13 August 2008

Esau Wood Saw a Saw Saw Wood ...

... as no other wood-saw would saw wood!

Did anyone else grow up reciting that verse/tongue twister, I wonder? (Actually, if you google Esau Wood you'll get the complete thing on wikepedia)

Those of you who have read this month's Welcome page of the Vintage to Victorian website or have received the Newsletter will know that as well as my passion for linens and textiles I also love wood, and especially woodworking tools. The first photo below shows one of the boxes of old wood planes (and other tools) I bought the other day. Most are late 19th Century although I think there may be a couple from the late 18th/early 19th, and probably a few which date up to the 1930s.

As you can see they look rather dirty and dusty and not particularly attractive. So, because the wind and rain today prevented me from painting a pot rack and plate rack destined for Dairy House, I decided to attack the planes with fine grade wire wool, elbow grease, a little Brasso, some sweet-smelling natural polish and a duster ... and here, for your delectation are the fruits of my labours. It took most of the day, on and off, to clean up 8 planes and a saw-wrest.

But I think you'll agree it was worth it. They look so much nicer now, and I love the feel of smooth polished wood. Whilst I rubbed off the dirt and grime with the wire wool I made sure that I didn't destroy the patina and am really pleased with the results. To think men were using these tools over a hundred years ago and they can still look this good (the tools of course, not the men!) just shows the pride with which they looked after their craftsmen's tools. They say "a bad workman always blames his tools" ... but a good workman always takes good care of his. Most of the planes have the names of previous owners stamped on them, and a couple have the names of the manufacturers. Two planes were made or owned by Jos Hubert of Jersey and a Google search showed him as a cabinet maker in the 1841 Census. These two are of slightly better quality than the others and it was a treat to find out that he was obviously a brilliant woodworker.

The rest will have to wait a while as painting and sorting textiles are next on the agenda this week but it made such a nice change to do something like this today. It was quite tiring but I shall sleep well tonight!!

Another purchase last week was this Chil-daw mannequin. She's in very good condition with just a flaw/pulled thread/not quite a hole on the front and is currently on display at Dairy House with a price tag of £149. I had hoped to add her to Vintage to Victorian but haven't done so yet. If anyone 'needs' her please let me know!


Debbies-English-Treasures said...


Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

Hi Sue,
I can see that your love of wood has worked wonders for those old planes and tools - all your polishing has really brought out their rich colours.
Their previous owners (how amazing that you know who one of them was - what great provenance!) would certainly approve of your efforts. Will you really want to part with them, when someone snaps them up at DH?!

The mannequin is a beauty - I have the same one, but she is VERY worn in two prominent areas on her front!! ha!

Hope the weather holds for your painting projects,
Niki x

Shammickite said...

those tools look so nice all polished up. My dad had a lot of really old tools, but when he dided my mum gave a lot of them away. I wish I had some now.

LOUISE said...

How my Mum used to enjoy buffing up with brasso and polish. You could see the joy in her eyes to see something which started off quite plane (pardon the pun) to something of real beauty, rather like your wooden tools. x

the homely year said...

I must show your woodworking tools to Les...he's a joiner and loves the carpentry tools he uses. Many were bought for him when he was an apprentice at the age of 15. Like most joiners he takes very good care of them...they seem like extensions of him.
You've made a lovely job of cleaning them up!
Margaret and Noreen

Jennie said...

What lovely tools. My husband has collected quite a few from auctions and car boot sales over the years, and uses them to restore and make furniture for our house.

bigbikerbob said...

Hi Sue, When we were kids we used a much abridged version of that which went
I saw Esau sitting on a see saw,
I saw Esau he saw I.
Definately a lot easier.

funkymonkey said...

You did a fantastic job on those tools. I love wood and often wonder if people will regret painting every piece of furniture in sight. Maybe I'm just too old fasjioned.

the flour loft said...

i had a Chil-daw mannequin exactly the same as yours.. i got her from the newspaper ads aged 16 and went with my mum to buy it.( am now 40). She was used over many years for my costume making but stupidly i lent her to my daughters school for a flower festival entry. She was covered with plastic and then with a costume and flowers and displayed in the local church. Sadly she was badly damaged and the neck broke away from the main body... i was so upset and noone owned up or even apologised. I kept her for a while but decided to let her go and the whole darn thing made me feel very sad. It is so nice to see your one in full near perfect glory :)
Look forward to meeting you on the 22nd Nov!
best wishes
Ginny x

bigbikerbob said...

Hi Sue, We paid a visit last week to the 40th Dorset Steam fair, it was fantastic. If you went either as a seller or to see everthing including all manner of woodworking tou would have one helluva day,we did, so post in this date for next year you wont regret it Sept 2nd to 6th 2009.