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More Grobet info

I almost forgot, well, actually, I did forget. I meant to mention that I have used the Nicholson files for decades and then ran out of my stock of files.

I usually buy files by the box and recently bought some new ones via Home Depot. Read here to see more on what followed. Anyway, needless to say these files failed for the first time and I couldn’t recommend them any more. The I heard about Grobet and tried to order them from a US based company but couldn’t because they didn’t answer the phone or follow up with a call as promised via the answer machine.

This brought me up to date. I received my new file set replete with file roll organizer from Lee valley Veritas who are now stocking them. I took images to show the contrast between the Grobet and the Nicholson. Critical to any understanding of saw files is the fact that they have six faces not three, even though we call them three-square files. The large flat faces are not so much an issue as what happens along the small faces that form the corners.If these edges fracture, and even on good files they can, it results in a bumpy rode along each stroke. When the whole or bulk of the corner goes, the file cannot allow the large flat faces on either side to cut the face and back of the saw teeth in one stroke and so the file is rendered unusable for saw filing. Contrasting the files as shown you can see what happens. Now then, the thing that struck me with the Grobet was the smoothness with which it cut the teeth. I sharpened a Veritas 10” 16-ppi rip tenon saw in under three minutes. Each pass with the Grobet was stunningly smooth as silk, or a knife through butter or a swan on a lake. Beautiful. That used to be how Nicholson’s were for decades.

Also, I really liked the idea of the canvass roll holder. I travel with my files to shows and such for demoing and if I am not careful the plane vibration in the hold or the tool box in the back of my car can allow filing in secret corners where I don’t realize what’s going on. The holder gives great organization and so the rest is up to me.


  1. KevinWilkinson on 19 October 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I just placed my order, thanks for the heads up.

  2. PhilM on 19 October 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Inspired by your posts on saws and sharpening them, I bought a few old saws and have been looking for saw files to sharpen them. I came across this file set a few days ago but I cant bring myself to spend money on what essentially sounds like a consumable item. I wish there was a reasonable alternative. But I also get the supply/demand situation.

    • Paul Sellers on 20 October 2012 at 11:25 am

      Yes, but the condition is worsening by manufacturers who once had local loyalty to customers feeling less and less loyalty as people look around the globe for products lower in price. That’s the price we pay for the demand for lower priced goods. We paved the way for Asian knockoffs from people who know no such thing of local loyalty and have no origin of western tools of their own, obviously. They responded by replacing what we demanded in cheaper goods with, well, cheaper goods. So the sooner we get back on track and start supporting domestic makers the better, but that has to be at fairer prices and not grossly high prices. It’s all to do with conveyor belts and of course what people now see as global economies. We need locally based domestic economies.

  3. Paul Sellers on 21 October 2012 at 7:00 am

    The Veritas saw will sharpen in a heartbeat because the steel is thin. I am assuming it is not the superfine 20-tpi, which is harder to sharpen and not a starter point (no pun) for beginners. The 14-tpi would prove a better saw to practice on and I suggest a 10-tpi junker from a garage sale such as a panel saw to get started on.

  4. Rob Young on 22 October 2012 at 5:51 am

    This looks like a sweet solution to both storage and acquisition of the basic files. The missing link is handles for the saw files. Sure, you can use them without and one shouldn’t be pushing down so hard the file catches then slips and punctures your palm (DAMHIKT). Consider instead making some small handles from bits of scrap wood. Or better yet, buy a bottle or two of your favorite wine, enjoy them with someone special then slip the corks into your saw filing kit to use as handles.

    • Paul Sellers on 22 October 2012 at 12:56 pm

      I drill a 1/8″ hole into a 1 x 1 piece of pine and then remove the corners to make a hexagon. Sometimes I I taper the length and also round the ends with a rasp. That usually lasts for ten years or i lose it. A file handle only takes two minutes to fashion.

  5. George Bridgeman on 16 November 2012 at 11:54 am

    FYI, you can get Grobet saw files in the UK from Classic Hand Tools ( They don’t mention on the site that the files are by Grobet by all the ones I’ve bought are made by them (Grobet logo at the bottom of the file).

    CHT are awesome. Great staff and they dispatch orders super quick.


    • Paul Sellers on 16 November 2012 at 12:55 pm


      Thanks for that George.

  6. Patrick Wright on 9 April 2015 at 11:43 pm

    I just purchased the same Grobet files from Lee Valley, so I am glad to see your positive review. Thank you, Mr. Sellers.

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