misaligned I had to grind a full 1/16" off just to get close to the teeth!

 

The 6" ones are somewhat better, but seem to be a little soft and prone to pinning. That's when a little chip or "pin" of steel gets caught in the teeth and gouges a big scratch across the work. The long-angle lathe file is just plain useless it's so badly struck. I'm heartbroken, because I havn't found any replacement for the big Nicholson. Simmonds are great, but they don't make one that big. I'm thinking about Pferd, but the American distributors don't stock the big ones. Grobet would be nice as well, but they stopped even making big ones. I'd love to sue the new parent company of Nicholson for being bastards, but I don't think they'd even notice. All I can do is tell everyone not to buy the new ones because they are worthless. :angry:

 

Look at my hawk tutorial in the hot work subforum, I describe the file sequence I use there.

 

As for double-cuts, they're fine for rough work, but they leave a ridged surface and must be followed by single-cuts OR finer double cuts. You can push or draw with any file, just always lift on the return stroke when push-filing, and when you can if drawfiling. Your file will last longer and will leave a smoother surface.

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Gah! That is horrible news Alan. I'm glad I know though, pitty you had to find out the hard way. I'll spread the word.

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I just use the ones I get from yard sales. They do the job, but I, the impatient teenager, prefers to use an angle grinder.

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Yea, right now I'm primarily using the large course files to fix all the little divots made by my grinder. also, i decided i didn't like the hollow grind on one of my current knives and i am "gently removing it"

 

Thanks for the unfourtunate news alan. it sucks but but i'm glad you found out before i dropped alot of cash on files.

 

thanks for the leads nate.

 

Sveinn

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I have been buying some Forney brand made in China .They are actually pretty good, not the best quality but good .The price is right,the 12" single cut flat bastard is only $4 and has larger than normal grooves and it really takes of material fast. I use one for maybe half a dozen blades and then it can be recycled :D

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I buy all my files, mostly simonds, from jantz knifemaking supply, they've got a pretty extensive selection

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I swear by my big 14 in Simonds coarse single cut (it left a finer finish than the American Nicholsons of the same size and cut faster). I have that and an 8 inch one. those are the only flat ones I have, never needed more (though loads of round and half round ones). The mexican Nicholsons are expensive scrap and are not worth buying. I have never had such a bad file. I by mine from McMaster Carr (like Alan) and the Simonds are worth every penny. Especially the black oxide ones.

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Also, I have seen dozens on drawfiling tutorials and not once have i seen anything about where the plunge would be. do you simply file right up and over? or go to a point and stop?

 

thanks for all the feedback guys, I'm really happy the forum is around to get some straight answers from :P

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also, if I were to place an order on McMaster, go for the big files, black oxide is preferable, and should I get course single, and medium single? the course single cut hardware store Nicholson I have is a ready finish to go to 120 with, so not sure if I would be better off getting paper and just course cut.

 

Sorry if I'm bothering you guys with all these silly questions, it's not that i want you to decide for me, but that I really want to learn from the people who have learned the hard way.

 

Sveinn

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Put a safe edge into the file so it would just harmlessly tap the plunge, or what I do is take a pair of vise grips and clamp it over the plunge in such a way that my file can't hit it. I just clean that area up with a stone or sandpaper

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a stone? like a waterstone?

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Or an EDM stone. Clamp a bar to the blade at the plunge to keep from screwing it up.

 

Going back to files, helpful hint: the current crop of black oxide Craftsman files from Sears are actually Simonds.

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Too bad it would take me as long to drive to a Sears and back as just ordering them ;)

 

So black oxide are definitely better files then?

 

Also, I seem to recall though i can't find the post, that some of you guys like to buy rolls of sandpaper as opposed to sheets, do you get them from the same suppliers? I've heard to avoid SC and AO for belts, but does it hold true for paper? Is paper backed or cloth backed better? It seems most of the tutorials I found mention grit and kinda suggest to just go try tons of stuff that doesn't work till you find one you like.

 

Sveinn

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I just use whatever wet-or-dry paper sheets the auto parts place has, but supposedly Norton Black Ice is the best if you can find it.

 

Black oxide just means it won't rust as fast.

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Well, if the files are like the one I killed today, rust is no issue....

 

Thanks very much for the info guys.

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I normally get my files from two places Tractor Supply (TSC) or a welding Supply Co they have very good LG files as well as sm ones.

 

Sam

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So what's the latest word on the quality of files available from McMaster?

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I love McMaster-carr, they are wonderful in customer service. Everything I order is here within two days, at regular shipping costs (they are in NJ, and I am in CT. This may have an effect on the shipping time).

 

Black oxide seems to rust more slowly, and to PIN less. It has always been said (meaning I think this is true, but I am only repeating what I have read and heard) that pinning and the subsequent galling of your work happens when the energy from filing causes small pieces of steel to actually weld themselves to your file.

 

As we all know, steel covered with oxides doesn't weld as well as steel without. Whatever, for me, the black oxide files seem to pin less. This is a great improvement (the magicuts and their kin also seem to pin less).

 

The formerly-Swedish Bahco Oberg (maybe just Bacho now, they did some shuffling) makes good files. I hope they don't go downhill with the new era of production.

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I am going to revive this zombie thread from the dead. Alan, do you know the status of the current craftsman files ?

A really beginner question but using google searches of the forum didn't turn anything up. What types of files do I need ? How many knives will my file last ?

I was thinking of buying a set of assorted used metalworkers files on ebay with a mix of Nicholson and other brands, they can be had at about 20 for $30 is that a terrible idea ? I know beginners of every hobby try to do this and it never works, but I really don't want to spend too much, and after I make a few blades that I'm happy with I'll build a grinder.

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Bump ?

 

Perhaps not many people check out this part of the forum. If there are no replies by tonight I guess I'll start a new thread in the beginners section.

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I am going to revive this zombie thread from the dead. Alan, do you know the status of the current craftsman files ?

A really beginner question but using google searches of the forum didn't turn anything up. What types of files do I need ? How many knives will my file last ?

I was thinking of buying a set of assorted used metalworkers files on ebay with a mix of Nicholson and other brands, they can be had at about 20 for $30 is that a terrible idea ? I know beginners of every hobby try to do this and it never works, but I really don't want to spend too much, and after I make a few blades that I'm happy with I'll build a grinder.

 

I have no idea about Craftsman files, but I will say that you will always use files. Even after you buy a grinder, you will use files. I use files on every single knife I make, and I have a grinder.

 

Buy assorted kinds of files. Bastards, half-rounds, rounds, rough cut, medium cut, fin cut... honestly, all of them will be useful. I use them for just about everything. Breaking edges, filing in swages, cleaning up spines, and flats, shaping handles... you name it. If properly cared for, good files will last a long time. Get a file card to clean the teeth, and clean the teeth constantly while you are working.

Edited by Wes Detrick

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Thanks Wes. I happened to be in Home Depot and found a 10" coarse Nicholson bastard file. I know that the new Mexican ones aren't great and I've heard that the big chain store files are made of lesser quality but for $7 ...

Are these push only ?

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