Mystery Tool!

A beautiful wooden tool, it looks like a plane; "A tool consisting of a block with a projecting steel blade, used to smooth a wooden or other surface by paring shavings from it." (Dictionary dot com)

A beautiful wooden tool, it looks like a plane; “A tool consisting of a block with a projecting steel blade, used to smooth a wooden or other surface by paring shavings from it.” (Dictionary dot com)

What is it?

A gentleman dropped by the Fredericton Region Museum office yesterday to see if I could help him identify his latest yard sale purchase.  A beautiful tool, we expect it’s a plane.  We both agreed that it is a stunning piece made with what appears to be bird’s eye maple.  It looks like a dual purpose tool with a plane on one side and some sort of groove maker on the other.  The odd feature of the plane is the curved shape of the tool itself and the curve on the blade.  I hope that you can see that in the picture of the blade that I took.

More information would be appreciated.  If you have any thoughts on the piece to share, please write them in the comments below.  Thank you!

Note the curve in the blade.

Note the curve in the blade.

The reverse side of the tool, perhaps this side creates a groove.

The reverse side of the tool, perhaps this side creates a groove.

The tool with a 12 inch (30cm) ruler to give an idea of its size.

The tool with a 12 inch (30cm) ruler to give an idea of its size.

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5 responses to “Mystery Tool!

  1. Jeanne Mance Cormier

    Cooper plane tool for barrel making

  2. Hi, it’s a Croze plane. It’s used to put a groove around the inside of a barrel at each end (to set the barrel heads into).

  3. So interesting!!

    Thanks for your help! I have never seen one but I’m glad that the patron dropped by to ask for my help and gave me the opportunity to explore the artefact. One of my ancestors was a cooper and probably owned one. I feel that I have taken a step closer to my own personal history.

    Cheers!
    Ruth

  4. I was going to say a coopers croze too!

  5. This just in from the Restigouche Regional Museum:

    Hi, Ruth,
    When I saw the first picture, I thought it was a croze, but with the others I had to check out Salaman, Dictionary of Woodworking Tools. Based on the discussions of cooper’s planes, I decided that this is a combination of two tools. The one with the narrow iron appears to be a croze, used for cutting the grooves that barrel heads fit into. The other with the wider, curved blade, looks like a cooper’s chiv plane (p. 317-319.

    Salaman wrote: “The purpose of the Chiv is to make a smooth surface in the form of a shallow depression near the top of the staves on which the croze groove will subsequently be cut. If this surface were left uneven, the croze groove would bot be equal in depth all around, and the cask would leak.”

    Salaman then goes on to discuss a number of types of chivs, including ones for wet casks and for dry casks, and related tools known as “gropers| and “Flinchers.”

    There is also a lengthy article on the croze. By the way, “croze” is used for both the tool and the groove it cuts.

    I suspect this was user-made. The wood choice is unusual, as birdseye is very hard to work.

    Bill Clarke

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