Thursday, September 13, 2007

Boring shaves

Let it not be said we here are Alf Towers don't aim to please the reader - boring tools then shaves as well, to wake you up again ;)

The actual boring implements take us into the wunnerful world of Stanley and Millers Falls (which is strangely comforting when you find yourself without a single metal plane to document). The breast drill is a MF is a 120B and it's a good opportunity to plug the excellent site dedicated to Millers Falls built by Randy Roeder. Another breast drill isn't otherwise a cause for celebration - even though the usually missing side handle was found amongst the other tools (miracle!) - nope, never use the darn things and already have at least two more than any sane person needs. i.e. two ;)

Lurking coyly behind is the aforementioned extension, brace for the use of, chuck variety. I have hopes a trip in the hot soup will reveal unto me a maker, and similarly the 8" sweep brace which currently only speaks of being a No. 823, which is not ringing dem bells. The smallish hand drill, for which tool variety I have a curious and enduring love, is a Stanley #1221K apparently, and that means zilch to me.

Okay, but what about the t-handled wotsits top left? I put them in there in a sort of tapered-awl-kinda-way, but it's not like they're 'ticularly sharp or anything. Round, tapering, square tang and obviously workshop-made handles. Not really set to on the books with any of this stuff yet, but tentatively wondering if coachbuilder's draw bore pins..?

Bit stock-wise, the box made for it is slightly more interesting than yet another Clark pattern expansive bit. Owning more than one of these bits is hard to justify, but it'd help if just one of them was a different model!

The augers and such are more interesting - lot of Gedge patern ones with the up-turned wings. Washer cutter (seized up and another urgent candidate for the soup) and three taper tanged twist drills. But wait, look closely at the longest. An ordinary twist bit has been brazed/welded/whatever onto the stump of an auger bit - which is why it said "1/2" when actually it's 3/8". Wonder what purpose it served that was worth the effort? All round the bits give the impression that this character was keen to get the most from his tools - old bits ground into screwdrivers and such. I like these little unintended windows into someone's soul :)

For completeness, the other twist bits. But now shaves and such:

Okay, drawknives. Or drawing knives. Or draw shave. Ah hah, see? Method in my madness. The bottom one's worn to a mere shadow of a drawing knife but finger's crossed for the other 'cos I like the 8" blade length. Made by Ward & Payne btw.

The wooden shaves have evidentally been well used. i.e. the soles are worn concave. Irons aren't in too bad condition but I dunno; worth bothering with? Possibly not. About now you could be wondering just what there is worth having, but hey, I'm having fun...

Now we're into real wheelwright stuff and what I belive is a Nelson Shave. Like a Javis Shave, but with one eye... No, no, like a Jarvis but flat soled. Don'tcha like the treatment of the corners of the iron?

Pretty impressed that things weren't so far gone into rusty oblivion that the screws still worked okay and I was able to remove the iron (very thick). Rather interesting way of solving the blade-holding problem I thought. Possibly not beyond the wit of galoot to replicate, with the advantage that you don't need a special iron like other wooden shaves.

Anyway, my eyes are nearly shot trying to make out makers' names despite the enthusiastic Mr Beney who insisted on obliterating 70% of them with his name stamp, but the bulk is now photographed and listed. So what next? Still got saws and measuring, plus planes, enough routers to make their own category and other assorted bits and bobs. Vote now!


  1. Great stuff, Alf. Those T-handled tools are intriguing. In Blackburn's "Woodworking Handtools Instruments and Devices", something very similar is called a "burn auger" - any sign of them being heated up in the past? They could be draw boring pins but they look a bit puny for that function IMHO.
    Ah, so you're a secret hand drill lover too, eh? I thought I was the only one left.


  2. Just out of interest how hard are the blades in the drawknives? I had presumed that they would be as hard as any other edged tool but then the other day I was told that drawknives specifically are often not hardened and should be sharpened with a file rather than stones. What think ye?
    Cheers Mike


Owing to vast quantities of spam this blog is getting, I'm afraid only registered users can post. All comments are moderated before publication, so there may be some delay. My apologies.