Tools of the trade

The Woodmans' Mare or Horse

The problem of holding pieces of wood firmly whilst they are being worked with hand tools has lead to the creation of various devices, one that is found in many place is the Horse, Mare or Donkee, these are simple foot operated vices that are usually designed and built to suit the individual worker, hence each one is as individual as the person who made it. The illustration below shows a basic setup


The Froe, Riving Iron or Knife

This tool is used to split or rive the wood along the grain, it may be hit on the back edge with a beetle or wooden mallet to force it through knots but it is mainly used as a lever in conjuntion with some form of brake.


The Draw Knife

The draw knife is used for smoothing the riven wood in a similar manner to a plane, but the amount of wood being removed can be altered by varying the angle of the blade as it is drawn up the wood. The knife is used in conjunction with the woodman's mare and it is "Drawn" toward you, hence it's name. The action of pulling the knife, increases pressure on the footbars of the mare (every action has an equal and opposite reaction!) which then clamp the workpeice harder. There are various sizes and patterns of draw knife, the standard is probably of about 11 or 12 inches, the handles are sometimes angled to the bevel angle. The knife is usually used bevel down (as a smoothing plane blade is used), but they may be used the other way up especially when being used to rive off a fairly thin slice of wood from the workpiece

Draw Knife

Small scale production of charcoal using oil drums

Coppice woodland

Tools of the trade

Products of the Coppice

Peter Wright, To Email Click me


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