Handmade tools from Rwanda

This post is via Peter Marquis-Kyle, a conservation architect based in Australia. The tools on this page belong to Hans Muller, a retired civil engineer now living in the Netherlands. Hans explains:

During a three year stay in Rwanda, I discovered, in a small village called Nyakizu, a workshop where hand tools were made. The name was AFOM, that stands for ‘Atelier de Fabrication d’Outils de Menuiserie.’ A few mud huts, no electricity, some Stanley planes, scrapers, a heavy steel machinist’s square, two heavy anvils and a forge, and about twenty very motivated men and women. They made tools of an exceptionally fine quality… the wood was well-cured eucalyptus and the steel came from truck springs; if I remember correctly, tempering was done in a molten lead bath. 

I was so impressed by the quality that I ordered complete sets of chisels, mortising chisels, gouges, planes, a screw box, tap and special screwdrivers. There were also dogleg chisels and gouges. There was a plough plane, with faultless threaded wooden stems and 6 chisels, and special planes made to order.

Wooden bevel

From left to right: 13mm chisel; 10mm mortising chisel; special dogleg chisel, large; special dogleg chisel, small; dogleg gouge; gouge

Filester plane with nicker

Fully adjustable plough plane with wooden stems and nuts, a nicker and six irons

Plane for forming tongues and grooves

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