Something I've been meaning to throw out in the ether for a couple of weeks has finally made it to the top of the list. It involves a bad pencil sketch drawn from memory (most of the memory being how to draw at all...), which may account for why I've been putting it off... Anyway, the Tall Scotsman was in "show and tell" mode not long ago, and he showed me this, in between selling me a nice pair of calipers for MrsW and tempting me with hollers and rounds by Madox (at least 230 years old - how the heck do they survive?)
Essentially you're average tapering octagonal handle like these, fitted to a 1/4"? 3/8"? in-cannel gouge (least I remember it as in-cannel). So far, so mundane. But one half of the handle continued past the bolster and down to within an inch and a half or so of the cutting edge. That's what the sketch is trying to describe (now be nice - if you can't say something not too derogatory, don't say it at all...).
The TS described it as a "strong back" which sounds familiar, and apparently the fellow he first sold it too, and subsequently had just bought back from, knew what it was for and why. I, meanwhile, am wholly in the dark. So now you can be in the dark too, unless someone can cast some light.
EDIT Once again,maker of fine saws and all-round good guy, Mr Wenzloff has provided the solution (see comments). Viz; from Salaman's Dictionary of Woodworking Tools:
"Gouge, Sash (Scribing Gouge)
Light in-cannel Gouges made in sets of six or nine sizes from 1/8 to 1in. Used for scribing sash or door stuff. When used with Saddle Templets they sometimes had their wooden handles extended along the back of the blade to act as stops."
C'est magnifique, n'est pas? As the length of the blade wore down did the owner shorten the wooden extension? I suppose so. Rather clever - wonder how difficult it'd be to make such a handle... END EDIT
To depart from woodworking and enter the strange and wonderful world of IT for a moment - if anyone has any tips on reliable (but cheap) web site hosting (in the UK) I'd be obliged. Actually a hint of a likely place to go and harvest some independent info would be a help; I'm bewildered by sheer choice and strangely enough don't quite believe all the good things the various providers say about themselves as being gospel-truth. I know; getting cynical these days...