Tools from Rwanda
The tools on this page belong to Hans Muller, a retired civil engineer now living in the Netherlands. He is a fellow member of the oldtools mailing list. 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, unexpected in Africa; 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. And the expertise was provided by a Belgian volunteer.
I was so impressed by the quality that I ordered complete sets of chisels, mortising chisels, gouges, planes, a screw box and tap (the only part out-sourced) and special screwdrivers for the narrow slits of the screws in my antique guns (none has broken yet). 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 to inlet the barrel of an octagonal Kentucky barrel.
In my opinion the bevel is the best proof of the quality; when closed, the joint is hardly visible. And before any apprentice would be accepted as a worker in the group, he had to produce four try squares, that would not show any light when held together in a cross.... The sad end of the story is that all the workers were killed during the genocide in 1994; they were of the wrong ethnic group.....