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Thread: Buying files, making file handles

  1. #1
    Boolit Master Clark's Avatar
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    Buying files, making file handles

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    My wife is accusing me of buying files, just so I can make handles.

    I am trying to learn about files.

    Guys on youtube that make things, mention their files.

    Grobet made in Switzerland with a picture of a bunny, Clickspring the clockmaker says..... those are hard to find and expensive.

    For the past two days I have been making handles for Nicholson files. They do not look as finely made, but are cheaper and seem to work.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Most new Nicholson files are made in India or Pakistan these days, and are not nearly as good of quality as their USA-made files were.

    Some interesting looking handles there!
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I have too many files and rasps if there is such a thing, sort of stocked up on good ones when I found them reasonable. I have made nice handles for a lot of things but never worried about files. Mostly just used a large dowel or something similar. Dad always used a piece of corn cob, it ain't purty works surprisingly well.

    Those do look good and I certainly understand. I am the same way about the old socket chisels, turn a new handle and put the leather washer on the head.

    Last week I made a hatchet handle from scratch. I found a Wetterlings hatchet at the local flea market. It needed a handle and I couldn't find a good one. Some tools just deserve a good handle.

    Your wife is probably right, mine was.

    Dave

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    So you like files... Great! Everyone needs a hobby and yours is buying files and making some very fine looking handles. Good for you and carry on.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    As with beemer, almost always used a corn cob, back when corn cribs were on every farm in the area.

    Really good files are a bit difficult, if not impossible, to find locally.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master stu1ritter's Avatar
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    If you are interested in old files you should know about Boggs Tool http://boggstool.com/page5.html and their resharpening service. Costing between $2.80 for a 14" down to 80 cents for a 4", the files come back "as new". I'm a retired Mercedes mechanic and had a drawer full of very dull files collected over the years. Sent them all off to Boggs and they came back sharp as all get out. Highly recommended.

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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I still use corn cobs, and like the texture of them, but one time had one on a heavy wood rasp and was really bearing down on a piece when the cob split and the file shank made a nasty cut in my hand. So now its wood handles for big files. I had no idea that files and rasps could be resharpened, thank you for the info.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master stu1ritter's Avatar
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    Not only resharpened but probably sharper than when new.

    Stu
    De gustibus non est disputandum

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    The old files were hard all the way through, new files are case hardened in many cases. A Story about John Browning, when he started to build a rifle he would sharpen his files first. Nice to know there is someone that still can sharpen a file.

  10. #10
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    Best file handles I have found are golf ball..**** on golf!
    Last edited by ShooterAZ; 04-18-2018 at 05:30 PM. Reason: language

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicholst55 View Post
    Most new Nicholson files are made in India or Pakistan these days, and are not nearly as good of quality as their USA-made files were.

    Some interesting looking handles there!
    I have many Nicholson files, some over 20 years old but mostly newer ones, and I have never seen one made in either Pakistan or India however Mexico and Brazil made Nicholson files are common. USA made ones can still be found sometimes, "NOS", on hardware store shelves, new on Ebay, etc and I always check for these whenever I see files in a store. The Mexican/Brazilian made Nicholson files I have seem to be good quality and I can hardly tell any difference between them and the original USA made files but I still prefer the old ones. Pakistan and India??? I have yet to see a Nicholson made in either place.

    I have probably over a hundred files collected over the years, the various Riffler and Needle types accounting for the large numbers and most of my Rifflers/Needle files are Grobets which IMO are the best. Rifflers are essential to a gunsmith or a gun maker but can be quite costly, nearly $500 for a new set of Grobets containing about a dozen files but I bought most of mine separately on Ebay which is the best most economical way to buy them if you have the time to wait on the deals to come up. Besides when buying "sets" you will get styles that will rarely if ever be used so buying individual styles lets you build a set that caters to you personal needs.
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  12. #12
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    I broke down and bought some good ones--amazing to use after the cheap ones you find everywhere

    they stay hidden from Mrs. as she is known to use almost anything to dig holes in garden
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    I just take any scrap wood, and rough one out when needed. As we know, files and rasps aren't cheap. The ones I use most cost from $50-70 each. I also use Bogg's for sharpening.
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    It is puzzling to know why there are so many bad files around. 1095 steel isn't an expensive material for the bulk buyer - probably cheaper than the quick and easy forms of case-hardening - and about as good as anything for straight razors, which don't get overheated through friction. I've had good ones from all sorts of places where you often find bad ones.

    I had a stroke of déjà vu recently. I bought a 14 inch half-round for about half the price of most, on eBay but from a firm, Proops Brothers, which I used to buy from in the 60s, when my age wasn't long out of single figures and I got a Proops brother's name on a receipt once. It bears no stamp whatever, but looks like being about as good as any. I am afraid what does in files for me, is being unable to resist the temptation to use them on something harder than I should.

    I have a good local source of beech handles about as cheap as beech, but I confess that I often use the big ones with no handle, and have never cut my wrists either by accident or done-a-purpose. Several thicknesses of electrical heat-shrink tubing will keep you about as safe as anything.

  15. #15
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    KCSO, how do you get the tang through a golf ball? Do you drill the hole? What do you do about those Liquid Center golf balls?

    I’ve got a bucket full of the things and am totally uninterested in Golf. But I do have a bunch of handle-less files.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by KCSO View Post
    Best file handles I have found are golf ball..******* on golf!
    I use golf balls too. +1 on Boggs for resharpening.
    Last edited by Pressman; 04-18-2018 at 05:43 PM.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    I just take any scrap wood, and rough one out when needed. As we know, files and rasps aren't cheap. The ones I use most cost from $50-70 each. I also use Bogg's for sharpening.
    I think it was you who put me onto Boggs a while back in another thread and they are everything folks claim about them, dull files return sharp enough to cut yourself on and cost very little compared to buying new ones.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ballistics in Scotland View Post
    I've had good ones from all sorts of places

    I bought a "grab bag" of files on Ebay a couple of years ago that was described as having several Nicholson files that looked to be unused (which did in fact turn out to be brand new), it was also supposed to include several files of unknown make that showed signs of being used and some light rusting. Those unknown make files simply had "Poland" stamped under the tang and were about 8" long and very thin, these have turned out to be some of the best files I have ever used! While they had been previously used they were in excellent shape and cut smoother than any of the Nicholsons even on hard alloys, I really wish I knew who sold or sells these because I think they are way better than Nicholson files and I would like some in a larger size.
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  19. #19
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    Using soap stone and a file card will allow ones files to last longer, easy to do.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    I use sidewalk chalk since the grandkids always leave me some laying around. Helps with steel but totally necessary when filing brass or aluminum. I didn't know about Boggs but will definitely be using them.
    Thanks, guys
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