one more miter square, & inventories

Felebien detail
Felebien detail

In my previous post about miter squares the other day, I forgot Andres Felebien (1676). There is a lot of talk about Joseph Moxon on the web these days, with Chris Schwarz’ interpretive publication of Moxon’s chapter on joinery. Alexander & I have tried to remember to consult Randle Holme and Andres Felebien in addition to Moxon. I’d say Holme is our favorite; his drawings are quite enticing. Searching all three of these 17th-century authors can sometimes make things more clear; at other times,  more confounding.

The miter square is quite the same as Moxon’s; which leaves only Randle Holme who illustrated the multi-angle miter square. The modern one I have in my shop is set up to mark angles of 90, 30, 60 & 45 degrees.

Finding miter squares in period inventories is rare; here is one from Essex, England. The numbers are not values in this case, but quantities. This inventory comes from the Essex Record Office (D/DP E2/23)

Thorndon Hall inventory: tools in the joiner’s workhouse, 1592)

 An Inventarye of all suche tooles as remayned in ye Joyners Workehowse at Westhordon after ye deathe of Cornelius Everssen, there taken by John Bentley and Water Madison the xvth daye of September, 1592



Inprimis Joyners playnes of divers bignes                                  15

Item ioynters                                                                             2

Foreplaynes                                                                               2

Smothing playnes                                                                       1

Squiers                                                                                      4

Myter squiers                                                                             1

Addes                                                                                        1

Hatchettes                                                                                  1

Handsawes                                                                                 1  

Frame sawes                                                                               1

Hammers                                                                                    1                 

Holdfastes                                                                                   1

Jages                                                                                           2

One percers stock and v Wilkyns for ye same

Thre fyles

Two brode paring chizelles

Thre mortise chiselles

Three small Flemish chizelles

One gouge

Thre ripping chizelles

one lyne rowle with ye lyne upon it

Two staples or banke hookes

Two rules of ij foote ye pece

Thre malletts

Two spare plainyng yrons



This next one has just “squares” so nothing regarding miter; BUT as often is the case, you look for one thing & find another – this one has “patterns” something it’s very gratifying to see. Lincolnshire, very late 17th century. I found it in L.B. and M. W. Barley, “Lincolnshire Craftsmen in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries” in Lincolnshire Historian, II (1959)



Inventory of John Dring of Lincoln dated 1696:


The Yard


The Bed Post, bed rales, bed sides & all other pieces, a turning wheel & bords £2-15-0


The Wood House


The Oake quarters, elme bords, wall nuttree plancks & other pieces £5-0-0


The Shop in ye Street


The coffins the wenscote bords, the base bords & pieces of bords £2-9-4


The Stools & cheese feet & rales 2 gun stocks with other pieces 17s

The molds & patterns squares & leavell frame of table screws & boxes 16s6d

The chist & all tools in it & in the Shop; Hatchets, hansawes, hammer, hold fast, long plain, for plaines, ogees, hollow and round plaines, plowe groving plaines, spring plaines, files and rasps & turning tooles, screws & screw plates, Wimbles & passer stocks & small bits, mortis chissel & all sorts of chissells & formers and gouges, the bench & all things in it  [PF: no value listed]


The Old house where they come from


The Oake planck, the wall nuttree planck, the partree planck, the grindle stone and other waist wood in all £4-7-1


The Timber


The Oake timber by Saint Sweethings Church the Sawpitt The faur trees coming in

all £6-13-4


Elme Wood


The elme wood att stamp end 20 pieces coming to in all  £3-0-0









2 thoughts on “one more miter square, & inventories

  1. Peter: Would it be helpful to put up Frances Eaton’s Inventory in the Plymoth Colony Records that includes a mitre square ? It is only New England reference I have found but you have looked further then I. We will never know which mitre square the Appraiser is refering to. Your call.


  2. JA: I only find a “bevell square” in Eaton’s inventory, worth 1s, 6d. Seems a pretty high value – but whatever it is, that’s what we call a bevel gauge to me. Which leads to further confusion of gauge versus square…but that’s for another day.

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