WELL. THE TOOLS THEME HAS A LIFE OF ITS OWN. FOR THOSE OF YOU JUST STOPPING HERE; I HAVE DONE A COUPLE OF RECENT POSTS ON BASIC TOOLS FOR SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY JOINED WORK. THIS DOES NOT MEAN “HOW FEW TOOLS CAN YOU…” – BUT NEITHER DOES IT MEAN EVERY LAST TOOL POSSIBLY USED IN THE PERIOD.
TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF THE WAY THAT JENNIE ALEXANDER & I HAVE WORKED OVER THE YEARS, I HAVE TAKEN JA’S RECENT LENGTHY COMMENT & ADDED MY RESPONSE/REACTIONS, ETC IN THESE CAPITAL LETTERS. INSTEAD OF LEAVING IT IN COMMENT-LAND, I HAVE DECIDED TO TURN IT INTO THE UMPTEENTH POST ABOUT TOOLS & BENCHES….THERE ARE A COUPLE OF LINKS BACK TO EARLIER POSTS IN THIS BLOG; THERE IS A SEARCH BUTTON AS WELL. YOU MIGHT FIND MORE THAN I REMEMBER POSTING.
SO, HERE IS ALEXANDER’S COMMENT, BROKEN OUT INTO SUBJECTS.
SAWS: Mike’s comment about the small number of saws in the Everssen Inventory is well taken. Your suggestion that the deceased was working sawn, not split, stock is a possibility. It is Just as likely the larger saws, beetle, wedges and froe were gone at Everssen’s death. The Inventory only includes, “…suche tooles as remayned in ye Joyners Workehowse at Westhordon…” We often overlook that Inventoried tools may be those of an elderly or infirm craftsman and not necessarily represent his full kit. Large saws and riving tools may also be in another location and not inventoried. Large saws were sometimes owned jointly with others and may have wandered. Reading Inventories is fun! Recognizing that you do not fell trees, how many saws do you use?
ALL THE SAWS I NEED FOR A JOINED CHEST ARE TWO – I USE AN EARLY 20TH-C DISSTON BACKSAW FOR CUTTING TENON SHOULDERS. SIMILAR VINTAGE RIPSAW FOR ALL ELSE.
SQUARE: In your list you list only one. In your Post of 3-14-09 you showed Felibien’s print of squares: joiner’s (90 degrees), moving (adjustable bevel), and bevel (fixed 45 degrees). All are called “squares.” Holme also illustrates the mitre square with 30, 60, 45 and 90 degree angles. I happen to know that you possess all 4 types. Indeed, the Mail Bunny sent you some of them. How many of these thingees do you use?
I REGULARLY USE A JOINER’S SQUARE, TRY SQUARE, WHATEVER IT’S CALLED. AND A BEVEL GAUGE; I.E. BEVEL SQUARE IN 17TH C. MITER SQUARE IS A BONUS, BUT YOU CAN DO WITHOUT IT.
MITRE “BOX”: Holme illustrates a device for accurately sawing angles. It is shown in the drawing you set out at the beginning of this post. Though I like you don’t remember where we got this illustration, it seems clear that this is not “cribbed” from Holm but is a copy of actual pages of Holme’s drawings. What do you use when sawing moldings?
THE ILLUSTRATION IS HOLME’S DRAWING, I COPIED IT FROM THE CD. PROBABLY ILLEGAL. WHEN SAWING MOLDINGS; I DON’T USE A MITER BOX. I JUST SAW THEM AGAINST A WOODEN BENCH HOOK, (A TOOL/FITTING THAT WE HAVE NO PERIOD REFERENCE FOR…)
GIMBLET: We find this tool in Inventories and in Holme, Moxon and Felibien. Do you use one?
I HAVE 19TH C GIMBLET BITS THAT FIT A BRACE; I USE THEM SOME. I HAVE A TAPERED REAMER THAT I USE A LOT, IT’S ONE-HANDED LIKE THE PERIOD GIMBLET; MADE BY MARK ATCHISON, THE BLACKSMITH I WORK WITH A LOT.
PINCERS or PLIERS: Likewise. They are handy for installing and adjusting gemmels (wire hinges).
YES, & PULLING BENT NAILS.
KNIFE: Is rarely found in the Inventories. Perhaps it was used to eat with! I find it handy to clean up and point wooden pins. My pins are more carefully made than yours. I also score tenon shoulders with a knife rather than an awl because I am not as confident a sawyer as you. Do you use a knife in joinery?
I SOMETIMES SCORE SHOULDERS IN SOFT WOOD WITH A KNIFE; OR SCORING END GRAIN FOR MAKING THE THUMBNAIL MOLDINGS USED ON CHEST & BOX LIDS, AND JOINED STOOL SEATS. OTHERWISE I USE AN AWL, WHICH, BY OVERSIGHT, HAS BEEN LEFT OUT OF THE “LIST. ”
SINGLE BENCH SCREW: Last, but not least, you did not include the single bench screw. It is a screw affixed to the left hand side of the front of the work bench to hold workpieces vertically. … I find mine very useful for boring pin holes.
I RARELY USE IT; MORE FOR PLANING EDGES OF BOARDS. TO HOLD STOCK VERTICALLY I BLAM A HOLDFAST INTO THE FRONT FACE OF THE BENCH’S LEG. WE HAVE COVERED SOME OF THIS TERRITOTY BEFORE, FOR DETAILS, SEE https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/bench-screw/ AND https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/bench-screws-in-the-shop/
4 thoughts on “More about 17th-c tools missing from your list.”
I don’t have a question about tools, but I do have one about box making. Did joiners have a preferred box size or sizes? Is there one box size that is more prevalent than the rest? Was choosing a box size instinctive or do you think joiners had specific guidelines/formulas to achieve a particular box size?
Has anyone ever seen one of these two-foot iron rules I see in every joiner’s and carpenter’s inventory? And why don’t they make them any more? THe only ones I use are the four-footers when I lay out upholstery.
boxes range from 12″ wide across the front all the way to 30″ wide in the same direction…as far as I can tell there is no “standard” although generally they tend to be about 20-24″ wide. Height might be determined by the width of the available boards. but then again, it might be set by whim…not much help, I know.
the iron square at Pilgrim Hall, that you had in New England Begins is the closest I have seen to an iron 2-foot ruler. Jane Rees, the English tool historian is working on, or has just finished, a book about the history of rulers for woodworkers. I’ll see about it, might be helpful.
Actually, Peter, that was very helpful. Thank you very much.