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Author Previous Topic: Cutting sheet brass... Topic Next Topic: flattening out thin plywood?
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emccamey
Crew Chief



Posted - 02/12/2007 :  8:15:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit emccamey's Homepage  Reply with Quote
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.

Country: USA | Posts: 964

Tabooma County Rwy
Fireman



Posted - 02/12/2007 :  8:36:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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"?


Country: USA | Posts: 4630 Go to Top of Page

Bbags
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 02/12/2007 :  8:44:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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.



John Bagley
Modeling the Alaska Railroad in HO in Wildwood Georgia.

Country: USA | Posts: 13311 Go to Top of Page

essodee
Fireman



Posted - 02/12/2007 :  9:01:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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



Country: USA | Posts: 1561 Go to Top of Page

RodH
Engine Wiper



Posted - 02/12/2007 :  9:22:09 PM  Show Profile  Visit RodH's Homepage  Reply with Quote
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

Country: Australia | Posts: 340 Go to Top of Page

emccamey
Crew Chief



Posted - 02/12/2007 :  10:14:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit emccamey's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by essodee

. . . <snip> . . . 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 . . . <snip> . . .

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



Country: USA | Posts: 964 Go to Top of Page

emccamey
Crew Chief



Posted - 02/12/2007 :  10:24:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit emccamey's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tabooma County Rwy

. . . <snip> . . . 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.



Country: USA | Posts: 964 Go to Top of Page

flatsguide
Engine Wiper

Posted - 02/12/2007 :  10:55:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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



Country: | Posts: 123 Go to Top of Page

railmus
Fireman



Posted - 02/12/2007 :  11:45:27 PM  Show Profile  Visit railmus's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I am lucky to have a Lee Valley Tools retail store here in London, Ontario.
Quality tools!
http://www.leevalley.com/



Country: Canada | Posts: 1975 Go to Top of Page

Dutchman
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 02/13/2007 :  06:32:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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).


Country: USA | Posts: 31337 Go to Top of Page

Old Fogy
Crew Chief

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  07:29:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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)



Country: USA | Posts: 737 Go to Top of Page

Dutchman
Administrator

Premium Member


Posted - 02/13/2007 :  07:39:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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.



Country: USA | Posts: 31337 Go to Top of Page

Old Fogy
Crew Chief

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  09:27:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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)



Country: USA | Posts: 737 Go to Top of Page

emccamey
Crew Chief



Posted - 02/13/2007 :  10:05:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit emccamey's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Old Fogy

[quote]Originally posted by Dutchman

. . . <snip> . . . 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.



Country: USA | Posts: 964 Go to Top of Page

Old Fogy
Crew Chief

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  12:19:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by emccamey

quote:
Originally posted by Old Fogy

[quote]Originally posted by Dutchman

. . . <snip> . . . 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)



Country: USA | Posts: 737 Go to Top of Page

Kitbash
New Hire

Posted - 02/13/2007 :  7:52:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
After reading this thread, I think maybe I should experiment and put some money into a few quality files and try them out. Just for the heck of doing so.

My tendancy the last 20 years has been just to buy as many files as I need and chuck them when they get "cruddy". I have a drawer full of various files at various prices I have purchased over the years.

As for wood (and sheet plastic) I use either a large carpenters file or a sheet of sandpaper with a huge metal "L" angle. I square the sheet against the angle and run it back and forth over the sand paper. (Sand paper is flat on my workbench). I use the small hobby files mostly for cleaning flash, etc. after I ahve trimmed something.

Just depends on the job at hand.



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