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Frazer or fisher burs

Henry Dunay mentions in his book that he used a frazer bur to make
the “cuts” in his FACET series. I am trying to use the technique in a
project and cannot find the word frazer bur or frazer cutting wheel
anywhere. Can anyone help me?

J Koslow

Fraiser, or frazer, is the general term for a bur, any bur. It’s a
slightly archaic term and is more common, I suspect, among European
jewelers as@it comes from French originally. My old boss, a native
German speaker, called all burs “fraisers,” as did the master
jeweler I sat next to, an Italian speaker. Dunay, trainig in NY,
likely had European teachers.

Note definition three:

Fraise [frez] n

  1. (Clothing & Fashion) a neck ruff worn during the 16th century

  2. (Military / Fortifications) a sloping or horizontal rampart of
    pointed stakes

  3. (Engineering / Tools)

a. a tool for enlarging a drill hole

b. a tool for cutting teeth on watch wheels [from French: mesentery
of a calf, from Old French fraiser to remove a shell, from Latin
frendere to crush] Collins English Dictionary " Complete and

Henry Dunay mentions in his book that he used a frazer bur to make
the "cuts" in his FACET series. I am trying to use the technique
in a project and cannot find the word frazer bur or frazer cutting
wheel anywhere. Can anyone help me? 

It is another of goldsmith terms that were adapted from French to
English. French “fraise” is the same as English “burr”. Russian
pronunciation is “fresa”, emphasis is on the second vowel. Burr is
what you are looking for.

Leonid Surpin

In German, freser is the same as burrs. For example


Hi Judy,

Depending on where he trained, it probably just means “any burr”.
When I was going to school in London, the German trained folks
tended to call all their burrs “fraziers” (Sounded like the name
"Frasier" God knows how it’s spelled.) I’m given to understand that
the word in German for “burr” is “frazier”, so it may not mean
anything specific at all, other than just “I used a burr”.

(rather than a file, or drill or something.) Fisher is a large
jewelry supply wholesaler in Germany. Sort of like a 300 year old
version of Rio Grande.

For whatever that was worth,

In German I think “fresser” means “eater”. I don’t really know German
but I do know some Yiddish and I remember a description of Hitler
(recounted in William Manchester’s “Rise and Fall of the Third
Reich”) in which someone said that when der fuhrer was really pissed
off about something he tended to turn into a “teppich fresser” - that
is, a “carpet-eater”, in other words, he was known for falling to the
floor and chewing on the edge of the carpet in his rages. A potent
image. The point of all this is that you can see a burr as something
which chews away at, or eats away at material - so, whatever the
etymology of the root word might have been in another language, it
could easily transmute into a word that made sense of the tool’s
function in German. An “eater.”

That’s all by way of speculation.

Usual disclaimer applies, "I’m no expert… "


In German I think "fresser" means "eater". 

True, but burrs are ‘Fraeser’, actually ‘ae’ is ‘a-umlaut’ (the two
dots on top of the ‘a’), but this lists always had issues with
non-ascii characters. But let’s try it: Frse. According to the Duden,
the reference for German vocabulary, the origin of ‘Fraese’ is
french, where ‘fraiser’ means ‘to enlarge’.

So ‘frazer’ is somewhat in the same way wrong as the ‘azure’ we had
here lately.

fressen = an animal who’s eating. Human beings essen But when I
posted this message about burr in German which is fraser (two dots
above the letter a),someone(moderator perhaps) changed it to freser.
So it has got nothing to do with eating.

Also “teppich fresser” means someone who’s walking back and forth on
the carpet, wearing it down. Not actually chewing on it. William
Shirer wrote it in his book but he must have misunderstood the
German expression. He probably just translated it word by word -
carpet -eat.


Hi Marty,

Not exactly, I think.

“Fessen” means “to eat” but only if you’re talking about animals. The
word for people eating is “essen” (Sort of like the difference in
English between “Dine” and “Feed”.)

One of the ways you get really insulting in German is to compare
people to animals. Thus the use of ‘fessen’ in the insult.

The etymology that turned up earlier in this thread proposing that
it came in by way of French makes as much sense to me as anything.
Somebody might try asking Charles Lewton-Brain. I know he speaks
goldsmith’s German, so he may have more of a clue than anybody.


In German I think "fresser" means "eater". 

This is true, and animals ‘fressen’ or people with bad eating

However burs in German are called Fraeser (normally spelt with an
’a’ with dots on top instead of ‘ae’), nothing to do with ‘fresser’

And here are some, supplier Fischer:


In German there are two words to describe eating-- Essen, and
Fressen. Essen is the (polite) way people eat. Fressen is the way
animals (such as hogs) eat.


Well, I said i was no expert. At least i was right about something.
Thanks to you all for the enlightenment,

I read the quote that i recalled sometime in the mid 1960’s, I
think, anyway not long after Manchester;s book came out. So my memory
may have played some tricks, but i do remember his explication-
still, it’s hard to think he would have mistranslated.