MEMBER ITEMS FOR SALE
Custom Knives | Other Knives | General Items
-------------------------------------------
New Posts | New PhotosAll Photos



Go Back   The Knife Network Forums : Knife Making Discussions > Custom Knife Discussion Boards > Knife Making Discussions > The Newbies Arena

The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-01-2006, 10:03 AM
xardoz xardoz is offline
Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Posts: 33
Nicholson files ARE 1095

Hi all.

I picked up several large Nicholson aluminum/soft metal files this weekend for a song to use as blade stock. While searching for tips/tutorials for using them, I noticed that there was some controversy as to just what steel Nicholson is using these days.

No one seemed to know for sure, so I contacted Cooper Tools, the parent company of Nicholson, asking for clarification.

I just received a reply from Peggy Overton (Customer Service) at Cooper Tools:

Quote:
Hello Brian,

Our files are made of C1095 steel.

Thanks
Peggy Overton
Customer Service
Hope this clears things up.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-01-2006, 11:08 AM
B.Finnigan's Avatar
B.Finnigan B.Finnigan is offline
Living Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Near Rainier WA
Posts: 1,986
I wonder why they don't stay sharp any longer then they do if they are 1095. My shop is polluted with worn out nicholson files. They look new but they lose their edge after a couple knives. At least they can be made into good knives.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-01-2006, 01:15 PM
TexasJack's Avatar
TexasJack TexasJack is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 2,826
I think the subject of file steel has been focused on what companies other than Nicholson use. There are so many coming in from China under every 'brand' imaginable that it's hard to say what steel you might end up with. A lot of them are just case hardened - and they definately have a limited life span!


__________________
God bless Texas! Now let's secede!!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-01-2006, 02:34 PM
xardoz xardoz is offline
Enthusiast
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Posts: 33
True, there's no way to tell with imports, but I had run across a few posts with people saying that Nicholson "used" to be strictly 1095, but they weren't sure if that was still the case. It's nice to have confirmation from the manufacturer, if nothing else.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-01-2006, 05:21 PM
Andrew Garrett's Avatar
Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Nampa, Idaho
Posts: 3,582
There was considerable discussion about Nicholson's last year. Specifically, the 'Black Diamond' labled files. Someone indicated that they had had them tested and discovered that they were identical to 1095 except in their carbon content. That test indicated a considerably higher amount of carbon. I can't recall what it was.

In any case, I buy only Nicholson Black Diamond bastard files at the local scrap yard at three for a buck and they make awesome blades!


__________________
Andy Garrett
https://www.facebook.com/GarrettKnives?ref=hl
Charter Member - Kansas Custom Knifemaker's Association
www.kansasknives.org

"Drawing your knife from its sheath and using it in the presence of others should be an event complete with oos, ahhs, and questions."
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-02-2006, 01:28 AM
orvet's Avatar
orvet orvet is offline
Steel Addict
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Oregon
Posts: 113
I have some Nicholson files that are 25+ years old and are still sharp. I used to rebuild rotary screw air compressors and there was a lot of file work doing that. I have used my files a lot and for the most part they are still good and sharp. I wonder if they have changed over the years.
I went to look for some 4" files to do some file work & all I could find were made in China. I did the file work on one knife and they were dull. I finally found some Nicholsons and 1 file cost me more than the whole set of Chinese files, but it was a lot sharper. I have only done two knives with them, but so-far-so-good.

I have some old Simmons files that are good also, but can't find anyone locally who sells them.

It is nice to know that when my Nicholsons wear out I can make blades out of them.

Dale
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-02-2006, 09:10 PM
EdgarFigaro EdgarFigaro is offline
Skilled
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Tuttle, Oklahoma
Posts: 717
I had come across this on a website when doing a search for it as well.
Dunno how accurate it is or anything. He didn't say where his testing was done, but he shows an image of the file piece on the site.

Quote:
Nicholson File
1.23%C .37%Mn .21%Si .16%Cr .09%Ni .04%Mo
(extra low P & S and very low W, Ti, Al, B, Cu)
Here all this time I figured it was plain ol' 1095, turns out to be
a steel that's referred to quite a bit in most metallurgy books but
is not named, numbered or listed by AISI or SAE, only referred to as
"1.22% carbon steel". Taps, dies and reamers are also made of it.
So, a using-knife made from old files will be in good company. wink.gif
http://www.panix.com/~alvinj/testsamples.htm


Had posted this in a file discussion over on Fogg's site.


__________________
Beau Erwin
www.ErwinKnives.com
Custom knives
Bcarta Composites
Stabilized Woods
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-03-2006, 12:25 AM
B.Finnigan's Avatar
B.Finnigan B.Finnigan is offline
Living Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Near Rainier WA
Posts: 1,986
But shouln't they first work as files before becomming a knife?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-03-2006, 02:10 AM
Andrew Garrett's Avatar
Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Nampa, Idaho
Posts: 3,582
I don't do a great deal of work with my files, but I have a full set of new Nicholson's and a few Nicholson specialty files. They are as good as any I've ever used.

The old 'black diamonds' are the only ones I make knives from and it is the 'black diamonds' that I believe match the alloy content Edgar listed above. It helps to anneal them twice!


__________________
Andy Garrett
https://www.facebook.com/GarrettKnives?ref=hl
Charter Member - Kansas Custom Knifemaker's Association
www.kansasknives.org

"Drawing your knife from its sheath and using it in the presence of others should be an event complete with oos, ahhs, and questions."
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-09-2006, 02:20 PM
havoc1969 havoc1969 is offline
Registered
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1
I have about 8 nicholson "bastard" files, metal files from my work that we are getting rid of... I work for an oilfield machine shop! I would love to send them to a knifemaker and do a trade, give him a bunch and get a few knives out of it....

If interested, email me at havoc1969@hotmail.com and maybe we can work something out...
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-14-2016, 03:21 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Guru
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,250
Edgar Figaro has the old formula.

I don't know about the new one, but I have a nicholson file set of Habilis precision files I bought in 1978 and they are still sharp. I have kept them oiled, but the other files from then I have are still mostly doing well except the ones I used a lot on stainless. I think they had a touch of chrome in them and of course the manganese would account for their edge holding.
I have a big 12" bastard nicholson, 5/32 thick that is becoming a knife and a 10" 1/8 that is becoming a drop point hunter too. I've had those files for over 40 years and it's about time to recycle them. I annealed them a while back and it's about time I finished them. Hope they take a good blueing.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-14-2016, 04:29 PM
Andrew Garrett's Avatar
Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Nampa, Idaho
Posts: 3,582
Wow! I remember this conversation. Hard to believe its been a decade!

Interestingly, many years ago, but many years after this thread started, I called Nicholson. They would not reveal the steel blend as they considered it a trade secret. However, when I pressed for how I should heat treat a knife made from one of their files, the gentleman stated without hesitation, that I should follow a W-2 procedure for best results.


__________________
Andy Garrett
https://www.facebook.com/GarrettKnives?ref=hl
Charter Member - Kansas Custom Knifemaker's Association
www.kansasknives.org

"Drawing your knife from its sheath and using it in the presence of others should be an event complete with oos, ahhs, and questions."
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 02-14-2016, 05:46 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Guru
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,250
Glad to hear the W2 HT

I was wondering about it. I knew they keep their formula a secret because they make some of the best files. Has anyone heard of Heller files? They are American made and they are pretty good too. I have some half round files by them.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 02-15-2016, 11:49 AM
samuraistuart samuraistuart is offline
Steel Addict
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: San Antonio Texas
Posts: 163
I think the Black Diamond files are 1.3% carbon steel (C130).

The current Nicholsons being 1095, but their heat treat SUX. The stuff from Mexico and Brazil is horrible. Bends in both axes (yes that is the plural of axis, strange right?), teeth that are dull to begin with, rows of teeth not even aligned properly, and BAD heat treating.

USA made Nicholsons (new old stock) are the ones to buy if you have to go Nicholson.

I will admit, it's been a couple years since I've looked at a current production Nicholson file, but the ones I was using a few years ago were crap. Went to Simonds brand files, along with Pferd, and haven't looked back.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 02-16-2016, 05:14 AM
Crex's Avatar
Crex Crex is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Acworth, GA and/or Hanging Dog, NC
Posts: 3,494
Nicholson performance went "south" when they started farming out the production south as Sami indicated above. I have tested several of the imported Nich's and think that steel itself is still decent quality, just the end product is crap shoot. Really can't say for sure though (not going to spend money to find out), but shop testing indicates this to be correct.
I have come across some other imports that tested very well, but most don't. Just like to experiment and most show up for free so why not?

I have found that many times when a "quality" file doesn't hold it's cutting edge(s) very long, it's due to improper filing technique. As with any edged tool there are right ways and wrong ways. Be worth observing, good files are not cheap. That being said, my favorite "draw file" is an old Nicholson BD that was used by my granddad. I use it a lot, it still cuts clean and I have been using it off and on for a little better than 40 years.

On the Hellers, not had one of their regular tool files to play with but have messed with several of their farriers' rasp. The FR's do not seem to have as much carbon as Nich's and Simmons and don't respond well to the HT used for 1095 or W2. Can't tell you why, but best quench results have been with brine for these. I just decided early on to use them for wrap around hawks with a high carbon steel bit insert and be done with it. If someone has worked out a better HT for the Hellers, I'm all ears (eyes I guess). I've got around 50 of them.

Side note: I never purposely make a blade out of a new file.....they should complete their primary occupation first.


__________________
Carl Rechsteiner, Bladesmith
Georgia Custom Knifemakers Guild, Charter Member
Knifemakers Guild, voting member
Registered Master Artist - GA Council for the Arts
C Rex Custom Knives

Blade Show Table 5-J

Last edited by Crex; 02-16-2016 at 05:17 AM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
1095, back, bee, blade, brand, diamond, drop point, edge, file, files, heat, heat treat, hunter, knife, knives, made, make, recycle, sharp, stainless, steel, trade


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:22 AM.




KNIFENETWORK.COM
Copyright © 2000
? CKK Industries, Inc. ? All Rights Reserved
Powered by ...

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
The Knife Network : All Rights Reserved