Source for saw files

Discussion in 'Saw Makers Forum' started by DaveS, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. DaveS

    DaveS New Member

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    Hello,

    I sharpen my own saws and other peoples saws (sometimes), and I'm looking for decent saw files. Does anyone have a source for good files?

    Thank you in advance,

    DS
     
  2. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

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  3. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    This is a subject in itself and a critical one to how I make a living.

    I go through boxes and boxes and boxes of files as I sharpen hundreds of saws every year and use what I can get...each brand has their foibles and brands also vary from box to box. In reality it comes down to availability; I mainly use Pferd as I have a good reliable supplier (Pferd supply the usual sizes such as 8" S, 7" S, 6" R, S & XS and 5" XS). Bahco are probably the best; nicely finished, very consistent, hard and they last a long time (that's if you can get 'em, also very expensive and limited sizes e.g. no 6" XXS). I also try to procure good old stock files - Heller, Nicholson USA, Wiltshire, Simonds Red Tang, Baiter etc. Now they are good files. Vallorbe are supposedly good but they ain't cheap and I can't get them in boxes (I can't afford singles, it doesn't make economic sense).

    Personally I'd avoid Grobet-made files like the plague- they are deadest awful no matter where they come from - warped/bent, inconsistent in length, taper and shape, and scratchy toothing that chunk out very easily causing a rough cut. I bought a box of Grobet 6" XXS recently and they were fatter in taper than Bahco, Nicholson and Pferd 6" XS files.... absolutely useless for what I wanted them for. They came in a box marked "Grobet" USA but I doubt they were made there. Grobet do sell the extremely hard to procure 4" XXS files for the finer toothings but I suggest looking for quality Swiss made 6" triangular "jewellers" files instead; they have sharper edges (resulting in bigger teeth) and the longer file causes a smoother stroke and better results.
     
  4. DaveS

    DaveS New Member

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    3
    Being that I'm just a lowly user and (sooner or later) occasional saw maker, I'm getting my files from Blackburn, Lee Valley, and Lie-Nielsen tools. I agree Ray, good files are getting rare. This seems like a niche business opportunity in the making.

    Dusty, do you have a conversion for the Vallorbe files? I see 3 square, cuts 1-2 on the site. I have no problem admitting my idiocy. What does that mean?

    Regarding the occasional saw making I mentioned earlier, I bought a Foley 332 off Ebay that has a carrier and 1 ratchet bar. Would you all know of anybody that has any extra ratchet bars for sale, or maybe some drawings that I could take to a machinist friend of mine? This is not a priority since I sharpen my own, just a spur of the moment thing

    Many thanks,
    Dave S
     
  5. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    120
    Dave,

    Technically speaking saw files are 6-sided, being triangular in shape with 3 wide faces and 3 narrow edge faces. Typically the bigger the file, the wider the edge 'flat'. A '3 square' file is a triangular file with a edge of zero width, typically used for cleaning up the inside corners and edges in castings etc.

    The thinking is that a sharp edged triangular file creates a gullet with a sharp termination which may promote stress cracking. In the smaller, narrower files (say 5 X slim and below) the edges are all but non-existent anyway so they are essentially '3 square' in profile. Remember, the teeth are formed from the material left from filing the gullets.

    I consider the advantages of the 3 square profile over the traditional saw file in the small sizes to be;

    1. Easier to manufacture consistently (as files warp during tempering etc); wobbly edges make it hard to get consistent results when filing as they don't track consistently.
    2. They cut deeper gullets for a given tooth spacing and I reckon the smaller teeth need all the dust carrying capacity they can get (note; saws stop cutting when the gullets fill up).
    3. I reckon that the generation of stress cracks is a bit over rated- if you use the saw within its limitations and keep it sharp. A hard plate is probably more an issue that the gullets.

    I can't comment on Vallorbe files but my boxes of Pferd saw files are marked "cut 2 second cut medium" and they work beautifully. Cut 1 refers to a finer version of the same thing. In some companies cut 1 means single cut and cut 2 is double cut; there should be a key at the start of every company's catalogue if they are an company working to international standards. Look for a downloadable catalogue from Vallorbe's home site. Single cut files cut slower but supposedly leave a better finish, but clogged files ('pins') are the main reason for a poor surface so wipe the files in use with a file or brush.

    I note that Grobet don't bother putting that kind of info on the box other than "American pattern".

    I'd avoid 'bastard' cut files as they do leave a raggy finish.

    Sorry, can't help you with Foley carrier or ratchet bars. If somebody posts the relevant drawings I'd look into getting some made up for my own use. Maybe work from the bar you have? Remember that many bars are double duty (i.e. by skipping pawls you can do a coarser toothing).
     
  6. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    Please note a vital omission in the above post.. use a file CARD (a special wire brush) to clean your files, don't wipe them with another file which will rapidly destroy the teeth.
     
  7. DaveS

    DaveS New Member

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    3
    Thank you Dusty,

    I have increased my knowledge base some more. Damned interesting information, in fact

    Many thanks,

    DS
     
  8. ray

    ray Administrator Staff Member

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    For the Vallorbe files, the cut number relates to the number of teeth per cm on the file, it goes from 00 to 6, the actual numbers are here, and it varies depending on the type of file, but the higher the number the finer the cut.
    http://vallorbe.cross-systems.ch/en-ch/file.cfm//common/documents/library//ALL_Extrait_catalogue_IND_Taille_modifié.pdf?contentID=5359

    For 15 tpi saws and up, a Vallorbe swiss pattern needle file 3 or 4 cut is a good choice. You can get them from here, but as Dusty says they are expensive!
    http://jewellerssupplies.com.au/files-handles-c-5_8.html

    Look for a local jewellers supply company.

    Ray
     
  9. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

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    Filing a seriously hard pre-1900 Disston plate this week reminded me that sometimes a slightly used file is superior to a new one... while toothing this plate I treated myself to a new file and promptly busted 2" of edge from the file on the first stroke... seriously it sounded like a zipper unhitching. I sorted through the mountain of discards and found that some partially used files cut adequately. If you're snapping teeth off you are clearly stroking too hard, but you also need to "bed" the new edge in with a couple of very light strokes. I have seen people chalk the edges of new files to slow the cutting and help the bedding process.
     
  10. Dusty Shed Dweller

    Dusty Shed Dweller Most Valued Member

    Messages:
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    Had three Disston 12" backsaws to do today, all 15 point. Did the first two with the same 4" Grobet file (quite an old one) which eventually wore out.... broke open a new box of Grobet 4" XX files for the third saw and from a box of 12 found only 2 that were straight enough and even enough in taper to actually use.

    I reiterate... if you order Grobet files check them when they arrive and if they aren't up to scratch send them back for a refund. If enough people get jack of the rubbish that is being pushed by these manufacturers they might take the hint and dramatically raise their standards.