Not all tools are readily available second hand, some useful items are rare and expensive, some were always specialist so just uncommon, some simply end up worn out. Some of these difficult to find items we commission to have made or make ourselves others we simply stock new trying to go for high quality.
Working wood which isn’t fully seasoned is rather different than the dry, seasoned wood used in much of furniture making. In building work wood is often “nearly” dry. This fresh or nearly fresh cut wood with a high moisture content is softer, it shrinks on drying, it finishes differently to dry. So green wood is used in its own special way, often with some tools not currently as plentiful second hand. We have been making, commissioning and supplying some of these for years.
– used to cleave, split wood in a controlled fashion. Cleaved wood can be stronger than cut wood as it follows the grain instead of partly crossing it. May be used in chair spindles, spokes, shingles, laths, basket making and more. A froe is used by tapping down with a mallet while using a long handle to twist the froe blade side to side to cause the crack along the grain. We do get the occasional older froe in, but tend to be more example items then ones to use; normally more expensive.
We have two sizes, both supplied without handles (everyone wanted different length ones): Normal about 10 inch (250mm) long blade, eye internal 1 3/8 inch (35mm), ¼ inch (7mm) thick. Used for spindles, shingles etc. This is forged as one piece with forged taper to starting edge with the eye bent round not just welded on pipe though it is welded shut.
Small about 7 inch long blade, but also thinner and lighter. Used in basket making and similar with smaller diameter timber. This has ground blade welded to pipe forming the eye.
New. These are ground flat on one side to allow the axe to angle closer along the wood being cut. Made in both a right and left handed version by Stubai, wood handle.
We stock a small range of new axes from small lightweight hatchets to camping, felling and splitting ones. Ones by Stubai, Hultafors, Bahco, Kent and Stowe, RoughNeck,and others are generally in. We also try and have a variety of older ones, some just axe head others with shaft.
A new, standard size one. It’s relatively lightweight (about the same as most older ones) made by Stubai. Steel seems reasonably good and they have wooden handles. We have had many satisfied customers for them with comments they have kept sharp better than at least some other new ones.
We generally have a selection of good older ones and of various lengths. The older ones are normally going to be more expensive, have good steel, have more variety in weight, angles and size (need to pick them up to judge if you like the feel) though we do also get ones needing some TLC and restoration which are less expensive.
New, with leather handle, by Stubai. Thinner blade than older ones so generally not as heavy which can make them easier to use unless you are fit and using one a lot. The leather handle is a bit less prone to slipping when wet, has a safety stop so less likely to slide out of hand. Have had hedge layers who normally use older billhooks try these and end up using a lot.
We do generally have a range of older bills in the shop as well. Really need to pick up to feel if an older one is right for you.
We have two different patterns, both by Stubai. One a traditional sculptors adze / axe with vertically oriented axe blade counterbalancing the curved adze blade. The other with hammer head to counterbalance.
On the sculpting shape have a small one along with standard size. These are well forged tools with decent steel, hardened so hold an edge without chipping but can still be sharpened.
We do get a few second hand flat adzes, both carpenters and shipwrights, but curved carving one seldom (OK, had a nice one about 23 years ago).
We have been working with a forge to make the irons for the past 25 years or so, but that has been forced to stop as the accountants got to them saying it wasn’t large enough volume.
Spoon carving and whittling knives
We try and keep a small range of new different hook and straight knives in. Some by Ben Orford, some by Mora, and sometimes what we assume are inexpensive Chinese ones. Virtually never see used ones, sorry. Usually we also have some used folding pocket knives. Of course if your are hollowing out spoons or bowls we have an extensive range of older carving gouges and chisels.
Measuring and Marking
Information to come when I get caught up with this.
Measuring things like rules and tapes.