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Conveniently located in the Toolmonger Flickr pool, this image shows the coarse, deep ridges found on Vixen files. Like Bridgeports, they’re named for the most common (though apparently now-defunct) manufacturer. Vixen files are ideal for soft metals, and they do their job better than the usual bastard file. While most files are designed for material removal from hard metals, Vixens use relatively dull, widely-spaced teeth which deburr soft metals beautifully and can manage oddball materials like fiberglass. The teeth are wide enough to make clogging nearly impossible.

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Vixen files are pretty hard to find at good prices. Your local hardware store is unlikely to stock them, and industrial supply houses will charge quite a lot. Production Tool Supply’s costs $23. It seems silly to order such a basic tool online, even if they were readily available. But unlike fine and bastard files, there aren’t many manufacturers, so prices are inevitably high. The cheapest way is to comb antique stores — not venues famous for their embracing of the Internet, leaving us to find old-fashioned tools the old-fashioned way.

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Vixen files [Production Tool Supply]

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3 Responses to Coarse Ladies

  1. fred says:

    We have quite a number of this type of file around the shop – left over from the days when shaping soft metals (like Babbitt Bearings) was a common practice.
    The Vixen line was produced at one time by Heller Brothers (the Heeler Nu-Cut File was part of their line) which I believe was acquired by Simmonds Industires.
    Heller was a big supplier of US-made files – perhaps rivaling Nicholson (now part of Cooper).

    Nicholson now produces a curved tooth file in Mexico:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001R1UZG0/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B002C7AB5S&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1ENP3NXZ88QSEBH1TKG1

    Sandvik (Bahco) also produces a light-duty curved tooth float : HRFM-10

    I also note that your photo (file with hole at the end – rather than a tang) includes a so called flexible body file – which was typically used for shaping automotive body solder etc. Instead of a handle on the tang – this file (float) is held at both ends in a frame that can pull up the file into a curve. We have a set of these made by Martin Sprocket and Gear – but I’m guessing that autobody specialty houses like Eastwood and Autobodytoolmart will probably sell versions of these.

  2. kyle says:

    yep these are exactly like a body file

  3. Coach James says:

    I picked up a pristine Vixen file at a close out building supply store for $1 about three years ago.

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