Many years ago, someone sent Alexander & I a list of joiners’ tools from Essex Record Office in England. While we’re on the subject of tools, why not post it here, I decided. (The image above is cribbed from a CD of Randle Holme’s Academy of Armory: N. W. Alcock and Nancy Cox, Living and Working in Seventeenth-Century England: An Encyclopedia of Drawings and Descriptions from Randle Holme’s original manuscripts for The Academy of Armory (1688) (London: The British Library, 2000)
Here’s the Essex list:
Essex Record Office – Transcript #48
(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
Joyners playnes of divers bignes 15
Smothing playnes 1
Myter squiers 1
Frame sawes 1
One percers stock and v Wilkyns for ye same
Two brode paring chizelles
Thre mortise chiselles
Three small Flemish chizelles
Thre ripping chizelles
one lyne rowle with ye lyne upon it
Two staples or banke hookes
Two rules of ij foote ye pece
Two spare plainyng yrons
5 thoughts on “Seventeenth-century joiners’ tools again”
That doesn’t seem like many saws. I don’t recognize anything in the list to use for riving stock, either. Am I missing something? Maybe wooden gluts just didn’t make the list, but surely there would be something analagous to a froe? Maybe they sourced their stock already split or sawn into planks?
I love the way the words are written, especially “squiers” and “jages”. To that, I say, “kewl”.
I assume these joiners are using sawn stock; there are no wedges, no froe. Two saws will be plenty, as long as one has fine enough teeth for joint-cutting.
Kari – wait til you see the writing itself, the spelling is bad enough, but to read the documents is another thing altogether.
Maybe they had multiple blades for the frame saw. I assumed (oops!) that the frame saw would be a re-saw for ripping veneers and thick planks into two thinner ones. If that is the case then there is only one saw left for all other purposes such as cross-cutting, joinery, cutting curves, etc. I’ve probably got a dozen saws and I don’t even *make* anything. :)
Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the
time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much
time both reading and posting comments. But so
what, it was still worth it!