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In the Maker's Hands - Nigel Williams

In the Maker's Hands - Nigel Williams

As part of our recent show Crafts Alive - In the Maker’s Hands at Rodmarton Manor we asked our makers to share their favourite tools with us.

We asked sculptor Nigel Williams about his favourite and why it is special to him.

I have chosen my de-burring knife, a hand tool.

Any cuts to metal whether by saw, guillotine, drill or grinder, always leave a burr - that is, a ragged sharp protrusion along the lower edge of the cut. This normally needs to be removed, firstly because it is generally very sharp and dangerous, and secondly because it looks ugly.

deburring tool

This apparently simple hand tool is designed for that purpose, and I use it constantly. It’s actually quite sophisticated, in that the blade is specially hardened and three-sided in cross-section, with a very particular curve to the end of the blade which makes it work in many different situations. It also features a hollow along the centre of the blade surface to allow swarf to fall away easily. The blade is double-ended so that when one end goes dull, you simply swap ends, getting twice the use out of each blade.

I have a number of different and very specialised de-burring tools, but this is the one I use the most. I use Noga tools simply because I believe they are the best that can be had, and have proven so throughout years & years of use with me.

To enhance the finish of a piece it can be used to impart carefully rounded edges which adds a beautiful extra softness and sophistication to the brass I normally work with. Of course, I normally wear leather gloves when using this tool, to avoid slicing my hands to ribbons.

metal sculptural wings by Nigel Williams

 Find more about Nigel’s practice here

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