One of the tool groups whose importance has grown on me immensely over the years js that of the file family.  Like most discriminating pursuits (addiction is way too strong of a word) it begins with the first strong hit of the good stuff, and before you know it there is an entire tool rack dedicated to them.  A vintage mill file leads to a nice machine made rasp, and then a hand knitted rasp.  Or six.  And once you get your hands on a Vixen curved tooth the path to a selection of floats is pretty much inevitable.  Then comes diemaker’s rifflers and sinkers, sculpting rasps, Swiss needle files, and barrettes.  And eventually you seek out pushers like Slav in Chicago,, whose trench coat pockets are always full of files I suddenly discover a consuming need for.  Every tool scrounging tailgating session becomes a new chase.

Which is where I got this new-old-stock premium Vixen file last year (a tool flea market, not Slav).  I love the finish left by a perfect curved tooth file.  I was using it recently and for the thousandth time I tapped it on the bench to knock out the shavings.  Much to my literal astonishment this low mileage tool snapped!  For many seconds my frame of mind was some combination of shock, anger, and dismay.  Seriously, this was a premium tool that broke under very gentle stress within a very few hours of service.  Exasperated I set it aside to compose myself in order to conduct the memorial service.  Or not.  In the meantime it would sit on the shelf of my file rack.

Then, suddenly the recipe for lemonade from a broken lemon leaped to the for.  I was working on a saw handle during the Dovetail Saw class, using one of my Iwasaki floats to work the wood,  At one point I needed something a bit larger but still with a fine, crisp cut, and no tang or handle.  I walked over to the file rack and grabbed the broken Vixen to give it a try.  The result was sublime.  It still cut perfectly but without the obstruction of the handle end that had broken off.  The fracture margin was a bit ragged so I touched that up with a coarse diamond sharpening stone.

It was the sweetest glass of lemonade ever.

Now I just have to ask Slav to find me some more handle-less curved teeth files.