Two weekends ago, my family and I took a trip to Victoria, BC, Canada. It is only about 20 miles away across the water, but it is another world. We love going there and try to go two or three times a year. My wife normally books us a couple of nights in a nice hotel for my birthday, so we go there every April. We see the sights, do some shopping, and enjoy the fantastic restaurants.
This trip, we once again took the kids to the Royal British Columbia Museum. My son likes going there and asked to go straight to the Woolly Mammoth. How can you say no to an exited 6-year-old?
So, you are wondering if the bench blog has become a travel blog now? Fear not, I’m just slow in getting to the point. As I wandered through the museum, I came upon this display of old woodworking tools. I (of course) immediately smiled, and the kids (of course) immediately groaned “oh no Daddy, not more woodworking stuff”. They then promptly walked off with Mom.
There was a pretty comprehensive set of tools on display, but some of them were a little rough. A few I might have even passed on if spotted at a garage sale. However, there were a few gems in there that I have yet to find “in the wild”. The shape of the handle on the below saw was very nice, the lambs tongue was well executed, but it has certainly seen better days.
I have to admit that I had a little chuckle when I came upon the bowsaw in the display. Gerhard Marx over at Je ne sais quio woodworking made a couple of beautiful bowsaws recently and wrote about them here and here. Brian Eve from Toolerable and I were picking on him a little for the string he used on the two saws.
And then I saw this:
Gerhard, I take it all back. Your string is superior to the historical record. Mea Culpa!
I was also pleasantly surprised to see an ebony and brass mortise gauge in the display case. I have the exact same gauge but the maker’s stamp on mine is too shallow to read and I have never been able to ascertain its brand.
However, all the tools in the display were numbered and there was a corresponding key. This listed the tool as a Hibernia Mortise Gauge by William Marples.
Here’s my mortise gauge so you can see just how similar it is. It is a fantastic tool to use and very well made. It is hefty, solid, an functions perfectly. It’s by far my favorite mortise gauge.
As I stood there looking at all the tools, a couple (I assumed husband and wife) walked up and were viewing the display. The lady said to the man:
“Wow, could you imagine trying to woodwork these days using all that old stuff?”
Yes… yes I could, I thought to myself as I smiled and walked away.
I also had a good laugh when I read this posts. It serves you right for winding me up (pun intended). I hope Brian also reads this and feel ashamed of his behaviour.
Anyway it is great to see what your up to. I really like the look of your property with all the trees I saw in your previous post, it is stunning. We are back from our trip to the Okavango and I have heaps of photos for you, but still struggling to work out how to shrink them so I could e-mail them. Being a shrink myself does not seem to help much!
I really enjoyed your post with all the photos from your recent trip. It looked incredible. I still haven’t decided what to do with the fallen tree on my property. I need to contact a portable mill and see what they will charge me to mill it into lumber. I haven’t had time to do anything woodworking related for a couple of weeks now. I was out of town for a week on a work trip and I’ve been repainting the bathrooms in our house. Hopefully soon I’ll get back to the dust collector ducting project soon. I’ve got images that I uploaded to my blog site over month ago, and I just can’t seem to find the time to write the blog posts.
All the best,
Do you find it inconvenient to use a screwdriver to loosen and set the head? I’ve passed on these when I’ve seen them for sale because of this. No mistaken they are well made.
Using a screwdriver to lock the head has never bothered me with this tool. In fact I rather like the fact that this method locks the head so securely. A screwdriver is never too far from my bench, and remember that this particular gauge needs a screwdriver to adjust the distance between the two pins anyway.
If you can find one at a good price, I highly recommend them. I’ve seen them on eBay at up to $200, that’s just crazy. I think I paid about £10 on eBay UK a couple of years ago.
All the best,
I have one of those. Adjusting it with a screwdriver is so easy, I ground a slot in all the knurled knobs on all my marking gauges.
As an aside, I live in Victoria, and haven’t been to the RBCM I a long while, although my daughter goes there all the time. I’m now inspired to go visit.
That’s a good idea adding slot to the knurled knobs on other gauges. Tightening with a screwdriver really locks the head in place. I guess this would work better if the locking bolt and the threaded insert are both made of steel as if they were brass, they could wear over time. I love going to Victora, it’s such a fantastic city.
Thanks for commenting. All the best,
Pingback: Tool Restoration - William Marples Hibernia Mortise Gauge | The Bench Blog