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These Are The Tools That We Use.

Every individual bench at Westley Richards has its own unique pile of well worn tools, files, turnscrews, small hammers, punches and an assortment of other things. Every pile is individual, but every pile has something in common, handles worn and polished over time by constant years of use. There is much talk about CNC machines and clever engineering but the real backbone of our craft lies in the use of these piles of tools which a gunmaker will add to constantly over the years, making some, inheriting some. If you can't use these hand tools, you can't make a best gun, it is as simple as that.

Gunmakers Files at Westley Richards

Last week I was explaining to two of our young gunmakers who are taking over the filing up of our actions, that whilst I expect them to adhere to the traditional Westley Richards shapes, I also expect them to be constantly competing to find the most beautiful and subtle shapes to the fences, action and parts, to create a signature of their own they are proud of. I want to be able to pick up a gun and know who filed it up, know that a person filed it up, not a CNC machine.

Gunmakers Files at Westley Richards

Gunmakers Files at Westley Richards

Gunmakers Files at Westley Richards

Polishing Pile at Westley RichardsOn the polishers bench is a small mountain of abrasive paper from coarse to fine, his tools!


  • Neill Clark on November 7, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Simon. Thank you for these photos, hand tools are the absolute core of any skilled craftsman, and to see well used, but well cared examples is great. I have said before that I think you are doing a great job bringing on the skilled gunmakers of the future, you, and all your gunmakers have my complete admiration.

  • Charles on November 19, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Looking at those tools makes we want to stand in front of that bench. I love my files.

  • James Grinyer on November 25, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Lovely pictures!!! The mountain of emery brings back a few memories.... I spy Ken's spring clamp, and "fengel's" tapping hammer if I'm not mistaken. I still have ( and use occasionally ) tools that I made at the Bournbrook factory, some, whilst still at school before I even started my apprenticeship proper!

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