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Unearthed Treasures: Exploring Antique Tools with Unusual Names

The world of tools is not only practical but also rich in history and unique nomenclature. In this article, we’ll delve into the intriguing world of antique tools with names that spark curiosity and provide a glimpse into craftsmanship of the past.

The Froe

Description: The froe, sometimes called a “splitting froe,” resembles a cross between a knife and an axe. It has a long blade with a handle perpendicular to it.

Usage: This tool was used for splitting wood, shingles, and other materials by driving it into the grain and then prying it apart.

The Bodger’s Froe

Description: A more specialized froe, the bodger’s froe has a curved blade that’s perfect for crafting the spindles and legs of Windsor chairs.

Usage: Bodgers used this tool for shaping wood in chair-making, ensuring the curves were just right.

The Monkey Wrench

Description: The monkey wrench, also known as a pipe wrench, has an adjustable jaw, making it ideal for gripping and turning pipes and other rounded objects.

Usage: This versatile tool was invaluable for plumbers and mechanics working with pipes and fasteners.

The Sloyd Knife

Description: The sloyd knife is a small, sharp knife designed for wood carving and whittling.

Usage: It was a favorite tool in Swedish and Scandinavian woodworking schools, teaching craftsmanship to young students.

The Rabbet Plane

Description: This plane, also known as a rebate plane, is designed for cutting precise rebates or notches along the edge of wood.

Usage: Carpenters used the rabbet plane for creating grooves in wood to fit joints together snugly.

The Gimlet

Description: The gimlet is a hand tool with a spiraling shaft and a cross handle, designed for drilling small holes in wood.

Usage: Craftsmen used the gimlet for drilling pilot holes and making openings for screws and fasteners.

The Yankee Screwdriver

Description: The Yankee screwdriver is a hand-cranked screwdriver with a ratcheting mechanism for easier and faster screwdriving.

Usage: It was an early precursor to the modern electric drill, making tasks like fastening screws more efficient.

The Brace and Bit

Description: The brace and bit is a hand tool that combines a crank handle with a drill bit, allowing for precision drilling.

Usage: Carpenters used this tool for boring holes in wood, a fundamental task in construction and woodworking.

The Fluting Machine

Description: The fluting machine is a specialized tool used for creating decorative flutes and channels in wood or metal.

Usage: Furniture makers and craftsmen used this tool to add intricate details to their creations.

The Spokeshave

Description: The spokeshave is a small hand tool with a blade set at an angle, designed for shaping and smoothing curved surfaces.

Usage: It was essential for crafting spokes and other rounded components in woodworking.


These antique tools with unique names offer a window into the craftsmanship and ingenuity of bygone eras. While some have been replaced by more modern counterparts, their names and designs still hold a certain charm and a reminder of a time when skilled artisans used them to shape our world.


This article serves as an exploration of antique tools with distinctive names. It’s important to remember that the usage and significance of these tools have evolved over time. While some may still be in use today, advancements in technology and materials have introduced more efficient alternatives in many cases.

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