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Alex Middleton

File lifespan?

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I realize that it's a subjective question, but how much life should you get out of a good bastard file?  I have a 14" Simonds that I've used pretty heavily for my last half dozen knives or so.  Based on recent performance, it's time for it to be replaced.  I'm just not sure if it's worth buying another one or going to a different brand.

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I have a bunch of old American nicholsons which I thought were fine until I got a nice sharp mercer brand file and I sharpened one of the old ones with a diamond file. 

 

The mercer file I have is just a 4", I almost got a 10" flat file of the same brand today but i just got a bunch of grinder belts, they are very very affordable though, about 1$ an inch for regular types. I got it from empire abrasives. 

 

The file I sharpened was probably a 14" Nicholson but some idiot cut it in half, the teeth were large enough that I could sharpen them with a diamond needle file. 

 

It should take little force to use a file, it can be quite pleasant, but not so much with a dull file. 

 

There is a place that sharpens files by sandblasting them, it's also fairly easy to cut or stitch your own files or rasps which I strongly recommend trying, I have cut teeth into a stick tang to use it as a broach before. Be sure to search for "file cutting" or "rasp stitching" or you won't get what you want.

 

you might also be interested in sen scrapers for heavier removal.

 

Be careful though, nice tools will spoil you.

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I figure on 100 hawk heads per file, but that's the old USA Nicholsons.  Zero work for the Mexico file-shaped Nicholson objects, everything else is somewhere in between. 

 

I'm not familiar with Mercer, I'll look them up.

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My gut feel was that it didn't last anywhere near as long as it could have.  I'm sure some of it was due to abuse and not just use, but I think I'll try a different brand and see what happens.  I dont mind spending extra money for higher quality tools, I just like to know that there is at least potentially a return on the investment. 

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Where was that 14" Simonds made, Alex? I've been mostly ordering their files at work, the last seven years, but I've had really varied results depending on country (well, factory) of origin.
The smaller (say, 6") files I get are marked Honduras, and seem pretty decent, if not phenomenal.

 

Some of the other stuff... :/

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Sadly even good files wear out eventually. Filing blade steel is just hard on files. Make sure to lift the file on the back stroke and make sure your steel is as soft as you can get it.

 

I use different files for non ferrous metals, those stay sharp almost indefinitely so long as i don't use them on steel.

 

I am lucky to live in Europe so good files are easy to find, but unfortunately they are still expensive.

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Stuart, it's marked with a good old "Made in China".  Not that all Chinese products are bad, but I'm beginning to think I may have my answer.

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Been asking myself that same question....

I recently started replacing some of my files, I've been using them about 4 years.

I bought budget line back then, and I was stunned to find Pferd files at a local tool shop for about the same price....just without handles.

 

Should've immediately dumped my old files on the knife material pile, instead I now have a good set and a bad set used depending on the severity of the job....and at the cost of replacement wasting my time.... 

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