Re: [MedievalSawdust] New, and with ignorance aplenty
- On Wed, October 6, 2010 3:16 pm, frode_kettilsson wrote:
> Greetings, and thanks for having me on this list!Actually, bow drills and spring-pole lathes _do_ have "power cords", and
> I've been with the SCA for coming up on one year, in October, and making
> wooden bows for nearly that long. I just participated in my first
> renfaire demo, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's great fun watching the
> expressions on peoples faces as they watch you using tools that don't
> have power cords.
on the spring-pole lathe it is entirely possible to screw up and cut
through them, a thousand years and more before electricity ever ran a hand
Up to now, I'd have said I couldn't build a box to save
> my soul, but after a dozen or so bows, there might be a chance atFiles for sure, rasps quite likely. Also drawknives, and block planes.
> redemption. I'll have plenty of questions, but my first will concern the
> likes of early period (my chosen time is as close to 600 as possible, in
> the area around Denmark) files and rasps,
Also remember, in Scandinavia right down to the present day, a strong
tradition of all sorts of carving knives, some of which can be used in
joinery as well as decorative work.
Crosscut saws, including ones that look like they would be for joiners'
work. Ripsaws, maybe not yet; long lines down the grain would mostly be
roughly split and then hewn, drawknifed and planed if needed. Hewing was
important; "yxa till" (axing to...) is still a Scandinavian phrase for
and, if shave horses aren't
> available yet, what alternatives would likely have been used.What they call "brakes", which are notches or pairs of timbers that the
work can be sprung into. Easier to show than describe, but basically you
stick the work into a notch or slot that has some room to spare, and then
tilt it to one side until it locks against the top of one side and the
bottom of the other. You hold it there with body pressure, or some rope,
or by tucking an end under a third piece if the workpiece is long.
Sometimes the tool pressure alone is enough to hold it. There's a
Roman-era workbench top from Germany that has a squarish notch in one
side, that they think was used this way to hold work for carving or
The oldest documented shave horse I know is in Agricola (mid 1500's)
though of course it could be much older. A primitive possible shave horse
ancestor is a simple bench, straddled by the worker like a shave horse. A
leather strap or rope has a stirrup-style loop at each end, and goes over
the work. The work is pinned down to the bench in front of the worker by
his feet in the loops. Add a raised platform for the work in front of the
operator, which is easy and obviously useful, and only the foot lever has
to be added to invent the shave horse.
All over the world, you also see wooden workpieces held down by the
worker's ass or feet. This includes some places that turn out really
sophisticated joinery, such as Japan. These places typically have a
sitting-worker tradition, as opposed to the standing-worker tradition
that's been common in the Western world since the days of Greece and Rome.
Good luck with your researches and projects. The relevant information is
scattered in a thousand places, almost none of which have tools as their
main subject. Actual tools from the era are fairly rare, though there are
a couple of good Anglo-Saxon examples from the early Dark Ages, at a time
when there was little cultural difference between the Anglo-Saxons and the
proto-Danes. There are also the tools from the Mastermyr find, which are
only a few miles and a few centuries from your early Denmark.
And if you want to go the investigative route in the shop, you can always pick up a device called Kill-a-watt. It’s a device you plug into the wall outlet and then plug your electronic device into it and it will tell you what it’s drawing. More or less. I see them at radio shack personally. $100 bucks is a lot agreed.
Not to throw in a 'me too'. But ... yeah, I can't see how a little shop
work could add $100 to an electric bill. My computers eat up more
power than an hour+ in the shop does. And that's with 220V tablesaw,
220v dust collector, and who knows what else running semi-constantly.