I want to resurrect my article posted a few months back warning people NOT TO BUY Nicholson saw files from any sources such as The Home Depot or Lowes or any general hardware stores any more. At The Woodworking Shows show last week I had one Nicholson file left over and as I was demonstrating saw sharpening I thought, well, I could use this new one. I pulled it out and started sharpening a Disston, got 8” along and could go no further. It stopped cutting altogether after only 8”. I explained to my large audience that Nicholson had failed to maintain standards and now imported their files from Mexico. The people hung their heads and shook them from side to side in shame. More’s the pity that Nicholson doesn’t have the same sense of shame. The people in front of me had a loyalty they thought they could depend on. This kind of fractured economics has to stop and the sooner we stop buying low grade goods because companies like Nicholson no longer deserve our loyalty the sooner we will reconcile what’s happening to the flawed economics where US makers import at cheap rates and sell their reputation to the lowest bidder.
So, where does that leave you in terms of saw sharpening. Well, I think the best files available in the US and Canada at a good price currently are Grobet files. In the UK I think without doubt the very best files are offered by the Swedish makers Bahco. No other files come close bar none. They are made in Portugal and are the best files ever, anywhere. I have had up to 30 sharpenings from one file! I have also had fairly good results with Stanley saw files, which are made in China.
I am sorry to have to speak out against a US based company, but I do the same when any product is not fit for purpose and Nicholson saw files are not fit for purpose. The other reason is that if you are new to sharpening, you would automatically think that the problem is you and not this make of file because of its longstanding reputation as an industry supplier. I cannot have that. The problem is not you but the company.