Rick, Many people opt for alternate tools for flattening because the tools that are out there leave something to be desired. I bought the Stewmac fret leveler bar. The roughness of the grinding didn't exactly convince me it would be flat. It is slippery, hard to hold on to, and the center of gravity is too high... so it's easy to dig with edge of the tool... and it's too heavy Files are never straight... just hold one up to a precision straightedge... all of these 6 inch long files are just a joke as far as I'm concerned. Worthwhile for repairs maybe. Any tool that is shorter than the fretboard elevates the amount of skill required to flatten the frets. So... some of these alternate tools are actually quite better than the off-the-shelf tools. I just bought the the "quartz" leveler off Ebay... I checked it against a $100 straightedge... it's FLAT. Keep in mind, someone who's been doing this awhile has developed a keen "feel"... so short boards/files will not stop them from getting it done. But if you don't have this level of "feel"... a truly flat tool, lightweight, well balanced, longer than the board will help to idiot-proof the process.