Zrognak

Favorite files

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Greetings, I love files but I am mostly familiar with Swedish files, Öberg files being my favorite brand, they don't sell em anymore or at least not the same quality but I got a few I been using for years. So Im interested in hearing what kind of file brands people here on the forums use,  im aware of Nicholson files but that is the only one i seen here and they are pretty good only got one so haven't gotten to test em much, so im curious what brands are used by other blacksmiths.

I found it is hard to find good quality files these days, they are not bad but not the same quality as the old ones I been using, cause I had those for years and before that they where used by other people for years and they still cut great, compared to a new file that lasted only a few years while the old ones are going strong.

I like to add I don't abuse my files, if it is one thing Im actually good at it is how to use a file, I like files if you already didn't know :)

Also like to add this is not a promotion for any file companies, since the files im using Öber is no longer in production.

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Pferd files are excellent!  They are currently one of the largest manufacturers... so... widely available.  Grobet (Swiss) files are superb, though costly!  Grobet  does have many specialty styles available.  For standard types of files I find the Pferd brand is difficult to match up to... especially if your budget is not very overfunded!

 

if you’re not committed to all new files.  You can often get good bargains at flea markets and antique shops.  I’ve acquired many from such sources that were nearly as good as new after a day or two soaking in vinegar!

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Thank you for sharing, I will definitely look these up, as for price i do not have a lot to spend but I would still pay for a good file. I would love to find some new files, think i just had bad luck with the new ones, but yea I found most of my files from auctions and such.

Cool I never tried to remove rust on files with vinegar, doing it to some tool steel wire as we speak, but it is a good idea for files too ill try that next time, thx :)

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Pferd and Grobet for current manufacture.

Simonds and Nicholson had great files until they switched to making in central and South America (not that they couldn’t be as good, but they evidently changed process and materials as well as labor pool.)

Johnson made very good files in the USA, but they have been DOA for years, I did buy some 14” mill cut recently that were new old stock for $15 each. I’m hoarding these away!

The Japanese still make files, but you will have to order online, which I plan to give a try.

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Old Nicholson files and some good Wiltshire ones get me around, I also have a few rare "diamond" tool co files which are almost impossible to track down. I get old ones mainly but also some $2 file from reject shop that I use to knock off scale.

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When I talked to the materials guy at Nicholson he said they have been using the same alloys for the 46 years he has been there - this was around 5 years ago when I asked about heat treating items made from old files. BTW he said treating it like W-1 would be a good choice - he would not say exactly what alloy they use. Now, he did mention that there are counterfeit NIcholsons that they have seen, and to look at the name and logo closely if purchasing from a low price dealer. . He also mentioned that the alloy used in the MACHINIST files is of a higher grade than the one used for WOOD and FARRIER work since wood and hooves are not as hard as steel. He also said that they pack (case) harden some to add even more carbon - probably the Black Diamond line.

I have some Heller files. To be honest, I even use the worn files for some applications because they don't cut as aggressively. A slightly worn file works great for deburring small parts.  It is only when they are really rusted or chipped up that I repurpose them.

My friend and I were at an auction one time and bought a box of 140 new files for $25. Mostly pillar files with some lathe cut in there as well. The lathe cut has a lot steeper angle for better chip removal while used on parts spinning in a lathe.

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46 years with the same alloy. that sounds reasonable, I guess that will make identifying the steel easier.

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Well, if Nicholson still uses the same alloy today in their South of the border files (all of them now) its a waste of great material. It’s truly sad to not be able to buy a new Nicholson or Simond file that’s actually serviceable, let alone good.

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The vinegar treatment is not just to remove rust.  It will actually sharpen the file teeth as it undercuts the tooth edges!  I usually soak them for a day or two and use a nylon brush to clear gunk and bubbles two or three times during the process.  I rinse them in a baking soda solution afterward and then clear water and dry very quickly with heat (not enough heat to affect the temper).  I follow the drying IMMEDIATELY with WD 40 spray... to inhibit rust.  

Most dull or semi-dull files will cut like brand new ones after this treatment!

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Files are professionally sharpened in an acid bath. Brush off the crud and degrease first. Remember to neutralize afterwards or they'll rust almost immediately.

Oh, never, Never, NEVER lay one file on another! :angry:

Frosty The Lucky.

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My favourite file is an 18 inch bastard file that I found buried in sand in the compressor room of a foundry I was working at. Its done me well for 25 years of lightish use but its had its day now and is too blunt to work with. 

Top file tip, make a file sleave. Just a simple cardboard wrap with gaffer tape round it. Always store your file in the sleave and it will give you many many years service. 

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Good tips Frosty and Dax.

The engineers and techs that work in my lab make me insane, they toss reamers, taps, files, etc into common bins as opposed to properly storing them. I also have tried without success to train them to not apply pressure on the return stroke of the file, to chalk the files on soft metals, and to use a file card. As of yet I have only had success with one tech, but he was already housebroken as he’d spent time in a good machine shop as a younger man.

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My guess is they don't pay for them so they don't care. Tools should be cherished as the extentions to your hands that they are. 

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There were boys in my shop classes and trade schools who treated tools like toys. It's probably always been that way, probably always will. The world is full of people who shouldn't be trusted with a tool more refined than a push broom, mopping actually requires skill to do properly. There was one engineer geologist who LOVED to run files across rocks and there wasn't much I could do or say, he was my boss. He sure complained if I had to order replacements for things he'd ruined.

He knew the price of everything but not the value.

I did get to scream at the fool who used my VERNIER CALIPERS as an adjustable wrench because he was too lazy to open a drawer on the tool box!

It's a world described by Dunning and Kruger. Keep your valuables out of reach of . . . everybody.

Frosty The Lucky.

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I made a small set of punches from o1 tool steel. I used them to punch out rivits on contemporary mortise units. Then I would either re heat treat or make new return springs so my lever handles wouldn't sag.

They were forged then draw filed to final round and the diameter I wanted. They went from 3/8" to 1/8".

Well, some dub went into my shop and broke all but one prying something apart.  

Some people and their kids.

 

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Sorry about your tools, Anvil.

Grobet (my most heavily employed), Grobet USA, Carson-Newman, Tell Swiss, Vallorbe, Simonds, (who I understand, purchased Heller), Old Nicholson, old, old, old.  Any forgotten, under-valued bargain I can find.

Having entered the U.S. metal working Industry in the late 1980's, it seemed that the heyday of the hand file was behind "us".

So many great brands from bygone days - I have trouble recalling now. And so many types and forms - Now I have got to go and find the File Museum.

Robert Taylor

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I have to keep my files out of the hands of everybody, I once caught my brother using one of my favourites as a chisel and pry-bar. he then went and used my favourite wood chisel but left it in my tool box with my spanner set. I trust nobody with my tools now, even hammers cant be left around as my brother will start smashing two together. these idiots are the reason I have severe trust issues and only allow them to use the cheapest files from a $2 store.

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Went thru the files today,  cleaned up some and sprayed.  I keep a USA Nicholson bastard and smooth at the vise stand.  All my files are USA , most being older Nicholson and some Simmonds a couple Heller,  two made in Australia. The 3/8 round smooth Heller is my go to finish file

IMG_20180925_194439871.jpg

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What brands are the Aussie ones? Diamond? Wiltshire? those are some of the more elusive brands to me.

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