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Thread: Is a good metal file worth it; where to buy?

  1. #1

    Is a good metal file worth it; where to buy?

    Is a good metal file worth the money, or would Home Depot's most expensive file suffice? I mainly need to sharpen my lawnmower blade, but I'm sure I'll use it for other random tasks (i.e. sharpening other woodworking tools).

    I looked at the the $10-15 ones at Home Depot (and Ace hardware) and they seemed decent, but this is something I'll have for life, maybe it's worth spending twice that amount for a nice one.

    Would a flat 8" or 10" work best for sharpening lawnmower blades? If you would recommend a nice one, where would I get it (Lee Valley, Rockler, etc)? Any recommended brands?

    Thanks,
    Greg

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg L. Brown View Post
    ... but this is something I'll have for life...
    Only if you don't use it. Files are dulled by use. I use the HD class of files, and pitch them when they're dead.

  3. #3
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    Greg, print the attached pdf...it will answer all your questions and be a good future reference...
    http://www.cooperhandtools.com/brand...ing%202006.pdf
    ...yard and garage sales are good sources for usable files...

    Old, fat guy on the set of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" October '09

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Carey View Post
    Greg, print the attached pdf...it will answer all your questions and be a good future reference...
    http://www.cooperhandtools.com/brand...ing%202006.pdf
    ...yard and garage sales are good sources for usable files...
    I use the ones at HD. Longer blade - longer file.

    You might consider a grinding wheel or angle grinder for sharpening lawnmower blades

  5. #5
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    Nicholson single cut mill bastard. Now don't get torqued....
    That's the REAL name for the type of file.
    Bill
    On the other hand, I still have five fingers.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Lincolnton, NC
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    I'd agree with Shawn above. I use and angle grinder to shape my lawnmower blades then finish with a bastard file.

    Also use a 10" bastard file for sharpening the blades on the sawmill.

    Just me, but the cheap-ish files that you mentioned above are fine for "rough" work like lawnmower blades etc. I only use my good files on the lathe for finish work. Metal lathe that is.

  7. #7
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    HD and Ace both carry Nicholson I believe. I would also get a file brush to clean them if you use them on wood as I do.
    Sarge..

    Woodworkers' Guild of Georgia
    Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg L. Brown View Post
    Would a flat 8" or 10" work best for sharpening lawnmower blades? If you would recommend a nice one, where would I get it (Lee Valley, Rockler, etc)? Any recommended brands?

    Thanks,
    Greg
    I use a drum sander in the DP for sharpening mower blades. Works great and doesn't burn the blades.
    Never, under any circumstances, combine a sleeping pill, and laxative on the same night.

  9. #9
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    Yes,do grind those blades. Don't waste a good file and a lot of time filing it.

    At Lowe's a few days ago,I noticed they had no Nicolson files,and I'm not about to buy Kobalt Asian ones.

    Black Diamond is (or was) the same as a Nicolson. It was a brand they sold in the South(why?)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Cheap files are labor intensive. You will feel and hear the difference as the file moves across the metal. I shop at garage sales and get good files because most folks do not know quality files. I do use less expensive files on hardened metal or I use a grinding wheel. Hardened metal will shorten the useful life of any file.
    David B

  11. #11
    I recently heard that the Nicholson files are not made in USA anymore. Any truth to this? I wouldn't be surprised as now they are under the Cooper Tools umbrella.

    Kinda like the first Irwin/Marples chisels were still Marples UK production, I beleive. Now the chisels that look the same are produced in Asia.

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by David G Baker View Post
    I shop at garage sales and get good files because most folks do not know quality files.
    Yep, you can find lots of good files at garage sales, pawn shops, and flea markets. I often find brand new 6-10" Nicholson mill files of varying cuts for $1 apiece at a local First Monday flea market.

    Harbor Freight has cheap files aplenty if you want some throw-aways for lawnmower duty.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    They've been under Cooper for years. Dave Anderson said the rasps are made in Brazil,if I remember right. Their 8" smooth files keep getting thinner. First,they stopped tapering the tangs on 2 surfaces. Now,they are making them thinner. I hope they don't make them any thinner. They'll soon turn into WARDING files!!!

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