This lath hammer/axe is something of a family heirloom having belonged to a member’s grandfather. Originally it would have been used to cut and fix chestnut laths to walls and ceilings prior to plastering, this being in the days before plasterboard of course. Made in the Victorian era, probably by Brades, it had become neglected, the head was very rusty and the non original handle was full of woodworm, so a major refurbishment was needed.
The head had a very large eye and a replacement custom made handle was needed to suit this. The old handle was removed, the head was cleaned using a rotary wire brush and a new rectangular section handle was made from well seasoned local oak, the rectangular shape and palm swell at the end allowing the grip to be rapidly moved through 180 degrees to use both functions of the tool effectively. An oak wedge and a cast steel cross wedge were fitted to secure the head and the whole item was then treated with linseed oil to preserve it. Hopefully, at perhaps 130 years old already, it now has a second life.
One of our members swopped some logs for some pieces of an old roof collar beam, the centre part of which had been re-used in an extension on a neighbour's old house. Initially it was hard to see what these pieces could be re-used for, but with their hand cut mortices and tenons and the patina of the centuries they seemed too interesting to go for firewood.
A plan was hatched to turn the offcuts into table lamps. Brass lamp holders were sourced and the two oak timbers cut to the same length, then bored through to take the necessary electrical flex. The timbers were then sanded to remove the worst of the damage done by woodworm centuries ago, then treated, wax polished, wired and fitted with shades. A nice way to make use of timber that had already done hundreds of years of service structurally.
A few years ago, a local organisation had been presented with a handmade box containing silver goblets.
Over time the joints became loose, the clasp broken and the goblets were likely to get damaged.
All the joints were re-glued, a new clasp fitted and the inside had foam attached to prevent damage when in transit.
A rectangular bowl in reclaimed sapele.
Turned initially with scrap wood glued to the sides of the rectangle.
The seats for these three rustic stools are made for a fallen oak tree, which is estimated to be 280 years old.
The wood was been seasoned for 4 years before being cut and shaped.
The legs of two are also carved from oak while sweet chestnut wood was used for the three legged stool.
Ron Arad is an architect /designer who likes to take items and objects and find alternative uses for them in his projects. He specified chairs with legs made from axe and hatchet handles for Belgo Noord, a restaurant in Camden Town, with elegant results. Unfortunately diners lent back on the rear legs of the chairs and the arrangement proved unsatisfactory when abused in this way, resulting in the chairs having to be withdrawn from use.
The design appealed to one of our members who secured damaged chairs that had been temporarily repaired. The repairs were subsequently properly carried out with the split rear legs being dowelled and glued and other earlier repairs made good. The chairs were then throughly cleaned with mentholated spirits and wire wool, wax polished and put to lighter domestic use.
FARRIER'S SHOEING BOX
Farrier’s shoeing boxes were once common place, certainly in the Victorian era and probably earlier, but have been superseded by the mass produced trolley mounted larger chests used by today’s farriers. Purpose made by the local village carpenter, probably from the elm boards that coffins were also made from, the boxes contained all the tools necessary for actually fitting the shoes to the horse and would be pushed around on stone or concrete yards as the farrier worked around the animal. When empty the boxes are unbalanced and hang awkwardly, but when the nails and the correct tools are in the box the tool handles protrude from the open end and the boxes hang balanced.
This example was bought in an auction at The Great Dorset Steam Fair in the 1980s. It had some appropriate tools in it, but was in a very dirty, heavily worn and damaged condition with burn marks underneath, extensive woodworm and a plywood replacement back that was disintegrating. All the sides would once have been level, and the slot behind the handle, which held the rasp, square, but all have been worn away by decades of use, even the handle has been worn away by the farrier's hand.
The whole box was throughly cleaned with mentholated spirits and wire wool and then put in the freezer for 24 hours to deal with any remaining woodworm. The original nails were carefully removed and reused, locally sourced sweet chestnut board was used for the repairs, since elm is not now generally available. Just the parts most severely damaged were replaced and sanded to match the worn original components, and the completed item was then wax treated. The box is now repurposed for display purposes and is sometimes used as a fruit bowl.