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Thread: File durability when sharpening dovetail saw Question?

  1. #1
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    File durability when sharpening dovetail saw Question?

    I have a question that arises from a comment i heard in a video regarding sharpening a dovetail saw.

    This guy was using a 4 inch extra slim Grobet file http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...72,43089,69854

    The guy said he found that the triangle files would sharpen a couple of saws with the three faces. Each face would do two cuts.


    Is this true of these files and i don't just mean the Grobet but the fine extra slim size used for saw sharpening.

    This is one of the projects on my long list that i wish to attend to and i need to get my mind around the whole concept.


    I threw out a file last week and for frugal me it was difficult but i finally called it done.

    But hearing this guy say this i am thinking many of my files in general are way past their expiry date and should actually go. Now i know we can do all sorts to "sharpen them up" but thats not what i am asking.


    I guess what i am wanting to understand is just how one judges when a file is done. My logic says it should cut away at the surface rather than scrape away the surface one is looking to file.

    I guess in these small files case the file wears quick given the steel its having to cut ?


    So do I need to look at a file like a consumable ? It truly burns me to toss out a tool ..... but I am accepting there comes a time.


    BUt this begs the question as to the merits of purchasing good quality files. Dunno files seemed to last forever when i puttered in my Dads shop. Last time i did a bunch of filing of steel was in high school in metal working class and we made a letter opener knife which i still have on my desk. We had a 1 inch by 1/4" blank that we shaped a knife from and had to do bevel filing as well as polish the whole thing to a chrome like finish. Mine ended up getting chrome plated through a contact of my Dad.

    But when i come to think of it we never gave the file "effectiveness" any thought.

    So any advice or thoughts from the learned folks here.

    Any recommendations on file brands or sources? I used to believe in Nicholson but all i have read is of another good brand going bad in the hunt for greater volumes of poorer quality. So what other brands?
    cheers

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    The Gorge Area, Oregon
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    4,699
    Yeah files are consumables, always have been but a lot of the newer ones are pretty bad (and the better ones not as good as they could be). Buy enough to get you though for a while and then send them off to boggs (http://www.boggstool.com/) or save edge (http://www.saveedge.com/) once you have a handful to resharpen - be aware that the corners on sharpened files will likely be a bit rounder so will not make as crisp of gullets (which may or may not matter depending on the file size and saw type - eventually it does matter but you can probably get 1-2 sharpenings before its a serious problem). It hurts me as well, but I generally use them a bit more than 3-4 sharpenings per side.

    The lifespan depends on how much material you have to take off per use (rehabbing a saw is obviously much worse than a touch up) and how you use the file (some people are hard on files ). To improve the life somewhat chalk or oil the files, push don't pull, and use sufficient force. Having the saw properly secured so it doesn't vibrate also seems to help more than I'd have thought it would (in regards to file lifespan - the increased ease of use was obvious).

    Grobet was decent and is what I've been using, but I heard rumors about a sourcing change and that some of the newer ones are pretty soft (and I see leevalley isn't selling all of them anymore which supports that). TFWW still sells the Vallorbe files that used to be marketed as Grobet https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/...m/EE-555-SF.XX - for small quantities these are probably still in the "best deal" range.

    Bahco's saw files still get decent reviews, although I haven't tried any (still working through my older grobet stock). I think the "cheaper" places to get them sell in lots of 10 (ouch - http://www.autotoolworld.com/search_...?k=bahco+taper is half the price or less/file than amazon but apparently they only sell in lots of 10 - the "you can add 1 to your cart" bit is a lie). Blackburn http://www.blackburntools.com/blog/c...m-now-selling/ and http://www.blackburntools.com/new-to...les/index.html also has the bahco and appears to sell singles (the Glardon was also sold as grobet at one point)

  3. #3
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    Thanks Ryan for the links and confirmation. Placed an order for the small ones from TFWW they also got a deal that gets one a discount for ordering more than 4.

    The link to the Barco guys was great but they dont ship to Canada so i guess for steel files i am stuck with the borgs and made in Mexico Nicholson's. They affordable so we shall see how they perform for their money. We taking quiet a hit in our tool prices with our exchange rate at present.

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 09-29-2015 at 10:40 PM.
    cheers

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    Thanks Ryan for the links and confirmation. Placed an order for the small ones from TFWW they also got a deal that gets one a discount for ordering more than 4.
    I've been pretty happy with everything I've gotten from TFWW - they're a class outfit like LV in my experience - although their shipping has been occasionally annoying (they really like to require a signature but you can tell them not to).

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    The link to the Barco guys was great but they dont ship to Canada so i guess for steel files i am stuck with the borgs and made in Mexico Nicholson's. They affordable so we shall see how they perform for their money.
    I see they sell some of the bahco files on amazon.ca as well but I about fell out of my chair at the prices! Ouch! That ain't right I tell you!
    Also https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/....XX/Mill_Files

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    We taking quiet a hit in our tool prices with our exchange rate at present.
    Yeah it was quite nice when I was up there visiting last week My family on the other hand is certainly feeling your pain

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