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Needle File Recommendations?

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Hollowpoint13/05/2020 13:03:37
431 forum posts
53 photos

Im looking for a good set of needle files and wondered what you guys might recommend?

I have lots of good quality large sizes (Osborne, Sandvik, Simmonds, Bahco etc) but all my small needle files are cheap crap.

I don't want to go over about £50 if that is possible. (I know some sets are hundreds of pounds.) The only ones I have considered so far is a set of Swiss Vallorbe and these look like a good contender?

roy entwistle13/05/2020 13:06:52
1367 forum posts

Vallorbe aren't bad

Martin Kyte13/05/2020 13:12:09
2458 forum posts
40 photos

Depends what you want them for. For clockmaking in brass I use Vallorbe but for steel I generally use fairly coarse cheap needle files and chuck them as soon as they stop cutting well. If you are intending to buy a good set mark them up and make sure you have a cheap set for general use to save wrecking your good set. If your good set is for brass do not use them on steel.

regards Martin

mechman4813/05/2020 13:17:42
2923 forum posts
456 photos

I too have various sets of needle / diamond files from one source or another, all do the job I want them to do, some I've had for years ( blue / black wallet ) & still cut nicely. In your case I would suggest you go for the Vallorbe as they are considered the best of files.


Mike Crossfield13/05/2020 13:29:14
258 forum posts
36 photos


I can recommend the Tome Feteira Swiss pattern needle files sold by Arceurotrade. IMHO close to Vallorbe quality, but at a more acceptable price. Set of 6 was about £38 pounds last time I looked, though I prefer to buy just the shapes and cuts I need.


Hollowpoint13/05/2020 13:31:41
431 forum posts
53 photos

I will be using them on brass mainly, though I do sometimes need them for steel too.

Steviegtr13/05/2020 13:52:45
2141 forum posts
299 photos

I guess if using on the materials you say then diamond type would not be necessary. I have some but only use on hard tooltips.


Hollowpoint13/05/2020 14:11:24
431 forum posts
53 photos

Yes diamond would be overkill I think. I have to admit I don't particularly like them anyway. I feel like I have more control with ordinary files and a good sharp one is a joy to use.

Thor13/05/2020 14:35:50
1382 forum posts
40 photos

As Roy, my vote is for Vallorbe. The Vallorbe needle files I have were not cheap but they have lasted a long time. If your budget is around £50, maybe these would be suitable?


JohnF13/05/2020 14:42:54
1080 forum posts
159 photos

Vallorbe are possibly the best around, not cheap but they do last extremely well, I have also used Bacho and they are not bad. Not tried Ketan's at Arc yet but intend to do so next time I need some. Most of my work is in tool steels, SS, gauge plate etc.


magpie13/05/2020 14:52:51
477 forum posts
92 photos

A shame you can no longer get Stubbs files. I have a set of their needle files I bought in the early 70s. They have been used at least once a week since and are still in good shape.

Hollowpoint13/05/2020 15:06:28
431 forum posts
53 photos

I did find these vallorbe files which seem to be good value for money? The only thing putting me off is that in some descriptions they are said to be "lighter manufacture" and "less durable" than the more premium vallorbe offerings?

old mart13/05/2020 15:16:14
3185 forum posts
201 photos

I have had some Kennedy diamond files for years and they are good. This firm is selling sets of needle files, no2 cut by Kennedy, hopefully they are also good. My set of 12 Vallorbe files cost me £50 years ago, probably at least £80 now.


Rod Renshaw13/05/2020 15:23:36
286 forum posts
2 photos


Some good advice re Vallorbe and Tome Feteira above.

But just to emphasise what Martin said, the traditional watchmakers' advice is that one should keep a set of files for use on brass and never let them anywhere near steel. Apparently any use on steel will take the sharp edge off the teeth and from then on they will only be useful on steel.

Whereas, if kept for use only on brass then one set of decent quality can last a lifetime. So perhaps a buy a good set and a cheap set, and remember which is which?


Dave Wootton13/05/2020 15:49:51
192 forum posts
51 photos

I'm a recent convert to Tome Feteira files and needle files from Arc, very pleased with them.

I have been using them on gauge plate for loco valve gear and they are lasting very well. I've also used Vallorbe in the past which were good but I think more expensive, but I was very disappointed in some Bahco files that didn't keep their edge at all.

I do keep separate files for brass, and they seem to last indefinitely, I've colour coded the handles because I'm easily confused.


geoff walker 113/05/2020 17:24:48
453 forum posts
169 photos

Hi Hollowpoint,

If you want an inexpensive set of small needle files try the 6 piece blue spot mini file set on ebay.

At £3.89 for the set you have little to lose and a lot to gain.

I bought a set from Boyes in York nearly two years ago, I've used them a lot

They are cheap and cheerful but nevertheless great value for money.


Peter Hall13/05/2020 17:41:50
114 forum posts
1 photos

I have some Vallorbe needle files, which I use often. I don't know what a set of eight of them would cost today. I bought them 39 years ago.


JohnF13/05/2020 18:23:39
1080 forum posts
159 photos
Posted by Hollowpoint on 13/05/2020 15:06:28:

I did find these vallorbe files which seem to be good value for money? The only thing putting me off is that in some descriptions they are said to be "lighter manufacture" and "less durable" than the more premium vallorbe offerings?

On Amazon it says the supplier is H S Walsh which a well respected supplier of jewellery & clock makers supplies so one would expect them to be genuine Vallorbe / Grobert files -- strangely the H S Walsh web site will not open ? maybe the times we are in.


roy entwistle13/05/2020 19:51:36
1367 forum posts

H S Walsh website just opened for me they are only doing mail order at present

Bill Phinn13/05/2020 20:17:22
531 forum posts
82 photos

Hollowpoint, it may be that you do actually want a cut 2 needle file set. Most people do, as cut 2 is good for general purposes. Personally, I like to have the commoner profiles in cut 4 and cut 6 on hand as well. My Vallorbe 4s and 6s were all bought as individual files, not in a set. Sets of cut 4 or 6 are rather hard to come by.

I notice Arceurotrade's Swiss Pattern needle files sets are available in cut 4 as well as 2, which is a welcome option to have available.

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