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What are these hand tools?
September 21, 2012 7:19 PM   Subscribe

Just curious: what are these hand tools for?

In case the link doesn't work, relevant ebay search term is "5 ANTIQUE & UNUSUAL HAND TOOLS; WOOD HANDLES; UNIQUE SHAPES; RARE; VG CONDITION"

I don't know the seller, I mostly am just asking this question because the two tools on the far left are so interesting. But I'd love to know what they all are. Thanks!
posted by aniola to Technology (21 answers total)
 
They look like woodworking tools to me; or possibly leatherworking tools. Can't tell for sure.
posted by windykites at 7:22 PM on September 21, 2012


My husband thinks they're ice carving tools. HINAIC (He Is Not An Ice Carver)
posted by fullerenedream at 7:40 PM on September 21, 2012


i thought they might be for bowl-turning, though they didn't look just right, but the spouse suggests metal-spinning tools
posted by miss patrish at 7:51 PM on September 21, 2012


Ms. Zamboni thinks they might be antique jewellery tools, for burnishing. Have a look at these burnishing tools.
posted by zamboni at 7:54 PM on September 21, 2012


They look most appropriate for decorating clay pottery or figures. The blades would be used to shape the clay and the ones with the shapes on the end seem designed to impress/indent the clay. Not a potter myself, but these seem more apt to be used on a softer, more malleable material than wood, metal or even ice.
posted by uncaken at 8:23 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seconding clay tools.
posted by Miko at 8:48 PM on September 21, 2012


I think clay tools is more likely to be correct than my first answer.. (Although I still say the long, pointed, slightly curved one looks like a leather awl).
posted by windykites at 9:36 PM on September 21, 2012


They aren't woodturning or any other kind of wood working tool I've ever come across (and I've come across most).
posted by deadwax at 2:24 AM on September 22, 2012


I believe they are leather-working tools.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:27 AM on September 22, 2012


They also may not be all the same kind of tool. The owner appears to have them all in the same batch because they were each a mystery.
posted by aniola at 5:37 AM on September 22, 2012


I think they are tools of the same set, as each has the same handle. My first thought was leatherworking, in particular shoemaking. But as a leatherworking set it is missing blades/shaves, and only has one awl (and a blunt looking one at that). It could simply be a partial set, which is why they are hard to identify. But I don't know.
posted by Jehan at 6:37 AM on September 22, 2012


They are either clay tools or burnishing/metal etching tools. They look like a cheap kids or beginner set.
posted by gjc at 6:59 AM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think gjc's guess is a good one. A kids' craft set or a school classroom set makes sense for the period. That general type of wooden handle is really common on inexpensive kitchen implements from the 1930s-40s.

That one on the farthest left does look like a burnishing tool specifically.

But, after Googling endless combinations of vintage + craft + hand + old + tools + set, I also like the theory that they might be finishing tools for furniture making or upholstery. They're certainly mass manufactured, but that was a big American industry with tons of workers.
posted by Miko at 9:05 AM on September 22, 2012


OK, changing my guess back to leather tools based on this.
posted by Miko at 9:07 AM on September 22, 2012


And this and this and this. So my guess, leatherworking and potentiall shoemaking-specific tools.
posted by Miko at 9:11 AM on September 22, 2012


They're not turning tools. They're not nearly long or sturdy looking enough. None of them look like any (metal) burnishing tool I've ever seen.

Clay tools are not usually rigid metal.

Looks like leatherworking to me, maybe specifically shoe making.

(metalsmith and son of potters here)
posted by cmoj at 9:58 AM on September 22, 2012


Actually my father worked alot with a wood lathe. They look like tools to make designs in the wood as it turns. My father made furniture.
posted by speedy27 at 11:09 AM on September 22, 2012


Ok look, there's only one way to resolve this. You are going to have to take up woodworking, leatherworking/tooling, shoemaking, pottery, ice carving, metalwork, jewellerymaking and upholstering and try the tools at each craft. Get back to us when you find out where they work best.
posted by windykites at 11:22 AM on September 22, 2012


Mezzotints work by burnishing or polishing a textured metal plate before inking it up to print like an engraving. A couple of of the tools in the link here look similar to those you are asking about - maybe people who know about intaglio printing could say?
posted by glasseyes at 11:31 AM on September 22, 2012


It looks like the poster has changed the title -- it now says they're millinery and flower-making tools. There ya go! ("5 ANTIQUE MILLINERY TOOLS; FABRIC FLOWER MAKING TOOLS FOR HAT DECORATING; VG SET")
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:43 PM on September 22, 2012


Actually my father worked alot with a wood lathe. They look like tools to make designs in the wood as it turns. My father made furniture.

Wood turning didn't even enter my mind. That, I don't know much about.
posted by cmoj at 2:58 PM on September 22, 2012


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