Tools 2: Choosing your supplier

So, if quality is critical, how do we find the best tools?

One simple method is to go for the best makers; the ones the pros swear by. In my case I did that by interrogating my machine shop teacher in university, a master craftsman with decades of experience. Basically it went like this:

Nicholson File

Me: what is the best make of hand files?
Master: why do you want to know? These are not for a hobbyist; they’d be too expensive for you anyway.
Me: Oh, I’m just curious.
Master: you aren’t going to buy them, Right?
Me: Perish the thought! I only want to know.
Master: You’re sure?
Me: Cross my heart.
Master: well, the best files are made by Nicholson; but you have to make sure it’s the Dutch Nicholson. Nicholson also has a factory in Canada, those are not quite as good.
Me: Thanks!

And then I’d rush off to buy some Dutch Nicholson files.

Nicholson Files

Those files serve me well to this day, though in all fairness, I suspect the Canadian ones would have served just as well…

5 Responses to “Tools 2: Choosing your supplier”


  1. 1 Jeff Moriarty

    Your violation of Amateur Tool Purchasing Practices has been noted and the proper authorities have been informed. Please wait quietly in your home for them to come and take you away.

  2. 2 Nathan Zeldes

    Uh oh… though the statute of limitations probably applies. 🙂

  3. 3 Joseph Wong

    I just bought a Nicholson file today , it was made in Brasil, so this is not as good as the Dutch one, nor as good as the Canadian one, but is it better than the files made in China ( not Nicholson of course)?

  4. 4 Nathan Zeldes

    Probably, Joseph…

    Enjoy your new file! 🙂

  1. 1 Tools 4: The right tool for the job at Commonsense Design

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