I bought new tools this week. It’s a twice maybe three times a year ordeal. When my edge dulls, retail therapy is the antidote. If it happens at the bench, I replace all my files. Away from it, I buy shoes. Always the same. Bass Leytons in black.
For a bicycle maker, hand-files are an extension of the person. And the personality. I use these little things to shape metal. To coax. Sometimes I use them to hold things down, and they become a fixture. These tools show the material who’s boss.
Without repetition or routine none of it would be. I’d wonder how many strokes I’ve tossed since the day I first held a file. Tens of millions. I was nineteen. I didn’t develop a sense of things until my late thirties. It was all process. One long lesson.
These larger files are mostly for finish work. There’s another pile of Grobets that are delicate and more fragile. I use these for the dirty work. For hiding the miscues. For burying the miscues. For the tasks that never see the end of my Nikon lens.