Help Identifying Antique Tool

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Chuck McKee, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. Chuck McKee

    Chuck McKee Tinder Gatherer

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    Hi all,

    I'm an auctioneer in Kentucky, and over the years I've seen and sold a lot of collectible tools from primitive to modern, but this one has me stumped. I've seen them before, but don't know what it's called or its exact purpose.

    I hope this is the right forum to post in for this, it's edged, and I'm hoping one of the folks here will be able give me a name and purpose for this particular tool. We have a pool going, so hopefully I'll win. lol.
    53909_5.jpg
     
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  2. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    While I know what it is, though that particular setup seems a bit strange, I'm not sure how it looks having someone join the forums simply to ask for knowledge on an item they are looking to sell.
     
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  3. blind & lost

    blind & lost LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Hi Chuck, and welcome to BCUSA from SW Florida. No idea what you have, perhaps an introduction would also be good. Thanks.
     
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  4. Chuck McKee

    Chuck McKee Tinder Gatherer

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    Guys, I'm not trying to market it to you or do anything against forum rules. And yes, I joined so I could ask what clearly is a very knowledgeable group of people in the field a question about an item. If that's a problem then remove the thread.

    By way of introduction I primarily represent estates, and as such I represent items that run pretty much from vehicles to antiques and barbie dolls to firearms. Anything that would come out of a person's personal estate.

    So yes I also deal in antique and modern tools. A lot of them in fact given the area of the country where I work. I just haven't had one of these before, and to do the best job I figured I'd try to find out what it was and how it worked. I chose this forum because I've found answers here before about items in the archives, but this is the first time I've had something I couldn't figure out from those searches, so I thought I'd ask.

    But I didn't join to try to sell it to anyone here, and I don't want to violate any forum rules, but honestly (and I don't mean this to sound bad) I don't apologize for trying to do my best to properly identify items and learn about them to the best of my ability or even for the fact that my job is to sell these items. In this case the seller is a non-profit, but even when it isn't I take pride in doing the best I can for families and widows and such, and one way I do that is to educate myself on these kinds of items.

    If I was on here just to try to "hock my wares" as it were then yes that I can see as a problem, and I admin a message board myself and we don't allow that either, but my goal is purely to learn about the piece. That's why I uploaded a single picture instead of linking to my website, etc., so as to make it clear this wasn't a solicitation.

    If that's an issue then please remove the thread, but I wasn't trying to market anything, just figure out what this was so I can represent it correctly. The nature of my work requires me to reach out often to people with detailed knowledge of a given type of item, and that's all I'm trying to do here because clearly folks here do have the knowledge of this field. I'm a member at dozens of message boards, from classic cars to firearms to depression glass to antiques, and I have found the best sources of knowledge in those areas are people like those here with a passion for it so I consider it a great place to learn about all those areas. No I won't be a regular, but I have read on here several times and I'm also happy to contribute where it helps.
     
  5. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    That's fair enough Chuck. I suppose that I was getting at the fact that you didn't seem to have any interest in bushcraft. But it seems you have an interest in the tools used. There's definitely a lot of discussion about that tool here in this subfourm. If you don't mind can we make it interesting? Could you list all of the guesses from the pool and we will see if any of them are correct. I'd imagine that someone guessed it right. Only thing is it's either much older than you all suspect, or a reproduction which is probably why you hadn't run across one before. Were there many antiques in the estate?
     
  6. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    I've never seen anything quite like it.
     
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  7. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    Looks interesting... but I’ve got no idea what it is! Some woodworking tool?
     
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  8. LogCabin

    LogCabin Scout

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    I will guess something to do with grain sorting.
     
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  9. Chuck McKee

    Chuck McKee Tinder Gatherer

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    You're correct my interest is in the tools used, as we do run across these kinds of things fairly often in estates. This area has a lot of what I would call bushcraft relevant tools of all kinds. Of course a big part of telling a story about a tool or thing is understanding its use and context, and where a lot of the old skills are lost so is knowledge of the tools. Even the collectors are now fading, so most of the knowledge about these things is actually in groups like this one, people who actually use these items and don't just stick them in a closet or hang them on a wall.

    Actually this is a very interesting estate and it wouldn't surprise me at all if it was truly old.

    This estate is from the home of Emilie Todd Helm, who was half-sister of Mary Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln's wife. No kidding. Of course Mary Todd is from Lexington, where we are based, and many of these items are from the Todd and Helm families, very old Kentucky families. We have chests and such that are late 1700s. The original land was owned by General Levi Todd, Emilie's grandfather, and he was a general in the Revolutionary War. Between their family duration in this area and other pieces floating around, it being truly old is a possibility. Not saying it is, that's in part why I posted, but it's definitely possible.

    I'm not going to contribute much on bushcraft, but I can sure tell some interesting stories about some of the estates where we get these things. :)

    All of our guesses so far are pretty pitiful. No idea as to a proper name, most guesses are it's for some kind of board splitting of logs.
     
  10. southron

    southron Guide

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    You would be amazed at the brain trust here, and adding your perspective increases that.

    I"ve seen that item in the pic but Old Man brain drizzle I can't come up with what it is off tip of my tongue.

    Welcome, and share stores, ya might enjoy a visit over to the liars bench. never know what ya might read there.

    ;-)
     
  11. Metaldog

    Metaldog Just chasing my tail... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Welcome to BCUSA, @Chuck McKee :)

    And thank you for explaining your reason for joining, and your interest in research. With that said, I'm sure that your employment keeps you very busy, but I urge you to join us by the campfire from time to time. Share your stories, and your knowledge. I gather from your research and interests that you may have much to contribute.

    In order for us to help you identify the object in question, could you upload a few more photos of it? Possibly a couple of close-ups? It is obviously a tool of sorts. Does the tool separate? Or, is it connected permanently?

    The tool, as pictured, appears to be some kind of an axe to me. Possibly a type of cleaving axe? Not really sure... More information may help.

    Also, Chuck. Stop by the "Introductions" section and properly introduce yourself. ;)
     
  12. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    It's a socket axe with a two piece handle.

    Here is another example, click for the link.

    0becb7ccca0cdca47b04d764a68c82fc.jpg

    This one being about 2400 years old.

    We'd appreciate it if you share interesting finds like this in the future. Lots of interest here in old tools and the way things used to be done.
     
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  13. Schmittie

    Schmittie Guide

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    I clicked on your link and read the description.

    .......I still don’t know what it is. :33:
     
  14. operatord

    operatord Supporter Supporter

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    Thank you oh brave leader. You have many behind you who were to afraid to say the same thing. I being one of them.
     
  15. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    So, it is a very strange, two handled axe. I would like to see someone using one.
     
  16. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Prior to modern axes where the handle connected to the head through a hole called the eye there were socket axes where the handle was shaped like a 7 either through a 2 piece system or using part of a tree where it forms that shape naturally. The handle fits into an opening at the back of the head rather than one going through it's middle. These were common during the bronze axe and as best as I can tell the beginning of the iron age. To put it plainly it's a very old and relatively crude style of axe.

    Here's a currently produced version.


    And what the bronze age with the more common one piece handle looks like.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Here you go

     
  18. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue —- Roughian #7 -— --- Graybeard -— Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    So, in this pic, the handles are fixed together, not pivoted?

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Self Reliantist

    Self Reliantist Guide

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    Two handed whale blubber skiver?

    Norm
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
  20. randyt

    randyt Guide

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    tipp of the mitt
    it's for processing tobacco, not cutting and hanging but after
     
  21. victoratsea

    victoratsea Supporter Supporter

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    I thought it might be some kind of morticing axe.
    Victor
     
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  22. Schmittie

    Schmittie Guide

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    Oooooh, I get it. It’s a primitive way to split your shin.
     
  23. Awkward

    Awkward Tracker

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    I’m going with tobacco or used for preparing skins / furs..
     
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  24. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    I take it you don't like axes huh :23:
     
  25. Metaldog

    Metaldog Just chasing my tail... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It was used to scare the bejeebees out of the natives, as they had never encountered such a fierce tool before. :p:39::eek:
     
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  26. Schmittie

    Schmittie Guide

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    No no. I love axes, and I have plenty to keep the wood split for the fireplace. I’m just saying it’s obvious why that design, if correct in the video, would be abandoned due to the obvious danger. Axes are dangerous enough in the wrong hands without some silly cross piece swinging closer to your shins.
     
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  27. DirtmanDave

    DirtmanDave Supporter Supporter

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    Looks like something to remove fat or blubber from whaling days or something like that for seal hunts with the same purpose. JMHO
     
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  28. randyt

    randyt Guide

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    tipp of the mitt
    it's a bark spud, the sharp end to get the bark split and the other tool to slip the bark from the tree.
     
  29. Guy

    Guy Founder Staff Member Administrator Vendor Bushcraft Friend

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    My thought was along those lines of harvesting or processing some type of stalked plant.
     
  30. Chuck McKee

    Chuck McKee Tinder Gatherer

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    I took a couple more pics.

    yes the two pieces come apart, they aren't pinned or otherwise connected. Also took a pic of the other side where the blade attaches. No doubt the wood is more recent, but the blade itself could be pretty old.

    Tobacco certainly makes sense given this region. I worked it as a child, and we had some scary looking hatchets but nothing like this item.

    20190212_182718.jpg
    20190212_182748.jpg
     
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  31. Chuck McKee

    Chuck McKee Tinder Gatherer

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    Oh, the blade is beveled on both sides, so it's not really for shaving I wouldn't think, but I have no idea.
     
  32. Kelly W

    Kelly W Love the Axe Hobbyist Supporter

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    Looks like a nice decorative piece
     
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  33. LogCabin

    LogCabin Scout

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    I have to say, I thought the blade was a handle when I looked at the first photo.
     
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  34. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Beat me to it, but it's only a guess on my part. joe
     
  35. TWill

    TWill Guide

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    There's some obscure tools used in old trades that faded away as automation took some of the handwork out of processes. I am thinking you may have something that was used to cut or chop fibers from broomcorn to make brooms or maybe it cut pressed tobacco like a counter top cutter cut off pieces of plug tobacco. Tobacco used to be packed into hogshead barrels under pressure and I expect it was a job for someone to cut or chop it to be used. Could have been used to chop tan bark into smaller bits? Just guessing based on old trades of that region. That tool is copper riveted onto a piece of wood but it doesn't look like it was used to do hard chopping or else it would have busted the fittings or wallowed out the cross handled that is mortised. I know the Todd family had a fine house in Lexington but did they own a bigger farm property out away from their city house? Her father was a banker so he may have had full or part ownership in a lot of industries besides owning slaves who no doubt had various trade skills.

    Did you check in with any of the folks out at Pleasant Hill historic site? They may know about it if it is related to some of the crafts they do there.
     
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  36. TWill

    TWill Guide

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    I could see that being used to peel bark. The line of the cutting heading is in line with the one long handle then the other one would let you twist the tool under the bark to lift if off of the sapwood. If long sheets or strips of bark were needed for some industry and had to be more or less uniform then that may have been the tool they came up with to get it done.
     
  37. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    Especially wooden tools, not made from a jig or pattern, some ones innovation or improvisation , I've had my share and made my share of custom tools,
    I have a bunch of dome scratchers, dad accumulated ,just because he didn't know what they were . and no one else did either.
     
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  38. Barry J

    Barry J Guide

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    I thought it was for breaking through ice, for ice fishing. But I am just guessing.
     
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  39. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

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    Custom made by some backwoods craftsman. It may be unique. but certainly rare. Maybe send the picture to the Mid-West Tool collectors. They print photos of mystery tools to be solved in their magazine.
     
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  40. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Scout

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    I don't know what That is, but looking at how it's made tells me it was meant to move in a rocking motion...like a p-38 can opener. The handle seem intuitive to do just that. I designed a tool to do extraction on vehicles or light aircraft that would cut the windshield or cockpit glass that way. Hope somebody figures this out. :)
     
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  41. Barry J

    Barry J Guide

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    This could be the most bada$$ ATLATL ever made.
    ;)
     

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