Re: [MedievalSawdust] Mastermyr reconstructions:
> I had wondered it it had been stolen (because of the broken locks andWhy no handles on the box? No idea. Why no handles on the tools inside?
> hole) and the thief dumped it when pursued. I like your ideas better
> though. Why no handles?
That's what got me thinking that they were obtained that way; tool heads
with missing or broken-off handles, taken by the box owner in trade for
some other repair job or finished piece. I have hundreds of pounds of old
tool heads in my scrap pile, but iron is much cheaper these days and I
don't have to carry them all around with me. But every year I clean up a
few of them and make new handles for customers, or teach a student how to
do it for their own collection. A traveling smith would find a "scrap
pile" equally useful, but would be limited in how much he could carry
around with him.
> On 8/24/2013 7:45 PM, conradh@... wrote:
>> > Cool. I would challenge you to be the first blacksmith to put the
>> > on the Mastermyr scorp (and other "drawknives") correctly instead of
>> > conjectural drawing of the non-woodworking archaeologist. :) It's
>> > how everyone copies that wholesale without thinking about it.
>> > Guillaume
>> You mean the artist who doesn't seem to know a scorp from a
>> spokeshave? :-)
>> That's not the only issue with Mastermyr tool handles. Everybody
>> describes that chest as a toolbox, as if it was full of usable tools
>> the owner would dig into when he wanted to hew a beam or bore a hole.
>> Someone checked it out and found that if those tool heads were all
>> restored with reasonable wooden handles, they wouldn't begin to fit in
>> box. Everyone had assumed that the wooden handles had been there and had
>> rotted away--and apparently never asked why the bog environment would
>> rotted the tool handles and left the box around them untouched!
>> Rural Scandinavian smiths were itinerant in those days; instead of a
>> having a shop on his farm and the neighbors coming there to get work
>> apparently the smith would travel from neighbor to neighbor in the slack
>> season, carrying his hand tools and using forge, bellows and stone anvil
>> that each farm kept for the purpose. The Mastermyr box has always been
>> interpreted as the working toolbox of such a smith, lost while crossing
>> the lake that later filled in with peat to become the Mastermyr
>> But there's all kinds of other metal junk in that box. Also, the owner
>> had locks inside, but the lock on the box itself seems to have been long
>> broken, and left unrepaired; instead a length of chain had simply been
>> wrapped around the box to hold the lid closed. Some archaeologists have
>> also suggested that some of the holes in the box were there when it was
>> lost, not just gouged out by the plow point that snagged it out of the
>> As a working smith, I can testify to the efficiency of keeping projects
>> around for times you only have a single paying piece you're working on.
>> have several buckets of such next to my forge right now; they provide
>> items that can be heating while the first piece is being hammered or
>> or bent. My professional opinion is that the Mastermyr chest was not a
>> smith's working toolbox at all; but a smith's project box/scrap pile.
>> There were no hardware stores back then. The smith, whether at home or
>> the road, _was_ the hardware source. And iron was scarce and expensive;
>> in every preindustrial culture that worked iron, smiths are described as
>> always taking iron in trade. Worn-out or broken items, if not repaired
>> directly, would become the raw material for something else, and the
>> would allow some credit for the metal brought in when the new item was
>> priced, just as is done with a car trade-in today. So a smith would
>> in scrap as well as make new items and do repairs; and a stash of tools
>> with broken handles might be a fine shortcut the next time a customer
>> wanted an axe or hammer. No heavy forging--just dress the working
>> surfaces, carve a handle and fit it, and the customer has a "new" tool,
>> good as new. I do this today, and every general blacksmith with a
>> trade has done it too.
>> If you have a permanent shop, there is no end to how much stuff can pile
>> up; look at any smithy today for an example! But an itinerant smith
>> have to choose; the Mastermyr box looks to me like a well-chosen
>> assortment of readily restorable tools that could plausibly be in
>> occasional demand in a neighborhood of small farmer/handymen. This
>> explains very well why a smith with the files and hacksaw for
>> locksmithing, who carried locks around, had a long-broken lock on his
>> "toolbox". Or why he bothered carrying a bunch of unhandled tool heads
>> the way of his working tool set!
>> So if Mastermyr is not a toolbox, but an itinerant scrap and
>> get-to-it-someday collection that includes tools without handles, one
>> wonders what became of the _other_ box. The one on the other side of the
>> packhorse when it fell through the ice or suffered a harness breakage.
>> Did the real toolbox get recovered and make it home? Or is it still down
>> there in the peat, sunk just enough deeper that the metal detectors
>> deployed by the researchers haven't found it yet?