A couple of tools

I just fin­ished mak­ing these. They aren’t based on any­thing in par­tic­u­lar but nor are they glar­ingly mod­ern. I recently got a gas torch and some refract­ory bricks which means I can do very very small scale for­ging, per­fect for awl blades and small tools. I am very much a novice at both for­ging and woodturn­ing but they came out Ok I think. Both are usable.

Even­tu­ally I want to try mak­ing some medi­ev­al punches for open­work shoes but that’s prob­ably going to require forge weld­ing which the little torch won’t do and man­drels I don’t have yet.

The first is a peg­ging awl I need for a pair of 16th cen­tury shoes which have par­tially pegged lifts. It’s driv­en with a ham­mer and makes a square hole through two lay­ers of thick leath­er into which a slightly over­size wooden peg, roughly the same cross-sec­tion as a match­stick, is driv­en. Done right, it’s incred­ibly secure. I’ve nev­er done it before so I have no idea how well this will work out. I plan on exper­i­ment­ing once I’ve cut some pegs. I have some scraps of beech kick­ing around which is good peg wood.

This was the first blade I made, it was too small and badly heat treated and it snapped when I was driv­ing the haft on.

The second is a groov­ing tool. It’s entirely con­jec­tur­al since I’ve nev­er seen an example of a medi­ev­al or renais­sance groov­ing tool but I have seen examples of cut grooves which are dis­tinct from grooves that have been scratched or inscribed with an awl.

My first attempt at a groov­ing tool was a length of nail with a hole drilled through the end and then filed and pol­ished at the tip to sharpen the rim of the hole, sort of like a very very small scorp. I used that on a couple of pro­jects and it worked but I didn’t think it was a par­tic­u­larly plaus­ible con­struc­tion for a medi­ev­al tool. If you’re for­ging, a small round bar with a hole in the end is a lot harder than a bar with a flattened end fol­ded over and sharpened so I made one like that. It seems to work quite well.

This is it from the back:

This is the blade before it got moun­ted, you can see the sharp edge:

Not a great photo, I need to rejig my light­box so I can take pho­tos straight down on things.

The hafts are turned from Ash, which I have lots of scraps of lying around after using it for tent poles. The fer­rules are strips of brass bent and nailed in place. A sim­il­ar fer­rule was found in York and is pic­tured in Leath­er and Leather­work­ing in Anglo Scand­inavi­an and Medi­ev­al York.

The form of the mush­room-shaped haft is very approx­im­ately based on this haft from the SO-1 ship­wreck, a late 16th cen­tury wreck in the Dutch Wad­den Sea, on which the shoes I’m going to recre­ate were also found.

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