I've been going around a bit, trying to improve my tool box when and where I can. And of the few fret files I have, I'm thinking there must be a better one out there. So, all you experienced Luthiers out there, who makes YOUR favorite fret file?

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Spent the first 12 years of my working life working as a fitter for the Royal Navy and a file was our go to tool. I always had several in my tool bag and I can't say that rust was ever a concern. As for lubricating a file with anything, not heard of that before, if the teeth ever got oil in them then they would clog much more quickly so I would not advise it. Rubbing the file face with a little blackboard chalk was the best way to keep a file free of bits with a regular cleaning with a file card, a wire brush would do. If i were to be doing a lot more fret dressing with brass and stainless frets I would keep two sets of files as both metals affect the file differently and if you use a file on brass that you've used on steel you may have cutting problems. 

The lubricant I mentioned is not an oil (I don't think), its a very thin lubricant that dries, in aerosol form. It causes no clogging of files. The opposite really, any buildup in the teeth (i.e. resinous wood) releases more easily when you take a file card to it. I have tried oil on my hacksaw before so I know what you mean about that clogging things up.

Andrew, that aerosol sounds like TriFlow? I use ProCut on my nut files when cutting bone. Works well. I brush clean my files every few strokes working on frets. ... oh ya, never had problems with rust. Keep everything in tool chests.

Thomas, if you are filing a lot of bone I would be tempted to get a set of files just for that. I know when I was workshop based I would have a set of files for mild steel, brass and aluminium as each material puts a different edge on a file and  if you go from one metal to anther the cut is not so good; especially for the finer files. As for rust prevention the odd wipe down with an oily rag does the trick


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