Craftsman has just come out with a new 3pc hand file set, which features 3 files and a single handle.
The files include a mill file, a round file, and a half-round file, each 6″ in length. Craftsman says that the set comes with a carry pouch.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
Compare(Nicholson 3pc 6″ file set via Amazon)
Honestly, I think that Amazon’s $25 price is destined to be a “was price” or “list price,” as it seems to be a bit too much for what you get.
For around the same price, they also have a listing for a Nicholson 3pc file set. It’s a 6″ file set, with handles on each file, and you get a mill file, half round file, and round file, same as with the Craftsman set.
How easy is it to take the files out of the Craftsman handle?
With a $25 budget and limited to the two above options, the Nicholson set seems like the better buy. But if that Craftsman set lowers in price, or you want 3 files and just one handle, the Craftsman set might gain some favor.
Or, maybe you want the option to use your file with a handle or without, easily switching between the two options? Are there any other reasons why the Craftsman might be a good idea over the Nicholson 3pc set?
P.S. What’s a good file brand these days? I have a lot of Nicholson files, and one of these days I’ll try Simonds.
Not sure the Craftsman middle file can be classified as a Mill file. Looks like a bog standard square file. I may be wrong though.
I feel a little uncertain about that too, but they’re calling it a mill file.
Mike (the other one)
That Nicholson set is a good one. I’d much rather have files with separate handles. The Nicholson handles also have holes for pegboard hanging or lanyards (a nice thing to have when on top of a ladder). Plus the half-round file is more useful to me than the triangular file.
I’d pick the Nicholson over the Craftsman too – but I suspect, like with the rest of their hand tools, Craftsman’s selling feature might be the warranty.
The best files in my opinion are Simonds (made in USA). The made in USA Nicholson files are good, but I believe the new ones are now outsourced, which I have not used.
My most recent Nicholson files are Mexico made
Mike (the other one)
Yeah mostly Mexico, but some are still made in the US I believe.
Speaking of which, I just bought a Nicholson 4-in-1 rasp/file, NOS. Still in the package, with yellowed plastic, from back before Apex.
Some USA made old stock have been left probably.
Doesn’t a regular metal tang also allow you to change handles if you want? I am struggling to see an advantage to this two-part plastic deal? FWIW, in my portable kit I carry one of these general tools adjustable handles, as suggested by a previous comment, and I have been very happy with it for holding saw blades as well as files.
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The 3 files pictured have different tangs. The triangular and round file might fit in the same size Skrooz-On handle – but the flat file may need a larger size. Plastic/Rubber handles like the one pictured – come with plugs to handle some different tang styles and sizes.
New Nicholson files aren’t very good anymore so I avoid them unless i buy old USA made ones at a garage sale or new old stock. Aren’t Simonds outsourced as well? I bought a Simonds large bastard file a few years back and it was made in Mexico or some other country but definitely not USA. Because of that I bought Grobet files. One 8 inch is made is USA and the larger ones I have are made in Sweden or some other country where they make good tools. Its been a while since I looked. I have been satisfied with the Grobets that are made from a reputable country. They cut steel better than the modern Nicholson or Simonds files when I used them.
Nicholson used to be a very good file when made in the USA. However, the Mexico made files aren’t tempered properly, if at all, and are terrible. If you are filing metal with them, they go south very quickly. Nicholson is trading on their name. I’m wondering where the Craftsman brand are made. Bahco makes a good file, made in Portugal. I’ll have to try the Simonds.
Thanks, I didn’t know (or forgot) that Bahco made files! My Craftsman Pro hacksaw was made in Sweden by Bahco. I’ve tried a couple of Bahco tools in recent years, and most have been very positive experiences.
Bahco is a Swedish company, but their files are made in Portugal. Another brand with a good reputation from Portugal is from the Tome Feteira file company. I have a set of saw files I recently ordered, but have not yet used so can’t speak from personal experience. This is a company that started making files in 1856, so I’m hoping won’t cheap out on them any time soon. Zorro carries some.
Not all Bahco files are made in Portugal, but most of their files are, and also most of other brands do make their files in Portugal, It seems there is a File factory in Portugal that makes files for a lot of brands.
Lots of “files” for wood are made in Japan. These are a bit of a cross between what might technically be called a a “float” and a metal file. Iwasaki is one brand that I use.
Not all Simonds file are USA-made either. I’ve seen some stamped “India”. I’ve also seen other brands of file made in India – with names like Mercer and Corona
Mike (the other one)
Apex Tool Group has done an exceptional job of diluting all the brands into junk.
Not just Apex, all brands are doing the same, specially old brands, some new brands are doing better, but after years they will do the same as older ones, first they make a good name and then they abuse it kind of, I would say.
Pferd is where it’s at for good metal files.
Agreed, Pferd for me as well
With regards to File handles, they are not that expensive.
And if you want a cheap alternative, golf balls make great file handles. Drill a hole just slightly larger than the small end of the tang and hammer it on. The rubber in the core will grip the tang well enough that it will probably never fall off. I have done this to close to 100 files and have not found any issues or real differences with the brand of golf ball and have only had a few ever come off.
Mr Craftsman, Why not files with 1/4″ E6.3 Hex shank ?!!! and a handle which accepts 1/4″ E6.3 hex shanks?
Let the handle to have a use for other things also.
Hex shank tool holders generally aren’t designed for lateral loads.
I know, that is why I said they have to design a good handle/holder also, but the thing is I can use the round ones with impact drivers and drills. then these files have another level of use.
I think that I’d prefer to chuck a rotary file, rasp or bur in a drill or impact driver. A well hardened hand file has the downside of being more brittle than a rotary file – and might well snap off if it binds.
I did buy some eazypower hex shank rotary files but they are not good quality made in China or Taiwan, I have not seen an American or European made ones, very rarely I see some Japanese made ones but they don’t deliver to UK, There is a German brand called Wolfcraft they do make some medium quality ones, I am not sure about their origin but.
Do you think it is going to be OK if I use Carbide burrs with snappy drill bit collets on a snappy quick change chuck with a cordless drill?!
As you say – you might try carbide of HSS burs having 8mm or 6.3mm (1/4 inch shanks). We used these in die grinders for metal – but some have pretty aggressive “teeth” – which could work out for use on wood. I have some old Grobet USA Swiss-Made rotary files that have held up in my home shop use for perhaps 30 years. I’ve also used some small end-mills chucked in a portable tool for wood shaping. With some end mill you need to be quite circumspect – lest you shred your fingertips while trying to chuck/unchuck them.
BTW – Wolfcraft sells some tools in the US market as well. Most look to be aimed at hobbyists
For high-grade metalworking files, I personally prefer Vallorbe. Their “Valtitan” product goes up to 72HRc and they make a range of specialist files for watchmaking, chainsaws, et cetera. They can be pretty pricey (Swiss-made), but so far they’ve been worth it for me.
Note, I have not directly compared Pferd to Vallorbe, so I’m not saying Pferd is inferior or anything. Just saying check out Vallorbe as well if you’re looking for nice files.
A bit of a non sequitur – but my favorite scroll saw blades are made in Vallorbe Switzerland by Pegas (a Scies Minitaures Company – which is part of Grobet USA.)
In another connection – it was said that a man named Grobet invented (1836 in Vallorbe) the first machine for the making of files. I understand that before that files had been hand made.