I’m a hand tool worker and get a lot of pleasure and inspiration from working directly with simple tools and the material, there is a beauty and elegance in the traditional tools that were created by our predecessors to accomplish tasks effectively and efficiently. I strongly believe that using hand tools is a real and practical way of working today rather than some kind of anachronistic olde-worlde novelty.
I’ve done a bit of metal working in this way, mostly making specialist blades for tools and knives. I use a jewellers saw or hacksaw for cutting followed by hand filing to shape. It’s an enjoyable but time-consuming process which all adds to the personal value of the finished blade.
This week I was working in another world of metal work, cutting pictures in to steel sheets with a plasma cutter which shoots a jet of electric fire through the metal under air pressure. It’s incredibly easy and fast which for this project, where there were 30 pieces to make, is important but at the same time takes away some of the satisfaction and specialness of the product.