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Thread: Early American Shipbuilding Tools Book Online

  1. #1
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    Default Early American Shipbuilding Tools Book Online

    I ran across an interesting book on early forged ship building tools, starting with the Virginia in Maine around 1607. http://www.davistownmuseum.org/PDFs/...Metallurgy.pdf
    INTRODUCTION
    This volume of the Hand Tools in History series explores the stories told by the forge welded edge tools discovered in New England tool chests and workshops during the authorís 40 years of searching out useful woodworking tools for the Jonesport Wood Company. Art of the Edge Tool examines early American toolmakersí remarkable ability to forge edge tools. It explains the milieu of these toolmakers and links it to New Englandís maritime trading economy and the late 19th century florescence of American hand tool manufacturing that followed.

    Many of the tools recovered during the authorís tool-buying expeditions were signed by their makers, who sometimes included the location of their manufacture. Often used by the shipbuilders of New Englandís wooden age, a majority of the larger edge tools recovered from New England workshops and collections appear to be American-made, rather than forged at Sheffield, Birmingham, or other English toolmaking centers, as many others posited. The authorís observation that a robust indigenous colonial and early American edge toolmaking community clearly existed in New England, but had been poorly documented, led him to research and write this survey of the roots and evolution of New Englandís bloomsmiths, shipsmiths, and edge toolmakers.

    A special focus of this volume is a review of the steel- and toolmaking strategies and techniques so essential to understanding the accomplishments of the forgotten shipsmiths and toolmakers who were responsible for the success of New Englandís maritime economy. It discusses and attempts to answer the previously unanswered questions of when, how, and where New England shipsmiths ďironedĒ wooden sailing ships built in New England, forged edge tools for the shipwrights who built the ships, and where they obtained their iron and steel.
    http://www.davistownmuseum.org/publi...s/volume7.html

    I also found a plausible explanation for the function of the spike on the peg-poll adze. http://swingleydev.com/ot/get/175781/thread/
    I was at a yard sale once of an old guy that was a wooden boat builder and
    had actually built a few Skip Jacks and worked on Chesapeake bay log canoes
    and I bought a couple of his spike ship adzes and I asked him about those
    spikes. Told him I had always heard they were for drving in nails or spikes
    that were in the wood....He got a big laugh about that and admited he had
    heard that too but never from anybody that had used them. He told me when
    they were building a boat they would drill holes in the wood from the
    outside to the depth they wanted the wood to be thick , then they would adze
    down till they hit the hole stop and then plug them with a wooden dowel they
    carried in thier pocket and knocked in place with the Adze poll then keep
    on working. Said with out these holes very hard or impossiable to know
    exactly how thick the wood is since they are working inside the boat's hull.
    He even told me the reason he thought old Adzes have a bigger poll was
    because back then they used bigger dowels because they drilled bigger holes,
    latter ones used smaller holes and dowels...
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Early American Shipbuilding Tools Book Online

    Quote Originally Posted by MN Dave View Post

    I also found a plausible explanation for the function of the spike on the peg-poll adze. http://swingleydev.com/ot/get/175781/thread/
    Plausible - but. We have spike poll adzes here but do not and have never since the bronze age built log boats. I suspect that it was used for setting a spike deeper when adzing a hull fair before hitting the head with the sharp edge. Plate layers poll adzes have a big square striking face that can be used for driving spikes.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Early American Shipbuilding Tools Book Online

    I've heard the poll was for driving into the end-grain of a beam so that the beam could be conveniently horsed around by the adze handle, rather than the adze man having to put his adze down and bend over and try to get ahold of the beam and pick it up. Easier on the back that way. I've also been told that the purpose of the poll is to help the adze man aim his swing. Held correctly, it's easy for the hand and handle to obscure a clear view of the blade, which has to strike the workpiece squarely. The poll indicates a line perpendicular to the blade edge. Bottom line, like the notch on Diston saws, nobody really seems to know for sure. (Diston says it was just a distinguishing trade mark thing, actually.)

    Driving nails or anything else with it makes no sense, if you've ever used an adze. For that matter, neither does driving in dowels as described in the quote in the post. The way what they are describing works is that if a workpiece needs to be faced, like a deadwood that tapers aft, the taper depth is laid out on a grid pattern on the face of the piece and then "witness" holes are drilled only to the depth of the desired finished face at each intersection on the grid. The face is then adzed and the adze man knows that when a drilled hole disappears, he's gone deep enough in that area. There's no need to put a dowel in anywhere in that process.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Early American Shipbuilding Tools Book Online

    One use for the spike in the boatyard that I worked in was to swing the spike into any good sized nearby piece of wood so that the tool stuck nicely. Then you could use a stone or file and sharpen your adze without having to hold the tool while you sharpened it. Worked real good.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Early American Shipbuilding Tools Book Online

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    I've heard the poll was for driving into the end-grain of a beam so that the beam could be conveniently horsed around by the adze handle, rather than the adze man having to put his adze down and bend over and try to get ahold of the beam and pick it up.
    Quote Originally Posted by jamo View Post
    One use for the spike in the boatyard that I worked in was to swing the spike into any good sized nearby piece of wood so that the tool stuck nicely. Then you could use a stone or file and sharpen your adze without having to hold the tool while you sharpened it. Worked real good.
    Again not in the UK, adze polls were not that sharp.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Early American Shipbuilding Tools Book Online

    Using the pike end to wrestle timber around seems mighty plausible.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Early American Shipbuilding Tools Book Online

    I use mine for sharpening. It is probably there for tradition's sake.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Early American Shipbuilding Tools Book Online

    Lyle Hess once told me that the spike was used for setting loose trunnels when fairing off a hull. I use mine for sharpening.
    Jay

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Early American Shipbuilding Tools Book Online

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Lyle Hess once told me that the spike was used for setting loose trunnels when fairing off a hull.
    Jay
    The fat poll on a British adze would be ideal for that. If the spike were sharp enough to stick into a baulk of wood it would split the trunnel.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Early American Shipbuilding Tools Book Online

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    The fat poll on a British adze would be ideal for that. If the spike were sharp enough to stick into a baulk of wood it would split the trunnel.
    Sounds good to me. Here in the Colonies, our locust trunnels didn't come loose.

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