Another day in the life of NL


It was busy all day the way through until around 11pm. Electrical work and plumbing, some flooring and siding whilst on the non-construction side we finally had the last of the benches in the hand tool workshop and freed up the machine shop. With only vises left to fit and two weeks to the first class it felt good. I am in the middle of making some tool cupboards for my creative workspace and have one more tool chest to finish before next week but it felt good flopping into bed last night after so productive a day.





I feel compelled to discuss Nicholson files with you. For the first time I can recall I found myself struggling to top a saw with a 10” flat file from Nicholson. I glanced along the teeth and found it breasted—not what I want on a tenon saw and even most other saws really. I tried again and it was the reverse. It had to be the file, as you can ‘breast‘ a saw with a flat file but not hollow one. I glanced along the file and sure enough it had a 1/8” curve along the length. In The Home Depot Store in Sarratoga Springs I opened four packages to make sure I got a flat one, thinking I had simply bought a bad one from otherwise generally straight stock, fact ended up being that none of the “Hecho Mexico” files were flat in any way. So we will have to find a new supplier. We found the same with some of the 6” saw files by Nicholson too. Some might say that this doesn’t make any difference but let me assure you that it really does.

Yesterday was a truly splendid day with all the wonders of Springtime buzzing, flying, bursting and waiting for that perfect moment to bring new life. The pond at the front of the shop was stunning. Canadian geese have built their nest just west of the pond in the swampy land and Cardinals and nuthatch call constantly for a mate. The day was filled with good production but timeout to see the maple bloom and the leaves unfolding on the willows.

More exciting things today as I work on my creative workspace.



  1. From the reading I have done, Grobet swiss files are pretty much the only decent files left on the market and they are hard to find outside of mail-order. It is really sad that you can’t walk into your nearest hardware store and buy quality products anymore for the most part. Heck, I can’t even buy decent eastern white pine at my nearest big box store, even if you sift through the whole pallet load, and I live in the land of eastern white pine.

  2. I have had luck with some other files (some auction site NOS simonds, etc, for half of new price), but I haven’t had consistent luck. Maybe Grobet is the way to go if you don’t mind spending a bit more.

    Vintage NOS nicholsons or other brand files are also nice if you can find them, and at the level of quality of the newer files, it may be best to get what you can (I looted the HD of the last single cut files that were US made, there must be some in the back of the racks at some HDs) that’s straight and send them to boggs tool or someone else who can rehone the teeth on them.

    I tried to contact cooper tools via their web page form, and have to figure that they have decided that the majority of the users will not know the difference. My question was along the lines of getting professional quality files after the change in origin (figuring perhaps not all of their wares had shifted and maybe they still make some quality gear available somewhere), and I guess they didn’t have an answer to the question as they chose not to respond at all – leaving us only to guess.

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