Incorporating the sense of touch brings a new level of realism to human–computer interaction and this is particularly important for virtual reality systems attempting to simulate physical environments. Haptic Feedback devices are able to produce force and tactile feedback, which enables the sense of touch to be exploited. In this paper a novel approach to the simulation of interactions between deformable tools and rigid objects, utilizing haptic feedback, is presented. As the deformable tool makes contact with the virtual environment the forces are computed and transmitted to the user via the Phantom Desktop device produced by SensAble Technologies. A haptic update rate of 1000 Hz can be obtained with a simple scene object and a deformable tool representing a flexible rod. The deformations of the rod are modelled using the finite element method.