For years I have been using cheap Chinese Three square files to tune reeds with solder on them. They get the job done but they get clogged up quickly. After a couple reed plates, you can’t wire brush the solder out of the grooves. So you either keep aiming for areas of the tile that are not yet clogged, or throw the file away and grab a new one.
Iv’e gone through dozens of cheapo files over the years. It’s really annoying. So when Jon Harl (San Jose based Graphic designer / Harp Tech) told me about some super hard files made in Switzerland by Grobet I got very interested…
These files are the hardest files known to man.
Here is the description from the Otto Frei website ( a jewelry tools website ):
Grobet Swiss Made Valtitan Files
Valtitan files are specially treated to increase their hardness to 72HRc on the Rockwell scale, the hardest steel file known. The special Valtitan file delivers better performance on hard to file surfaces and makes these files corrosion resistant as well as longer lasting. Valtitan files also resist metal accumulation in the teeth of the file, as a simple knock is usually enough to remove the chips. Valtitan files are recommended for platinum work and for other hard metals like stainless steel, but they work great with all metals. Available in 6 Inch (150mm) hand files, and 7 Inch (180mm) needle files.
Jon sent me a couple of these files – three square, in 0-cut (coarse) and 2-cut (medium)
Jon says they work well with stainless steel reeds. He prefers the flat file called “warding” – it looks like the standard Hohner file. Flat & tapered toward the tip.
I like the three square, cause I like the feel of the rib on my finger….
I had some reeds with solder on the tips that I needed to tune & I tried the two files that Jon sent me. The 0-cut file was amazing. after I finished filing each reed a quick tap on the bench knocked all the solder out of the grooves. When I finished tuning, the file still looked brand new.
If I had been using the usual cheapo files, they would have had shiny streaks of embedded solder on them. Well on their way to the trash can…
It looks like I will never need to buy another file for tuning reeds with solder….
Here is the URL for Otto Frei, the page with the files: http://www.ottofrei.com/Grobet-Valtitan-Files/
Here is the file I used for solder:
- 131.4485 0 Coarse
- Check it out…
- PS – my plan from now on is to send out a post on Thursdays with tech tips…. Enjoy!