Grobet answers this saw filer’s quest

I got the new Grobet saw file pack from Veritas yesterday and couldn’t wait to get in the shop to really try them out. I wanted to put them through their paces because I have at least 20 saws to touch up before fall and winter classes begin in a couple of weeks. With the demise and failure of Nicholson to redeem themselves from now manufacturing such low grade saw files, I was glad to set up the saws and start filing, and file I did. The school’s saws I touched up were in good nick as I always stay on top of them and they only needed one stroke to each gullet in each of the 20 saws. With single-swipe sharpening, a 10”, sixteen points-per-inch saw takes me under three minutes without setting, and none needed setting so in just over an hour I was about done. The Swiss-made file did well and I concluded it to be as good or better than the files Nicholson were once known for.

Files don’t last forever.

In fact 20 saw sharpenings from one file is perfectly acceptable. As a last shot at testing its limits I took on an eBay find and a favourite of mine, an R Groves.


This saw is well known for its harder steel and a 14”,11-ppi rip tenon in the condition this one was in would make any file baulk at the trenches – Oops, I mean gullets. It would be unfair to state a file was useless if it only sharpened one saw but the saw was in this kind of condition.First, the teeth all need shaping badly. That is often a series of sharpenings and in this case it took three times before finally establishing the shaping I wanted and then a last light pass to get the teeth to perfect level and edge quality. That means that I also topped the teeth (jointed USA) because they were so wildly uneven. Two teeth in one spot were broken off and a third one elsewhere was missing. When teeth were wildly bad, saw shops used to recut the teeth with a tooth cutter.machine, otherwise a mechanical filer could end up with a series of half cut teeth. Hand filing as I do enables me to ‘move’ the tooth over and reestablish it and centre it in relation to the adjacent teeth. That’s what I was doing after topping the teeth. Well, the file actually reshaped and resharpened the whole Groves saw as well so, though I finally rendered the file useless, it wasn’t without it excelling in the cause of duty. This file was a smaller file, a 5″ 2X slim. The contrast between before and after took the saw from passive rake to progressive and aggressive. It sliced through wood like the best saws and I now have to make a handle for it to restore it to full glory. Someone replaced it with a sixties Spear and Jackson. It works fine but looks dead ugly compared to the ones groves made.

Thos is how the saw teeth looked after conclusion.

I am so glad to have a good saw file in my hands again. I will continue with the Bahco files here in

the UK and now use Grobet for the USA saw sharpening.

So glad this was resolved for me. Saw filing is fun when you know how and I have a completely new restoration method to show you as well as a new method of sharpeningI have not yet shown anyone yet. I want to share this with you soon and we will do that through our videos.


I love the look of newly sharpened and restored teeth. I wish we had saw makers that could make folded backs on saws as well as this one. In this case I really like the added weight. Ever noticed harmonics with the new lightweight saws. Every tooth vibrates in sympathetic harmony. Amazing how tool makers get it so wrong – heavyweights on one side and lightweights on the other. Just taking a look back should tell them something.


Love the Grobet saw file. Lets see how it does over the next year or so. That will be the real test.

8 thoughts on “Grobet answers this saw filer’s quest”

  1. Yeah, I was just happy to be able to keep US saws sharp. The average file cost comes out at under $6 which makes sharpening 20 saws 30 cents a pop and a couple of restorations with really bad teeth only $3. Not bad at all I think.

    1. Oh, I almost forgot. I too liked the organiser roll and the sizing labeling. When I am traveling I like the files to be separate and that also protects other tools from the hard file too.

  2. Stephan Nardone

    This files are also known under the brand Vallorbe. They are both manufactured by the same company in Switzerland.

    I would be more than happy to learn how to resharpen and set a saw as I bought some on ebay a few months ago 😉

    I hope to come to one of your trainings in the uk next year !

    Cheers from France

    1. Hi Stehan, We plan on two two-day saw and plane workshops in the UK next year. You should book a week here, three days for a foundational and 2 days working saws and planes. Posting dates soon.

  3. I liked the roll so much I ordered it. Then they told me it was back ordered. And then back ordered yet again. It’s the Sellers’ effect. I filled in what I was missing and found the right shape ZipLock (C) bags to keep them separated and an extra bag for a sheet of paper listing saw numbers alongside the TPI numbers. Put them all in one place and, well, it doesn’t look nifty, but it works for a Grobet set.
    Between the Disston Archives and Isaac Smith’s charts at his Blackburn Web Site, I was able to come up with which file does what saw. Laborious work that was, but it’s the way I learn. Since hardly anyone agrees, compromise was one rule, and less than 1/2 the width of a triangular side to the gullet depth (as per Sellers), was the other rule.

  4. Hi Paul I agree with you about the Nicholson.i operate a saw filing business since 1956 and always used Nicholson files but since they are now made in Mexico I will no longer purchase they as they do not stand up Signed Jim

    1. We just have to hope that the decent firms manufacturing keep their standards, Jim. Bahco are just as good as Nicholson ever were and I also like the Tome Feteira saw files too. Whereas I keep trying the Nicholson in the hope that they will return to the standards they were once known for, I’m not holding my breath as in six years now they have failed consistently to give me a file that will sharpen more than one saw. Bahco and Feteira on the other hand will do two dozen sharpenings and more.

  5. This is an old post, but just to update that in Oct 2016 these are now the Bahco Portuguese files when ordering from Lee Valley in the US.

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