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tools-bib - 1/29/99


A bibliography of medieval woodworking tools by Thora Sharptooth.


NOTE: See also the files: tools-msg, wood-msg, woodworking-msg, wood-finishes-msg, wood-bending-msg, plane-art, coopering-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 14:24:57 -0500

From: capriest at cs.vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Medieval Tools


Katerina asked:

>I would like to ask if anyone knows where I might find information on medieval

>tools.  Specifically, wood cutting tools.


Plenty of visual depictions of tools exist.  The ones that most immediately

come to my mind are the following.  The Bayeux Tapestry shows men felling

trees and building longships; the tool depictions are fairly explicit.  The

Mendel Housebook has nice depictions of 14th through 16th century workers of

all types, including several types of woodworkers (carpenters/joiners,

turners, and, for lack of a better qualification, makers of textile tools).

Period depictions of Noah building the ark are good sources, as are

depictions of St. Joseph at work.  The Campin altarpiece has a lovely

depiction of St. Joseph's workshop with some really good tools in it

(including a broadax).


Also, here below is a list of some of the sources my husband (Dofinn-Hallr

Morrisson) uses for woodworking.  His focus is 10th century Viking, so

there's a lot of earlier period stuff included.  The annotations are mine

(I'm the one compiling the list--he just reads and applies the stuff).




Arwidsson, Greta, and Berg, Gesta.  _The Mestermyr Find: A Viking Age Tool

Chest from Gotland_.  Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien.

Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1983. ISBN #91-7402-129-X.


        A whole chest full of period tools, including both woodworking and

smithing tools.


Hall, Richard A.  1978.  _Viking Age York and the North_. BAR Research

Report 27.  London:  The Council for British Archaeology.


        Has a chapter on "Industry and Commerce in Anglo-Scandinavian York,"

by Arthur MacGregor, which touches on the lathe-based woodworking industry

evident at Coppergate, York.  ISBN #0-900312-65-3.



McGrail, Sean, ed.  1982.  _Woodworking Techniques before A.D. 1500:  Papers

presented to a Symposium at Greenwich in September, 1980, together with

edited discussion_.  National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, Archaeological

Series 7.  BAR International Series 129.


        Contains 21 articles, most of them on medieval woodworking, including

"10th century woodworking in Coppergate, York," "Aspects of Anglo-Saxon and

Anglo-Scandinavian lathe-turning," "Toolmarks on surviving works from the

Saxon, Norman and later Medieval period," and "The tools available to the

medieval woodworker."  ISBN # 0-86054-159-2.



Munby, Julian.  1991.  "Wood," pp. 379-405 in _English Medieval Industries:

Craftsmen, Techniques, Products_.  Ed. John Blair and Nigel Ramsay.  London:

The Hambledon Press.


        Readable and very informative.  Contains discussions of woodland

management, tools, trades, a long section on construction and a shorter

section on other woodworking trades.  A few very nice photos.  There is no

bibliography for the chapter; his sources are folded into the overall

bibliography at the end of the book.  He makes some very good suggestions

for further readings, though.  ISBN #0-907628-87-7.



Petersen, Jan.  1951.  _Vikingetidens Redskaper_. Skrifter utgitt av Det

Norseke Videnskaps-Akademi I.  Oslo: I Kommisjon hos Jacob Dybwad.


        Useful English summary and many plates of Viking tools, both

woodworking and otherwise.  He covers knives, scrapers and scorps, planes, adzes, gouges, drills, chisels, saws, and axes, plus whetstones and grindstones.



Rule, M.H.  1987.  _Carpenters' Tools Recovered from the Mary Rose_.  Mary

Rose Trust Research Report No. 6.  Portsmouth: Mary Rose Trust.


        We haven't seen this one yet, but there's a photo of several of them

in Edward Wilson (see below).



Wilson, David M.  1968. "Anglo-Saxon Carpenters' Tools," pp. 143-150 in

_Studien zur europ=E4ischen Vor- und Fr=FChgeschichte_, ed. Martin Claus,

Werner Haarnagel, and Klaus Raddatz.  Neum=FCnster:  Karl Wachholz Verlag.


        "It is my intention in this paper to list all carpenters' tools

(with the exception of axes) found in datable Anglo-Saxon contexts."  And he

does, along with useful commentary, often drawing parallels to manuscript




-----, ed.  1976.  _The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England_.  Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.


        Great book, fabulous bibliography.  Chapter 6, "Craft and Industry,"

touches on woodworking; Wilson himself has written on early period

Anglo-Saxon woodworking tools.  ISBN #0-521-28390-6.



Wilson, Edward.  1987.  "The Debate of the Carpenter's Tools."  _The Review

of English Studies_, vol. 38, no. 152 (November 1987), pp. 445-470.


        This is a comic late-fifteenth century poem, depicting the "quotidian

concreteness of the carpenter's life."  The tools argue about whether the

carpenter can make enough money to support his drinking habit.  Some of the

period names for the tools are a little obscure.



Woodbury, Robert S.  1963.  "The Origins of the Lathe."  _Scientific

American_, vol. 208, no. 4 (April 1963), pp. 132-143.


        The short version of this man's longer work on the history of the lathe

in industry.  There is also a brief list of references for this article on page



Carolyn Priest-Dorman                 Thora Sharptooth

capriest at cs.vassar.edu                Frostahlid, Austrriki

         Gules, three square weaver's tablets in bend Or



<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org