OldTools Archive

Recent Bios FAQ

71748 Don McConnell <Don.McConnell@a...> 1999‑11‑30 Re:Top Irons

In response to my saying:

>> For what it's worth, if you compare the various quantities between
>> the Plane Irons at the beginning of the list and the comparable
>> width Top Irons following, there usually are more Plane Irons than
>> Top Irons. This may not mean anything, but certainly doesn't lend
>> any additional evidence toward concluding that *all* the irons
>> were cut.

Todd Hughes wrote:

>>....When I read about the more plane irons then cap irons being
>sold the first thing I thought of is how a iron will eventually
>wear out and a wood worker will need to replace it with another,
>but a cap iron is more or less a one time buy , so maybe this was
>why more irons then caps were in stock, again just

As I tried to take some pains to point out, I wasn't drawing any
conclusions from this "discrepancy." I was simply attempting to point out
that they didn't provide any evidence for the Rees' to conclude that *all*
of the irons were cut. In fact, I'll have to agree that irons would have
been replaced, over time, much more often than top irons.

Rather, my intent was to suggest that this conclusion seemed to be
indicative of a mindset we all carry around with us.  In that light, let's
consider the following.

A set of cabinetmakers tools was purchased for Benjamin Seaton, by his
father, on December 15. 1796 (five years after the 1791 Christopher Gabriel
Inventory). With that chest was found an inventory of the tools as they
were purchased from Christopher Gabriel.

Among the items inventoried (some not still present in the chest) were (in
this instance, the "Do" stands for ditto):

1 dble Compass 4/6. 1 Single Do 3/4
1 dble Jack 3/  . 1 single Do 2/1
1 Do Fore 3/6, 1 Do Try 4/6
1 Do Smoothing 2/6. 1 Single Do 2/1

The Book on _The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton_ was a group effort of the
Tool and Trades History Society and published in 1994. Jane Rees is the
member listed as primarily responsible for the material on the Benjamin
Seaton inventory. The Jane & Mark Rees publication on Christopher Gabriel
is copyrighted 1997. Interesting.

Don McConnell
Knox County, Ohio

Recent Bios FAQ