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Finding Files and Other Saw Sharpening Tips

I've been getting a few questions lately on saw files - what to get, and where to get them, mostly.  Here's some highlights from those correspondences that others might find useful.


I've found that Nicholsen saw files are getting to be poorer quality - though they will still do in a pinch, most certainly...  I have many boxes of older Nicholsens that will keep me in files for quite a while.   For new, I recommend Grobet files personally, though I've seen Daryl Weir recommend Bahco files, and with the immense skill he has in sharpening a saw I wouldn't doubt his word at all. 

You can get quality saw files at any of the following:
I believe they are all selling Grobet brand files, but I’m not positive about Lie-Nielsen – they may sell Bahco, but I believe it is Grobet.  In any case, they are all very good, Bahco is a good file, from all reports I've heard (though I've not used them myself).   Simonds also makes a good saw file, from my experience, if you can find them.  Sears sometimes sells them, along with Bachco brand files.
Vintage Saws is a small company, just one guy I think – Pete Taran – he’s actually the guy who started making Independence Saws, which were eventually bought out by and became the Lie-Nielsen line of saws.  He has a great sharpening tutorial on his site as well, well worth your time to read.
Lie-Nielsen you should know, they are a quality outfit all around, and make excellent quality saws.  Tools For Working Wood is Joel Moscowitz’s company out of New York, he sells a lot of great quality tools at pretty reasonable prices.  He’s my very favorite online tool dealer.  He’s my go-to dealer.  He also makes a line of saws – Gramercy – which are great saws, of excellent quality.
Mike Wenzloff makes saws and sells files also:
His stuff is always top-notch. 
Any of the above are absolutely guaranteed as top-notch – I recommend any/all of them.
Another place to get saw files - if you don't mind buying a box of 12 - is at
It's a pretty good deal for them, if you plan on filing a number of saws.
If you are in the UK or Europe I won’t be of  too much help finding saw files that cost a bunch to ship as all the places I know well are here in the US, but you might try these, they are all in the UK:


 EDIT:  Pedder (of Two Lawyers Sawmakers) in a comment below mentions:


The best source for saw files in europe is Dieter Schmid's

Grobet files (labled F. Dick)

Thanks Pedder!  I had completely forgotten about that company...  For everyone else - take a look at Pedder's offerings - they are an up and coming pair of sawmakers whose work is amongst the best I've seen...


Just so you know, I am working on getting a supplier lined up for selling saw files through this website at some time in the future...  We'll have to see if it works out, but watch here for updates.


While I'm at it, here's a few links and images from previous articles on Norse Woodsmith:


Lines drawings with spacings for saw teeth in PDF format:

A guide for fleam:


 Here's a recommened list of files for ppi/tpi of saws - compiled and consolidated from several sources:


 For sizing a particular file to a particular tooth size - this is the general rule of thumb you want to follow:



Mike Wenzloff has taken information from Holly’s “The Art of Saw Filing” and Charles Holtzapffel’s “Construction, Action and Application of Cutting Tools” that cover choosing a saw for a task fairly well:
Mike’s chart and saw recommendations in the link above are quite good – spend some time looking his information over, and that should help you determine what sizes you may need.

On an entirely different subject:

A request was made in my last entry something similar to "no pictures, didn't happen"... so here is a portion of Neil Young's "Down By The River" accompanied by me on one of the guitars I made,,, 

Down By The River

It looks like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.

If the player above doesn't load, here's a direct link to the file:

No apologies for the player's abilities - he's trying his best, mind you.  You should be able to tell which guitar it is I'm playing pretty easily (it is Mjöllnir, BTW).






Hi Leif,
great post!
The best source for saw files in europe is Dieter Schmid's
Grobet files (labled F. Dick)



Thanks, Pedder!  I forgot completely about those guys.  I've forwarded the info on to some folks looking for sources in Europe.




Hi Pedder, 
I also use F. Dick needle files, I buy them at a local hardware store, and them work very well.



I believe Grobet files are made in Europe so I would think it wouldn't be hard to find suppliers through the manufacturer. Simonds files are sold by Fastenal under their in store brand of Blackstone. If the store doesn't have then in stock they will order them for you.


Grobet files are Swiss in origin - I too am a bit surprised they would be hard to find.  One of the fellows I was talking with was from Eastern Europe which may make a difference...

Another reader, Andrea, pointed out another potential source tho (their comment was filtered as spam, though it isn't - I will look into that), though I have zero experience with them - perhaps someone else does:

Hi Leif and thank you very much for the informations in your last post.
For some reasons my comment was grabbed by your spam filter and was not 
I just wanted to tell you that in Italy we have two factory that produces 
also saw files: Stella Bianca and Corradi.
But I have not had the opportunity to try them, so I can not add any more 
about them.

Best regards,


Just want to shout out a thanks to Andrea, and to suggest people interested take a look at his blog site,  There's some interesting links there, and a good photo essay on shaping a saw handle.  It's in Italian for the most part, for those that are Italian-challenged such as I, Google Tranlate does a fair job (into English, anyway)



Hi again Leif and thank you for your compliments.
I want to share something I was told about Swiss files.
I'm not sure that is true, so take it just as a rumor.
In Switzerland is remained only a factory that produces files: the Vallorbe one.
So all other files "Swiss made", for example, Baiter and Honauer, are all produced and rebranded by Vallorbe.
Here are the links of the cited companies:
About Grobet, I'm not sure that they are produced in Switzerland.
And finally, here are some links to other European files manufacturers:
Cheers from Italy,



Just a small correction.
The site of Corradi I've indicated is the one of the web shop and not the one othe the factory, that is this: