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Any high quality metal files made in USA?

Posted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:31 am
by Darryl Ponder
Anyone know of metal files that are still made in the USA? I couldn't find any on a quick internet search.

I learned at the Fall conference that Nicholson files are no longer made in the USA. APEX Tool Group, owned by Bain Capital (Yuk! useless bloodsuckers in my opinion) owns many brands, including Nicholson. Nicholson manufacturing was moved to low labor cost areas outside the USA.

It isn't only Nicholson that Bain Capital owns under this foul(in my opinion) umbrella group. Some of the other brands include Crescent, Campbell, Gear Wrench, Lufkin, Diamond, Weller, Xcelite, Allen and many others.

Re: Any high quality metal files made in USA?

Posted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:30 pm
by Martin Pansch
As far as I can tell, no. After a little crawling around the web for a bit I found:

Nicholson - Made in either Cali, Colombia; Tlalnepantla, Mexico; or Sorocaba, Brazil

Simonds - Tough to tell but I found one place saying Bogota, Colombia and another saying India. I sent them an email asking where exactly they are made. We'll see if they reply.

Grobet USA - While the Grobet site says they have plants in Switzerland and the US I found one chat room that claimed the Grobet USA files are made in India. I am assuming Grobet is still made in Switzerland.

Since the options are either hunt for old USA made files or go over seas I might suggest one of these:

Pferd - Germany. I got a 10" bastard from Toll Welding a few years ago on sale. It is my favorite file for quick removal of metal. I have used it a bunch and it is still sharp. I have an inquiry in to find a local dealer with a better selection than Toll has (e.g. squares, rounds, etc).

Vallorbe - Switzerland. I haven't used these myself but they get good ratings from lots of folks on line.

Grobet - Switzerland.

That said, my needle files are all China made crap. I got them a while ago cheap and are still using them. I thought of getting some Grobets to replace them but I think of the bunch I have broken and know it would hurt a lot more if I had paid Grobet prices for them. A lot of my bigger files are old, made in the US Nicholsons or Simonds that I am probably using past when they should be retired. Beau Battle told me he knows a place that resharpens files but it wasn't cheap. Still, might be worth it.

I suppose we could try making our own by hand...

Re: Any high quality metal files made in USA?

Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 12:56 pm
by Martin Pansch
I heard back from the Pferd representative. Sort of impressive he answered on a Saturday morning. He confirmed they are still made in Germany and said Mississippi Welders in Mankato has a good selection of Pferd files.

I checked their website and they have Mill, Flat, Round, Square, three square and chainsaw files. Most are market as "out of stock" but I am guessing they probably can get them if ordered.

Nothing back from the Simonds rep yet. I am guessing they don't like answering the "where are they made" question.

Re: Any high quality metal files made in USA?

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:49 pm
by Martin Pansch
The Coelacanth has risen!

Aldo, The New Jersey Steel Baron, has come into a supply of 1970's vintage Nicholson files. Back when they were made in the US of good steel. These are used, they are New Old Stock (NOS, I had to look up the acronym). The 10 inchers are gone but looks like there are still 14" flat and mill bastard files. Those will remove some serious steel in short order used right, especially the flat bastard.

Anyway, for those interested the link is here:

Also, I heard from Beau Battles that Grobet is in the process of moving there file making operations. The European production is being moved from Switzerland to Italy. The Grobet US is being moved to China. So the quest for good files is going to be even tougher. That file sharpening service might start to look a lot better with the alternative are new files that are dull out of the box.