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  1. #1
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    Default Need help choosing files

    I've decided I need to up my file game. We use them primarily for chamfering and deburring; occasionally for making a square hole in sheet metal or slotting something with a round file. We are working with a mix of structural steel, machined mild steel, and aluminum (mostly 6061).

    I have read through lots of past threads about files, but I still have a few questions. I want to buy the right thing once, rather than buying crap multiple times.

    1) I have four sizes of files on hand now, but they are all old and were not treated kindly in their past life. I was planning on sending some out to get sharpened by Boggs Tool. I have 6" mill bastard, 10" mill bastard, 12" flat smooth, and 12" double cut hand bastard. For the mill bastards, I have lots of each size, so I'll send a few of each to get sharpened. All else being equal, should I have sharpened a) Nicholson (old enough to be made in the USA) or b) Simmons Nucut (also USA made)? I know they were both good files in the day, but not sure which is better.

    2) What coarseness is best for general-purpose work? I've always used bastard files, but that's only because it's what was available, rather than what's necessarily correct.

    3) American vs. swiss pattern. They look very similar, and I'm not sure why I'd pick one over the other.

    4) I'm looking to buy a good brand. So far my research here has led me to Bahco, Gedore (not USA), Pferd, Vallorbe, and Friedrich Dick. Within this class of 'good' files, is there going to be much difference, or can I pretty much choose based on price and availability?

    5) Otto Frei sells a Vallorbe Eco Range of files, which is very reasonably priced, but I can't find anything about it on the internet or Vallorbe's website. Any thoughts on the eco range.

    6) As far as files to add to my collection, I'm thinking an 8" half round for chamfering/deburring big holes and slots. A 6" round for working in smaller holes (~1/2"), and an 8" square for getting into square corners (e.g. sheet metal). All single cut. Does this sound like a good plan? Would people recommend different sizes or coarseness?

    7) In my research, I saw that Pferd has files designed for aluminum. They're supposed to not clog up. Has anyone used them?

    Thanks,
    Daniel

  2. #2
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    Keep in mind that files are consumable. Boggs will help with the life cycle but eventually they wear out. Keep them from hitting each other in storage.
    Joe

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  4. #3
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    I'd look for new, old stock on ebay. Old Nicholson's were great

  5. #4
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    My experience with files from Grobet has been great... I have some Simonds that I liked as well. I used to use files a *lot* (many hours each day) and had the best experience from Grobet I think. Honestly I've used quite a few modern Nicholson without any reall issues, but I definitely think the Grobet files cut more nicely. Maybe a 12" double cut bastard, 10" flat single cut, a full set of 6" single cut files (flat, half round, triangle and square), also chainsaw sharpening files are great for deburring inside small radiuses, they cut smoothly and are around 1/4" in diameter.

    The handles from Grobet (blue ones on the right) are the best I've used. They have hardened steel threaded inserts and screw onto the tang of the file very easily and hold on very securely.

    A few diamond abrasive hones are very handy as well!


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  7. #5
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    Another vote for Vallorbe. I have nothing but good to say about mine. They make a set of four in your size range (and mine) just for this type of thing in their own roll up pouch. Here's where I got mine: Shopping

    Nothing but good to say about them, I'll probably never use any other brand again.

    131.017lq82_thumbnail.jpg
    Last edited by pavt; 05-21-2020 at 02:54 PM.

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavt View Post
    Another vote for Grobet (USA) or Vallorbe.
    some of the "Grobet USA" products are actually made in China. Grobet USA is just trickster name to milk 'Muricans.

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  10. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiJ View Post
    some of the "Grobet USA" products are actually made in China. Grobet USA is just trickster name to milk 'Muricans.
    Hrm, news to me. I thought Grobet was just the name that Vallorbe used in the US. As it is, I got genuine Vallorbe made in Switzerland stamped right into the tangs.

  11. #8
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    Its nice to have an American Pattern double-cut for quickly hogging off materials. Then a single cut American to finish off and get it smoother.

    A double-cut Swiss is a hybrid, its double-cut but very fine teeth in the "medium" ranges.

    My favorite is a warding file which I carry in my pocket. Obviously that's not going to hog structural steel but for something I can pull out quuicky and knock off a burr or fix a its perfect.

    I've been ordering from McMaster and the Nicholson bastard files have been all good in the last 5 years. I think there was a bad period in the past but it seems like their quality is very reasonable.

    Grobet is a very fine file. I don't own any Pferds. I have a curved tooth Nicholson-Superior body file which works well for delrin.

  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavt View Post
    Hrm, news to me. I thought Grobet was just the name that Vallorbe used in the US. As it is, I got genuine Vallorbe made in Switzerland stamped right into the tangs.
    Grobet USA Swiss Pattern Precision 6” Half-Round File, Cut 6
    https://www.amazon.com/Grobet-32-510.../dp/B0184Y5KI0

    edit: Italy is another manufacturing site for Grobet USA

  13. #10
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