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Thread: Mexican made Nicholson files I tested are soft.

  1. #16
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    Feb 2010
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    Philadelphia, PA
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    3,643
    Thanks for posting this George. That explains why when I used one to touch up my LN dovetail saw (1095 steel) it wore out obscenely quickly. The Nicholson's I've used seem to work ok in vintage saws, but i was blown away by how quickly the newer steel wore it down. I ordered a couple Grobets from TFWW for my next couple saw projects, and it will be interesting to see how they compare.

  2. #17
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    Jul 2009
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    Puget Sound, USA
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    Has anyone tried the Swiss saw files by Vallorbe that Lie Nielsen is selling? Seems like they should be good files.

  3. #18
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    Jan 2009
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    Williamsburg,Va.
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    The good,old Disstons I have tested were about 48 R.C.. The 1095 that good,small saw makers all seem to use are 52 R.C.(at least all of mine was). I got it from Precision Steel Warehouse In Greensboro,N.C.. I THINK this is the right name,because we ordered it in quantity that would last for years,since they charged $75.00 to cut stock off of the 1500# coils it came supplied in. But,most all of the machinist's supply places,such as MSC,sell the same spring steel.

    These new saws were always harder on files than the vintage saws,but they stay sharp a lot longer,and actually are better than the highly touted old saws.


    I expect the Vallorbe files are good. I think they were absorbed by Grobet. The Swiss are too proud of their work to go cheap as easily as some.

  4. #19
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    Jan 2010
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    Falls Church, VA
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    I also noticed the change in the Nicholson files at the Orange BORG as they went to Mexico. It wasn't that long ago that all of their flat files were made in the US, and I was thinking to myself: "man, it's good to see a company that's holding the line, making a quality product for a reasonable price". I guess no more of that, and what's more, the price is still the same

    I also went and bought all of the NOS "Made in the USA" Nicholson flat files from the local BORGs here. I've noticed that their files would have a 5 or 6 digit code, but the made in Mexico ones have a "N" at the end. For example, the 10" bastard cut mill file has a model number of 21839 for the ones remaining made in the US, while the Mexico ones are 21839N.
    CT

  5. #20
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    Dec 2003
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    Hutchinson, MN
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    335
    Has anyone tried Bahco files? If so, how do they stack up?

  6. #21
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    Mar 2007
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    PA
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    11,604
    They are also fine. At least the last time I tried them about 3 years ago. Bacho portugal I think were the ones I used.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  7. #22
    If I had to guess, I'd bet the N on the end of the model number denotes NAFTA and aids in accounting.

    Chris, requiring truth in advertising is a great idea. Unfortunately I'm not Don Quioxte and I don't know of anyone who has that high a tolerance for pain.
    Dave Anderson
    Chester Toolworks LLC
    Chester, NH

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    outside Indianapolis
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    247
    I tried sending an email via the Apex Tool/Coopertool site and got a web app dump.....! NAFTA what was it Ross Periot said about that "giant sucking sound..."?

    Seems Mexico gets our tools, auto and electronics jobs and we get drugs, bullets, gangs and ...?

  9. #24
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    Mar 2007
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    PA
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    Their web app worked for me a couple of years ago. All I asked them was whether or not all of the nicholson taper saw files were going to be mexico, or if it was just a home depot thing, and if it was home depot, where could I still get USA made files.

    I guess they figured I wouldn't want to know the answer. My message went through, but they never had the courtesy to answer my question.

    Someone not long ago said they were sending all of their file tooling to mexico. I wonder how accurate that was, because there are still USA made flat files at my borg, and have been mixed in with the mexico files for years. I can't believe that they'd still be selling off USA made stock years later, and had that much NOS, but I could be wrong.

    I like their USA made files, they are fairly tidy and they were available everywhere. At this point, I figure that I can buy a bunch of them (and like george, I have) and then I'll just send them to boggs as I booger them out draw filing dovetails on planes and such.
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  10. #25
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    Jan 2009
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    Williamsburg,Va.
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    Now,IF I just had a way of hard chroming those files....... Case hardening them will not be an efficient way of making the soft files useful. Depends upon how desperate I get for a triangular(or other) file. Fortunately,being an inveterate tool pig,I have a good stock. And,no,I do not want to sell any,yet.

  11. #26
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    Mar 2007
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    PA
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    I'll bet you have some fine needle files you'd like to give away!
    Unleaded tastes a little tangy, supreme is kinda sour, and diesel tastes pretty good.

  12. #27
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    Jan 2009
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    Waco, Texas
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    Maybe the N stands for "not hardened"?

  13. #28
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    Mar 2004
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    DuBois, PA
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    I ordered some Nicholson files from MSC a few weeks back and they are also made "south of the border" and are also soft. MSC sells Grobet and Simonds, but not in the pattern I wanted.
    If the thunder don't get you, the lightning will.

  14. #29
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    Jan 2009
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    Williamsburg,Va.
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    David,you simply cannot communicate with high executives. They are not concerned with much except the bottom line. They do not know craftsmanship,tool quality,or much anything about their products. I got lucky once,but with a much,much smaller company than Cooper Tools:

    Several years ago I saw veneer advertised in a well known catalog that starts with an R. It was stated to be 1/28" thick. Veneer has not been commonly made that thick since the 60's,or so. I ordered a thick stack of maple,as my 1950's assortment of veneer ,at 1/28" thick,was getting sparse in maple. Well,the veneer they sent was a 36th. of an inch thick. I called them,and got hold of some executive,explained who I was. He treated me like I didn't know what I was talking about,though I urged him to measure the veneer with a decent caliper,or to simply stack up 1" of sheets,and see if there were only 28 pieces in the stack. Any idiot could manage that. I seemed to get nowhere with him,and gave up.

    Next year,or two later,at least I saw that they stopped listing veneer at 1/28" thick. I got a new catalog today,and for the past number of them,I have seen NO thickness figure given for loose sheets of veneer they sell. They only mention how thick their adhesive backed veneer is.

    Apparently no one at that company can be trusted to correctly measure the thickness of veneer so they can advertise it properly. Guess I made a dent in someone's head after all. They ought to stop the catalogs,as I never buy from them.

  15. #30
    I took a class with Tom Lie-Nielsen and he lamented just this problem.

    He claimed the new Vallorbe files and some of the Simonds files were quite good. The Nicholson problem came from having a single operator of their #50 patternmaker's rasps.
    One person, who retired in the 1980's, was responsible for most of the Nicholson #50 product for nearly 40 years. He was the only one fully versed in the vagaries of their machine.

    I suspect the tempering step has been accelerated (time being equated with money), but the tooth pattern is a result of operator input.

    FYI - The Iwasaki files are very high quality, perhaps there's a larger line of those files available.

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