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  • Craftsman's TOOLS

    Suggested elsewhere is topic for tools forum. Taking Mike's suggestion - I'm starting one here to see if it takes off to eventually become a separate forum.

    Today's Tool Topic - FILES.

    I've found that file s(especially used on metal - but also for general wood work as well), will last and perform well if they are QUALITY to begin with.

    Though very expensive compared to the usual run of hobbiest files, the swiss Valorbe Gardon professional files will last DECADES when handled properly (more on that latter).

    Getting Valorbe files in the US (in modeling sizes) is next to impossible, but several UK and German suppliers readily ship to the US and I've had good luck using the internet, credit cards, and USPS delivery. My favorite supplier has been Eternal Tools, 159 High St, Pershore, Worcs, WR10 1EQ - UK (http://www.eternaltools.com).

    While these files are around $15.00 to $30.00 each - you will not believe the quality or the longevity. I have about a dozen specialty Valorbe files, and two very thin Valorbe "screw slot" files that are only 0.006" and 0.008" in thickness for really special 'cuts'. Some I've used on Nickel Silver, Steel, Brass, Plastic, Resin, and even Plaster for over 12 years and are like new - still sharp and accurate.

    Keep files - CLEAN. Use chalk dusting frequently, clean with either a file card or better yet a thin brass plate often. Always store in upright fashion - not where they rub against themselves or other things. When put up for storage - clean first and LIGHTLY oil with a dampened rag.

    QUALITY tools are a really BIG difference in craftsmanship - it's like using fresh X-Acto blades regularly every time.

  • #2
    Ed, thanks for starting this thread. I just keep hacking away with the cheap files I have, never really thinking there was anything better out there. But....is there a product that is "middle of the road", not as expensive as the Valorbe Gardon ones, but better than "el cheapos"?

    Comment


    • #3
      Ed and others.

      I have made this thread a sticky and will leave it that way as long as it seems to be generating interest among the members.
      <img src="http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/data/bbags/20076794158_b3b.jpg" alt="" /><br /><br>John Bagley<br /><br>Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

      Comment


      • #4
        Ed, those Valorbe files sound intriguing, and 15 plus dollars is not too much to pay for a tool that is used every day for one reason ir another.

        The files I have been using are left over from all my years in woodworking and they are pretty worn out from using them on abrasive industrial materials that they were never intended for.

        The one standout file I have, actually a rasp, is a Nicholson #50 patternmaker's rasp, that has handcut teeth and goes, these days, for over $50. Not really suitable for modeling purposes, other than forming land contours on plywood bases or even foam. It cuts real fast, and cleans up easy with a wire brush. It is 10 inches long, curved on one side, flat on the other, and even has teeth on the edges for a sort of sawing action.

        Regarding the Valorbe files, and other foreign made tools, there is Garret Wade in NYC that specializes in imported woodworking tools, prideing themselves as only handling the finest tools available in the world. Pricey, but they have the goods.

        Stevie O'D

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        • #5
          quote:


          Originally posted by Tabooma County Rwy
          is there a product that is "middle of the road", not as expensive as the Valorbe Gardon ones, but better than "el cheapos"?



          Hi all, I have a few Vallorbe files. They are a bit like having broadband vs. dial-up. Once you got them, you wonder why you didn't do it eons ago. Vallorbe are very very excellent files.
          Rod Hutchinson

          Growing Old Disgracefully

          Australia

          Comment


          • #6
            quote:


            Originally posted by essodee


            . . . . . . actually a rasp, is a Nicholson #50 patternmaker's rasp, that has handcut teeth and goes, these days, for over $50. Not really suitable for modeling purposes, other than forming land contours on plywood bases . . . . . .



            Yea, I have a Nicholson rasp as well - excellent for the 'rough in' work.

            Comment


            • #7
              quote:


              Originally posted by Tabooma County Rwy


              . . . . . . is there a product that is "middle of the road", not as expensive as the Valorbe Gardon ones, but better than "el cheapos"?


              Al, I have a good stock of various industrial diamond dust impregnated files - some are even a bit flexible. These are generally very good - but not the top flight Vallorbe (yea it's with two 'L's). Last bunch I got from "The Tool Man" - often at shows - saw him at Springfield in January. Careful - not all his stuff is the better grade - some is replicate of what you can get from Micro Mart.
              Another must have (at least for HO trackwork), is an old automotive points file. They're hard to come by these days since points are not 'dressed' by mechanics anymore. They are fine teeth on both sides and both edges, slightly flexible, and exactly 0.048" in thickness - PERFECT for 'standard' HO frog and guardrail flangeways.

              Comment


              • #8
                Although I have not used the Valorbe files I have used Swiss Grobet files for years. These files are available in many different patterns and cuts, with rifflers too. emccamey's advice for caring for your files is good wisdom.

                You can get Swiss Grobet files and lots of other premium quality hand tools from;

                Paul H. Gesswein & Co. 1-203-366-5400 www.gesswein.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am lucky to have a Lee Valley Tools retail store here in London, Ontario.

                  Quality tools!

                  http://www.leevalley.com/

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                  • #10
                    My 6" Nicholson mill file is like my right hand. I actually have three of them, one that I leave by the layout, and two on the bench (so I can actually have a chance of finding one).
                    Bruce

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                    • #11
                      Are the files cited in this thread best used for certain material such as resin, pewter or other kinds of metals?

                      What file is best, and why, when working with wood such as basswood, plywood or even heavy balsa?

                      Gary (Old Fogy)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Gary,

                        Although I will use the mill file on wood, more often than not, I reach for a good old emory board for use on wood.
                        Bruce

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          quote:


                          Originally posted by Dutchman


                          Gary,

                          Although I will use the mill file on wood, more often than not, I reach for a good old emory board for use on wood.


                          Glad you mentioned that, Bruce. Emory boards I have plenty. I was concerned I was missing out on a more effective method of carving and shaping wood.

                          Gary (Old Fogy)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            quote:


                            Originally posted by Old Fogy


                            Originally posted by Dutchman

                            . . . . . . Emory boards I have plenty. I was concerned I was missing out on a more effective method of carving and shaping wood.


                            Gary, Emory boards are excellent for the finishing and light fitting with wood. I've found that shaping and taking a fair bit of wood off is more quickly accomplished with the larger rifler files that have a rasp like tooth, then final finish off with the Emory boards.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              quote:


                              Originally posted by emccamey


                              quote:


                              Originally posted by Old Fogy


                              Originally posted by Dutchman

                              . . . . . . Emory boards I have plenty. I was concerned I was missing out on a more effective method of carving and shaping wood.


                              Gary, Emory boards are excellent for the finishing and light fitting with wood. I've found that shaping and taking a fair bit of wood off is more quickly accomplished with the larger rifler files that have a rasp like tooth, then final finish off with the Emory boards.

                              Ed, please give me an example of such a file you recommend. Also, a name of a manufacturer.

                              Gary (Old Fogy)

                              Comment

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