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Joshua States

Questions for the file masters

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American or Swiss pattern? Why?

 

Pferd, Grobet, Simonds, or Other? Why?

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As a long-time dedicated file user (I wouldn't say master), American pattern and USA-made Nicholson, then USA-made Simonds.  Why?  That's what I learned with, and I have a supply of them.  Are they better than Swiss pattern? No.  Just what I'm used to.  

 

Grobet has stopped making the larger sizes, and moved production of anything bigger than a needle file to India.  If I ever go to Swiss pattern files, I'll probably go with Glardon-Vallorbe.  

 

I have heard good things about Pferd, but have never used one. Also Bahco (formerly Sandvik).  

 

The next time I need to replace the big 16" Nicholsons, assuming I can no longer find NOS USA-made, I may go for this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000ZELWAS/ref=biss_dp_t_asn

 

and for the six-inchers, maybe these guys: http://www.warrensvillefile.com/index.php/american-pattern/engineer-s-files/mill-file.html.  I have two 14" long-angle lathe files by them, currently 20 years old and still good. They do offer North American made (?) or foreign, but don't say where in North America, which worries me.  Mexico is part of North America, after all, and they couldn't harden a Nicholson to save their lives.  As I've said before, my USA Nicholsons can cut some of my Mexico Nicholsons like mild steel.  Then there's these guys: https://www.mercerindustries.com/products/hand-files/.  I have no clue about the quality.

 

Anybody else?  I'm sure y'all are tired of hearing me talk about files. 

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I have a lot of files.  That's not a good thing, because when it comes to hand filing things I'm like a Tasmanian Devil and just destroy everything.  Hate to admit that because as a professional (retired) wood worker, you'd think I'd be a real expert with files.  Not the case for me.  I just never needed them enough to go to the trouble to learn how to use them properly.  I do MUCH better with a blade, so all my final finish fitting was done by blade.  Now that I'm working in steel, I haven't found a blade that would cut the steel I'm working on.  GO FIGGER!?!?!  :lol:

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27 minutes ago, Alan Longmire said:

I'm sure y'all are tired of hearing me talk about files. 

I'm not tired of that in the least.

What i am tired of is searching a million posts for different information and opinions.

Now I can follow this one and always have easy access to it........

  • Thanks 1

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I agree with that, I definitely like having all the info in one place rather than multiple threads. 

 

Gonna divert a little bit from the main thread for a moment. Hope nobody minds. :D  Anyone got an idea where I can find a NOS 16" Nicholson? Been looking on eBay every couple of days but I cant find anything yet.

Edited by Conner Michaux

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Talking files, I have some Bahco files. When I get a chance to use them I'll let y'all know.

Also,  I keep my eyes open for files everywhere I go. I found a couple dozen in my Dads old shop that hurricane Ivan tried to level. They were in his tool locker thrown in a bin on top of each other. A few in an old tool box with lots of rust. I'm in the process of cleaning them up now. Some are in great shape and others we'll have to see. Some are U.S.A. Nicholson, some say India. The good ones will be files, the good ones that are beyond help will be knives and imports will be hooks. :lol:  I'm going to try acid sharpening on the ones that are dull. I got some sulfuric acid last week. Let me know if anyone has tried this and your thoughts.

There were a couple I don't know about. No name, just a horse jumping through a hoop. Ever see one of these?

Lastly, there is one Nicholson that the teeth are on a very steep angle. First one I have seen. Looks like it would be great for draw filing.

I've been reading "THE FILE" on Google books. It's a great book if you want to know more about files.

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The horse logo is Pferd, which means "horse" in German. 

The Nicholson with the steeply angled teeth is a long-angle lathe file.  It is designed for filing stuff in a lathe (big surprise!), but is great for heavy stock removal.  They can be a little aggressive for drawfiling, try it on some scrap first.  The safe edges on them are great for creating plunge cuts, because they have a bit of radius to them.  When I grind a safe edge on a regular file I leave it sharp to get a good line, but that's just for hawk heads and things that need a sharply defined step.

 

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That's it. I have a number of those that need some cleanup. Thanks Alan.

 

How do you feel about acid sharpening?

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18 hours ago, Conner Michaux said:

Anyone got an idea where I can find a NOS 16" Nicholson?

 

Keep watching the net. One will surface sooner or later. Any flea markets close by?

I saw some 14" NOS. They're more readily available.

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What Randy said about the 16" ones.  Just keep an eye out.  And look at every hardware and farm store you pass, they may have some, especially the further from civilization they are.  

 

As for acid sharpening, I've never done it, but I've heard mixed reviews about doing it at home.  These guys: https://boggstool.com/ are legendary for file and other tool sharpening.  Mills, drills, files, etc.  They don't say exactly what they do, but it involves steam cleaning and some kind of abrasive blasting in addition to an acid bath.  

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I've done acid sharpening.  Meh!  Some files it seemed to "rescue" a little bit..............others not so much.  Nothing equals a new file's sharpness.  Would you expect a knife edge to have increased sharpness when soaking it in Muratic Acid?  I sure wouldn't.

 

My attitude is........if your files no longer cut, what have  ya got to lose?  Give it a try.  Like I said, it "seemed" to rescue some of them.

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On 1/10/2020 at 12:46 PM, Joshua States said:

I'm not tired of that in the least.

What i am tired of is searching a million posts for different information and opinions.

Now I can follow this one and always have easy access to it........

Yeah, what he said!:)  Consider this thread bookmarked. 

Edited by billyO

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What about Bellota files? Texas Farrier Supply is close to me, and they seem to be well priced, but I haven't pulled the trigger on them yet. 

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Their rasps are good, but I've never seen their files.  A quick look online shows they're too small for what I usually want, though.  Their largest flat file is only about 12" of teeth.  That would be fine for small blades, of course.  I notice they claim they are unbreakable and will never wear out (https://www.bellota.com/en-es/workshop/files-and-rasps#files-and-rasps).  Challenge accepted! :rolleyes:

  • Haha 1

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