RIP: The Nicholson Auger Bit File
February 28, 2012 § 2 Comments
If you use a hand brace to bore large holes, an auger bit file is the best tool to keep your auger bits sharp. Nicholson, now a subsidiary of Apex Tool Group, was for decades the leading manufacturing of this single, specialized file. Nicholson has moved much of its file and rasp production to Central and South America, and vendors and customers have noticed the difference in quality. The fate of the auger bit file, however, is even worse. Nicholson has discontinued its manufacturing altogether. Several online stores have exhausted their inventory and no longer offer them for sale. Even though they were made for one specific purpose, an auger bit file can be used for a variety of filing tasks. It is a great little file. So if you want the original Nicholson (as far as I know still made in the USA up to the very end), you might want to quickly get to your local hardware store to see if they still have some left. Wink’s Hardware, one of my favorite well-stocked hardware stores in Portland, luckily still had two left and I bought them both. And there may be a few online retailers who still have a few left as well.
Thankfully, the file is not gone altogether. Lie Nielsen is selling them, having found a supplier in India.
Update: More information on getting auger bit files in a more recent post here.
Sharpening auger bits is a straightforward task, but there are some caveats. Bob Rozaieski has a nice demonstration here.
Sandford Moss, of the Sydnas Sloot web site, has some of the best information on hand braces, categorized on his site by manufacturer.
Another great resource for hand braces, especially if you need to take one apart for cleaning, is George’s Basement.