Posts Tagged ‘tool’

A Name Stamp

September 5, 2012

The name ‘Neate’ has featured many times in this blog. James Neate came to Market Lavington as a wine and spirit merchant and brewer back in the mid nineteenth century, spurred on because a proposed railway would pass right through the village. That railway never materialised, but James stayed and weathered financial difficulties to become an established member of the Market Lavington community. In fact, he died in the village in 1920, aged 90, and is buried in Market Lavington churchyard. James would have needed to mark many wooden objects with his name. He used a name stamp for this. A name stamp looked like a small cold chisel.

A mid nineteenth century name stamp at Market Lavington Museum

Instead of a cutting edge, the business end of this device has the name carved so that the letters stand out.

The name on the stamp is J Neate – a Market Lavington wine and spirit merchant as well as a beer brewer

They are in reverse, of course, so that when placed against the wooden item to be named, and hit with a hammer, the name gets marked in the wood. A quick digital fix can turn the image round so we can read the name.

Digitally mirrored image to make the name readable

We can also see a name (in this case that of Charlie Burnett, the wheelwright and carpenter) as stamped into one of his planes.

C Burnett stamped the plane with his name – his mark of ownership

We think James Neate’s name stamp dates from around the time he came to Market Lavington, in the 1850s.

A spoke gauge

September 26, 2011

Wheelwrighting was an amazingly complex job. There were so many pieces in a wheel and all had to be made to fit together accurately and securely. To assist in the task, various gauges were used and today we feature a spoke gauge.

A 19th century spoke gauge at Market Lavington Museum

It doesn’t look much, but if you had to make mortice joints, at the right angle so that spokes made the wheel saucer shaped, you’d have needed one. A helpful sketch explains how it was used.

A sketch showing how to use the spoke gauge - part of the records kept at the museum

The stock is the hub – the central part of a cart wheel and the gauge has been fitted to it temporarily. A piece of whalebone, from an old corset is wedged into place in the gauge so that a suitable angle can be made between the spoke and the hub. The mortice to hold the spoke could be marked and cut.

This gauge is made of oak and dates from the early 19th century. It was used at Gye’s Yard on White Street, amongst others, by Charlie Burnett.

A strange corkscrew

September 12, 2011

We have a number of corkscrews at Market Lavington Museum. One of them has a large handle which appears to be made of a root. We had thought it might be a briar.

A corkscrew at Market Lavington Museum

The metal part of the tool has a maker’s name on it.

The corkscrew maker was Laurent Siret of Rochefort sur Loire, France

There is a brass plaque on the handle, which may be the name of a particular wine.

A brass plaque on the corkscrew handle

When the item was given to the museum, there was no internet to find out about things. There is now, so we are able to learn more about our corkscrew.

First of all, we now know that the handle, appropriately enough is made from the wood of a vine and that the manufacturer was one of the largest corkscrew makers in France.

Our information comes from a corkscrew on line magazine at  where we found this image and information.

An advert showing this type of corkscrew

The corkscrews are often marked on the shank with the name and location of one of the largest producers of such corkscrews Laurent Siret, Rochefort-sur-Loire, France.

The handles of these corkscrews come in an unlimited number of shapes and sizes as they are cut from the vine. One can imagine all sorts of animal figures in the shapes. The example at left was offered by a seller as a seahorse.

Also they can be found with small brass plates attached advertising wines and vineyards.

So now we know much more about our corkscrew

A Turf Lifter

September 4, 2011

At the recent Easterton Country Fair, a stallholder dashed home to bring the museum a tool he had found in his shed. He thought it might have been a paddle used for lifting bread from a bread oven. These items were known, variously as paddles, peels or even shovels.

A quick glance at the offered tool was enough to rule out the idea of a bread oven tool. Those peels were usually 100% wood and very straight. The picture below comes from and shows a peel in use.

A baker's peel in use

The offered tool was metal (and had lost its handle. It also had a large bend in the shaft which would not have gone into a bread oven. It certainly looked more like a gardening or agricultural implement.

Our new tool was certainly not a peel

So, we knew what it wasn’t, but nobody at the fete could tell us what it was. Our curator searched the web for ideas, but it isn’t easy to find items if you don’t know what search words to type in.

But if the web fails, there is always a chance that a local expert might be able to help. So, the next day, the tool made its way to Tom Gye, widower of our late and much missed founder, Peggy. As luck would have it, Tom had relatives with him and one of them had worked in a place displaying tools like this. In fact Tom and both his visitors all knew that it was a spade for lifting lawn turf.

Now once you know that you can find similar items, on sale today, listed on the World Wide Web – sometimes under the name of a sod lifter.

The new tool at Market Lavington Museum is a turf lifter

Our curator has pretended, here, to fit a handle to show how it might be used. In truth, the handles are longer to avoid quite so much bending and, of course, the cutting blade needs to be below the turf.

For the next question, does anybody knew why such a tool was used in Easterton? Amongst users, these days, are grave diggers and sports grounds men.

The Plane Truth

September 3, 2011

Hand tools for all trades were the only tools until comparatively recent times. In Market Lavington, power in the form of electricity came to the village less than 100 years ago and powered tools were an expensive luxury for craftsmen until about 50 years ago. Many carpenters continued to use hand tools, particularly if only occasional usage was needed. We have just recently been given a number of planes that were used in Market Lavington for generations.

The one featured today is a beading plane.

A beading plane at Market Lavington Museum

This is a simple wooden frame with a wooden wedge holding a steel blade in place.

The cutting blade

There we see the cutting edge of the blade – designed to leave a raised beading, which is roughly semicircular in section.

This tool appears to have been made by a Sheffield company – W Marples and Sons but it also carries a defaced mark – that of Holbrook of Bristol.

We know that this tool was used by a man who worked for Gyes, the carpenters and wheelwrights of White Street in Market Lavington. The man concerned was Charlie Burnett who we have met before on these pages. (Click here)

Charlie was an Easterton born man and we do not know where he served his apprenticeship, but possibly in Easterton. Charlie followed his blacksmith brother, Bert, to Gyes – we think in the 1930s. He probably took his own tools with him when he went there so he almost certainly already had this plane.

We know it was Charlie’s for like all good workmen he took care, not only of the condition of his tools, but also of its security. The tool was and still is, clearly named.

C Burnett stamped the plane with his name - his mark of ownership

Charlie stamped his plane with his name, not once, but twice. On the other end he has overstamped the manufacturers name.

We can also see the defaced Holbrook name on this end.

We’d guess there are plane experts out there who’d be able to tell us who did make this plane and roughly when. Do, please, get in touch if you can tell us anything about it.

Charlie Burnett

March 4, 2011

Charlie Burnett or, correctly, Richard Charles Burnett

Charlie Burnett was an Easterton  man. He was actually born, at Trudoxhill in Somerset in  1890 but by 1891 the family lived in Rowde where Charlie’s father, Henry,  worked as an innkeeper and baker at The Olive Branch Inn. But mother, Beatrice came from Easterton and by 1894, the young family lived there.  In 1901 Charles, aged 11 with three younger brothers And a younger sister lived with Henry and Beatrice on High Street in Easterton. Henry was a self- employed market gardener.

The family were still together in 1911. It’s probably fair to guess that by then Charlie was working, probably an apprentice wheelwright for that was the trade he had later in life. Our picture shows Charlie at work.

Charlie at work as a wheelwright - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

Charlie became the wheelwright for the Gye firm, based on White Street in Market Lavington. One of Charlie’s brothers was the blacksmith for Gye’s.

Charlie (Correctly he was Richard Charles) is on the electoral roll for 1939, living on High Street in Easterton.

Charlie died in 1958.

Apart from still photos, we have film at the museum, taken by Peter Francis, of a wheelwright at work.

A Skiving Machine

January 31, 2011

Surely people don’t need a machine to help with skiving? Well, actually, cobblers do. Skiving machines allow strips of leather to be cut to a specific shape. The shape obtained can be varied by changing settings on the machine.

A cobbler's skiving machine at Market Lavington Museum

Our machine is a hand operated example but for mass production powered examples were and still are available. In fact skiving machines are also available for metal shaping, as well as leather.

This skiving machine was used by village shoemaker and cobbler, Ken Mundy in his High Street premises. Usually, a skiving machine was used to put a shamfer on leather so that two pieces of the material could be joined smoothly.  It’s a very technical process and if you’d like to know more then click here to discover all of the secrets of skiving. And click here to look at a previous blog entry about the life of Ken Mundy

Basket Making Tools

September 16, 2010

Market Lavington had its very own family of basket makers for more than 100 years. Four generations of the Mullings family lived and worked in Market Lavington or Easterton from the 1850s until the 1950s.

Here we look at a pair of tools used by the Mullings family, our basket makers.

Withy cleavers used by the Mullings family - now at Market Lavington Museum

Baskets were made out of withies – thin, young stalks of willow trees but of course, some of these strips of willow had got too large and inflexible to allow for the weaving of a basket. These tools were used to split the willow.

A length of willow could have been pushed down onto the white top of the cleaver on the left. It has three ‘blades’ so the willow would have been split, along its length into three more serviceable pieces. The skill of the Mullings family would have let them make the right choice of cleaver, for the one on the right would split the willow into four lengths.

Market Lavington Museum has a cabinet filled with tools of the basket making  trade which gives some idea of the former importance of this craft.

A Saw Display

May 4, 2010

Market Lavington was once a fully self-sufficient community – no different from other small towns and villages throughout the country. If planks of wood were needed they had to be made from the raw material – trees. Without power tools, much manual work was involved and saws of different types were devised to help sawyers, carpenters and joiners to produce all of the items that could be made from wood.

At Market Lavington Museum we have a range of saws, which have all been used in the parish in former years.

Some saws at Market Lavington Museum

The saw at the top is a two handled saw found in a shed at High Street, Easterton. It is twentieth century in origin and gives an idea of the fact that for many jobs the skills and strength of two workers were required. It may have been used for cutting across tree trunks to produce wood of the required length.

The middle saw is a standard pit saw for converting tree trunks to flat planks and boards. Two sawyers operated it over a sawpit. The bottom handle is missing. It is hard to date for these were in use from medieval times and on into the twentieth century.

At the bottom we have a frame saw. This, too, was used over a pit. Carpenters and wheelwrights were able to cut shaped pieces of timber with it. It dates from about 1900.

We have many other tools at Market Lavington Museum. Why not call in and see them this year.

May 1st – Market Lavington Museum opens

May 1, 2010

Let our Silver Jubilee year begin at Market Lavington Museum. It was in 1985 that we first opened our doors, so this year marks that twentyfifth anniversary.

The museum is open from today until the end of October on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and Bank Holiday afternoons from 2.30 to 4.30.

If you wish to visit at other times do contact the curator and we will do our best to accommodate you.

And for a taster of the familiar, here’s a corner of the ‘Trades and Occupations’ room at the museum where you can see not only the tools that people used, but also learn a little of the people themselves.

A corner of the Trades and Occupations Room at Market Lavington Museum

Do pay us a visit in this, our Silver Jubilee year. Entry is free, but we do appreciate donations. We sell copies of the wonderful book about Market Lavington (Village under the Plain by Brian McGill) and also a CD of old photographs of the village.

The museum is accessed by footpath behind the parish church. The best parking is at The Community Hall.