more about the riven chests of Tamas Gyenes

More photos from Tamas Gyenes, See the first post here:

Carving through the surface to expose the lighter wood –


Here’s how the surface is prepared for that work:


The grooves aren’t cut with a plow plane, but with this tool. It seems to me like a small twybill. Detail of the grooving follows.


Shaving of the week right here:

cutting the groove


His note told me he’s working on his 69th chest! And that’s in addition to working a job, having a family, restoring old pieces and writing & researching about the chests. Hmm. seems familiar. Thanks again, Tamas. I’ll keep in touch.

12 thoughts on “more about the riven chests of Tamas Gyenes

  1. The double ended “hook” knife appears to be similar in design to many of the tools that Robin Wood uses in his bowl turning. Seems to be an incredibly versatile tool (in skilled hands), with one even serving as the “marking” end of the compass. More information on the manufacture and uses of this tool would be very interesting. Thanks for your great work, Peter.

  2. The tool is also known in Bulgaria and Romania, and I have just found a Polish video on Youtube where it is being used to make a flax breaker, See: .. I have tool enthusiasts on various Facebook groups trying to find out the local name… Tamas refers to it in an email as ““hornyoló”, and in the northern Hungarian region the masters rather called it “völgyellő”. (It sounds in northern dialect.) The word “völgy” means “valley”, so the “völgyellő”=”valley-maker”. ” and another correspondent told me “horony” means (valley in wood), “hornyoló” (valley- tool).. One possible Romanian name is “horj” but this has yet to be confirmed… However Google translates ‘hornyoló ‘to ‘canelură’ in Romanian (groove) – so it would appear that the terms valley and groove making tool in whatever language or dialect is the best term… Maybe a Polish term to research would be ‘ekspres do żłobienie’

  3. Ignore that last ‘ekspres do żłobienie’ – Google translate throws up some wierd combinations, currently trying (in Polish) ‘stary frez do rowków’ (old groove router) but all I am getting is machine router bits… ‘stary frez do rowkowania narzędzi ręcznych’ is no better… nor is ‘stare ręczne narzędzie do rowkowania’…. ‘przecinak do gontów’ (shingle cutter) just finds slate shears … maybe I’ll give up and wait for feedback from Polish tool groups…

    I guess it’s tool that may be associated with smaller ethnic groups within a population that may have travelled from place to place making shingles, or wooden boxes – like the scieurs de long in France who moved form village to village sawing wood into planks…

  4. See also “One of the rooms in a barn is traditionally called a mow (sąsiek). In this case, the name refers to a wooden chest, usually situated in a hall or in a chamber behind a hall, which was designed for keeping grains for sowing. A chest belonging to the collection of the Museum in Kęty is typical of southern Poland. Inside the chest are two chambers for two types of grain.
    Because grain was very valuable, a corn chest had to meet peculiar requirements. The wood used to make it was carefully chosen. Before being put together, the elements were boiled in lye solution, which was obtained by pouring grass ash or ash from the wood of deciduous trees like beech, into boiling water (a similar mixture was used for washing a hundred years ago). Such a procedure allowed one to protect the wood and grains from insects. It also helped preserve many old corn chests until contemporary times.”

    The construction is interlocking tongue and groove boards, made using the Polish “Pugucz”…. The same tool as used by Tamas in Hungary….

  5. Joh Weiss and Sohn, Wien (Vienna) listed in one of their catalogues two tools..

    A plane called a schindelnuthobel (shingle or clap board grooving plane) and a schindelzieheisen (shingle draw cutter or iron)….

    The latter is a version of the double ended grooving tool – the former is like a plough plane, but also with what appears to be a V or U shaped cutter, rather than a conventional carpenter’s plough plane.

    Googling schindelzeiheisen doesn’t find this tool, but it does find a similar shaped tool with larger cutters at the end, not LH and RH vee tools, but one circular and one square cutter (about 25mm across)… Yet more research needed…

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