2016 Dec. 30     Tools   Metal & Shop


The big names in machinist files moved their production out of the USA.  Some of them are having files made in Mexico now.

I already tried the Nicholson 4-in-1 file.  This time, let's try Corona.

Before we start:  yes, I know we're going to be using this file outside its design parameters.  Both the Nicholson and the Corona 4-in-1 files say they're made for wood and PVC (the Corona says "soft materials").  But I'm going to pretend for a moment that these companies should still make these files the way they used to.  You know, back when they were a true multi-function tool that you would want to have in your "desert island tool kit".

Is the Corona good enough for that?  Let's find out.

Yes, I know.  But keep reading...

Corona 4-in-1:  Bad Points

For the price, there's not a lot wrong with this file. 

The file surfaces look like they were made to work steel, but they're not really.  Hardened steel will dull them.  The vintage USA files of this type were able file steel easily.  I know it's not said to file steel, but I still consider it a drawback.

If the wood rasp teeth went just a little bit closer to the edges, that would be an improvement.  They're already not bad, though.

Corona 4-in-1:  Good Points

The file surfaces were able to de-burr mild steel with no problem.  When I tried doing that with the Nicholson 4-in-Hand (also made in Mexico), it galled within seconds.

The file teeth on the Corona have good uniformity.  They look better than some of what I've seen.

This file works pretty well for making tool handles.  The file surfaces work OK for de-burring mild steel and wrought iron.  Don't use it for hardened steels, and it should last a long time. 


There aren't many good ones.  Most of the imports have crude teeth and blank margins that don't have any cutting ability.  (Tekton might be an exception;  going to review one.) 

There are Europe-made brands that may be better.  I haven't tried these yet:

Bahco (Portugal)
Pferd (Germany)
Stahlwille (Germany)

I didn't see any 4-in-1 files available from any of these companies.  I know for sure that Bahco used to make them, because I have an old one.  I don't see that type of Bahco file available anywhere now.


The Corona 4-in-1 works very well on wood, plastic, and probably copper and brass.  It was even good for de-burring mild steel.  It dulled when I tried using it on hardened steel, as I sort of expected.

I realize that it's difficult to make a shoe rasp that's both inexpensive and can work hardened steel. 

We're all waiting for someone to make a file with top, made-in-USA quality... that's made in USA.  The file portions would have to be able to work hardened steels, just like they used to.  Obviously the price would be higher, but right now that's not even on the market. 

For the price, though, I think Corona did a pretty good job.  I would probably buy one again.

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