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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have some questions for folks who have knowledge of antique hand cranked grinders and other woodworking tools from the early 20th century. I'm writing a children's' book that will highlight the main important steps in wooden boat building. It's not written like a boat building instructional manual, but rather will pick and choose the steps that children will find most interesting.

For example, I am having the character's father start out by showing him how to polish and sharpen the tools. I've done quite a bit of research on hand cranked grinders of this time period and think it might make sense for a father to start teaching his son how to begin using one by replacing the grinding wheel with a soft muslin wheel and using that to clean/polish the metal parts of his hand tools.

So my first question is: hypothetically, if either a woodworker's hand tools had become a bit dirty/rusty and/or if he wanted to show his son how to use a hand grinder in a non dangerous (to the tools and him) way, would it work to replace the grinding wheel on the crank with a muslin wheel, soak the muslin with coal oil, and clean the tools by spinning the crank and running all of the metal parts of the tool across the wheel?


I have more questions also so any help that anyone can give would be greatly appreciated.
 

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that sounds reasonable

It's would be like a buffing wheel of today, except much slower. There were 2 hand grinders on the family farm back when. One mounted to the bench an I enjoyed getting it going as fast as possible. It would start to vibrate off the clamp and then fall off the bench eventually. The other was a large stone wheel, about 20" in diameter, immersed in a water trough and turned with your feet on platforms attached to eccentrics. There may have been a pulley for running it also. I donno?




A bristle brush made from horse hair or other natural material would be a good polishing/cleaning media also. The old flat belt drives to the threshing machines would put an edge on a tool in a hurry. Some were rubber like a car tire and you could hear the metal finger joint as it passed around and over the steel wheels..... if the tractor wasn't at full throttle... :laughing:
 

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I have some questions for folks who have knowledge of antique hand cranked grinders and other woodworking tools from the early 20th century. I'm writing a childrens' book that will highlight the main important steps in wooden boat building. It's not written like a boat building instructional manual, but rather will pick and choose the steps that children will find most interesting.

For example, I am having the character's father start out by showing him how to polish and sharpen the tools. I've done quite a bit of research on hand cranked grinders of this time period and think it might make sense for a father to start teaching his son how to use one by replacing the grinding wheel with a soft muslin wheel and using that to clean/polish the metal parts of his hand tools.

So my first question is: hypothetically, if either a woodworker's hand tools had become a bit dirty/rusty and/or if he wanted to show his son how to use a hand grinder in a non dangerous (to the tools and him) way, would it work to replace the grinding wheel on the crank with a muslin wheel, soak the muslin with coal oil, and clean the tools by spinning the crank and running all of the metal parts of the tool across the wheel?

I have more questions also so any help that anyone can give would be greatly appreciated.
Contact me through my blog. I can help you.

www.creoleproject.blogspot.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Woodenthings for the excellent information and helpful pictures!

It's would be like a buffing wheel of today, except much slower. There were 2 hand grinders on the family farm back when. One mounted to the bench an I enjoyed getting it going as fast as possible. It would start to vibrate off the clamp and then fall off the bench eventually.
Wow! How was it clamped on that it could fall off? If grinders had a problem where they could vibrate and fall off the bench, are there ways to hold it onto the bench in a more sturdy manner?

The other was a large stone wheel, about 20" in diameter, immersed in a water trough and turned with your feet on platforms attached to eccentrics. There may have been a pulley for running it also. I donno
That's a neat picture of the pedal powered grinder! How common were those? Would someone choose those to make it easier to hold the tool while keeping the grinder moving?

I've been trying to decide what age hand cranked grinder my character would be using and have narrowed it down to one from 1900 (first pic) or one from 1920 (second pic). Would you have any perspective on whether an average boatbuilder in 1937 would likely have a 10+ year old grinder like from the 1920's or an even older one from 1900? How expensive were these for the average woodworker of that era? Would it be common to keep one of the older ones in working order for over 30 years if well taken care of? Would an average woodworker be able to make improvements or fix the workings?

1900 hand crank.jpg

1920 hand crank.jpg
 

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The age of the grinder would most likely depend on when your boat builder started his career. It was most likely a tool only purchased once. That 1900's grinder, if well cared for, is still working quite well today. Tools were built to, and were expected to last a lifetime then be passed on to the next generation.

I use many tools that have been handed down to me from my father in law, who in turn got them from his uncle. The cost of quality becomes quite low if you never need to replace!
 

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Older boat builders were called shipwrights. They may have brought over tools from Europe or England or used those that had been brought over earlier. Sharpening their steel tools would have been necessary no matter which, and goes back a few hundred years. Natural stones were used in grind stones which were made for the grain mills and for sharpening.

Quote:
I've been trying to decide what age hand cranked grinder my character would be using and have narrowed it down to one from 1900 (first pic) or one from 1920 (second pic). Would you have any perspective on whether an average boatbuilder in 1937 would likely have a 10+ year old grinder like from the 1920's or an even older one from 1900? How expensive were these for the average woodworker of that era? Would it be common to keep one of the older ones in working order for over 30 years if well taken care of? Would an average woodworker be able to make improvements or fix the workings?

I don't think the average woodworker as you say, would be building boats, but the sharpening equipment would be still be the same. Our family farm used the pedal grinder and hand grinder to sharpen tool on the farm, chisels, drills, axes and tools from the equipment that tilled the soil, harrows and drags, hoes, shovels and picks etc. There was a cast iron water container on the side of the pedal grinder, if I recall, to cool the tool's edge if it got too hot while sharpening.
The pedal grinder allowed the operator to use both hands to sharpen the tool.
Water cooled wheel:


somewhat related...

you might find some info here: http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt...1&b=31&xa=XE7ReVTaN0Ofro297cKHeg--,1376663444

You might ask your questions here:
http://forum.woodenboat.com/index.php?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Older boat builders were called shipwrights. They may have brought over tools from Europe or England or used those that had been brought over earlier. Sharpening their steel tools would have been necessary no matter which, and goes back a few hundred years. Natural stones were used in grind stones which were made for the grain mills and for sharpening.

Quote:
I've been trying to decide what age hand cranked grinder my character would be using and have narrowed it down to one from 1900 (first pic) or one from 1920 (second pic). Would you have any perspective on whether an average boat builder in 1937 would likely have a 10+ year old grinder like from the 1920's or an even older one from 1900? How expensive were these for the average woodworker of that era? Would it be common to keep one of the older ones in working order for over 30 years if well taken care of? Would an average woodworker be able to make improvements or fix the workings?

I don't think the average woodworker as you say, would be building boats, but the sharpening equipment would be still be the same. Our family farm used the pedal grinder and hand grinder to sharpen tool on the farm, chisels, drills, axes and tools from the equipment that tilled the soil, harrows and drags, hoes, shovels and picks etc. There was a cast iron water container on the side of the pedal grinder, if I recall, to cool the tool's edge if it got too hot while sharpening.
The pedal grinder allowed the operator to use both hands to sharpen the tool.
Water cooled wheel:
築地æ*£æœ¬åŒ…ä¸�ç*”ã�Žå®Ÿæ¼” Tsukiji Masamoto Knife-Sharpening Demo Session - YouTube


somewhat related...
Kikuichi Knife blanks first sharpening. - YouTube

you might find some info here: http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt...1&b=31&xa=XE7ReVTaN0Ofro297cKHeg--,1376663444

You might ask your questions here:
http://forum.woodenboat.com/index.php?
Hi there! I just read your post and wanted to clarify. I didn't mean to say that the character George, the "Boat Wright", was an average woodworker in terms of his skills but rather was of average income. Individual boat builders did not always have a commissioned job so they lived modestly. Most of his tools were inherited from his father because boat building is a trade and art form that had been kept up in his family from generation to generation. Thanks for the info on grinders, I've done extensive research and now I'm doing experiments with my own vintage hand cranked grinder that I purchased. I've decided that the "Boat Wright" in my book is using a grinder that is quite old, probably 50 years old or more by the late 1930's. I've been talking to grinder experts on various forums and it seems quite logical. Thank you for the video links, especially the Japanese grinding that huge knife, which my husband and I loved watching. Cheers!:smile:
Valarie Farnham
 
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