Lee Valley & Veritas
Woodworking Newsletter
 
  Volume 12, Issue 4 - March 2018    
 
What Is It?
What Is It?
 

There is one driving force behind those who collect large amounts of items tied to a particular discipline. It is the continuing desire for knowledge about that area in which the collector's attention is focused. For some, it is the hunt to fill a space on the top shelf; for others, it is the prestige of owning the best-known example.

In a perverse interpretation of the hunter-gatherer mentality, modern humankind has, in some cases, inserted assembled possessions in place of the normal survival foraging and tied that to one's place on the social scale. On the other hand, we could all just be nosey parkers who are intrigued with a good mystery.

 
What Is It?
 
When first shown this object, I thought "What the HE double hockey sticks" (note the Canadian content) is this thing? I get why it was selected – because of the cutting tool and perhaps a woodworker connection. It has a cutting blade that is advanced, much like the mechanism used by Preston, the British toolmaker from the past. Barrel-shaped and measuring 5/8" in diameter, the body is chromed or nickel plated. The blade for cutting is adjusted by turning a nicely blued screw held by a spring steel receiver not only placed into the inside of the tool body, but anchored by the handle. The wooden portion of the handle is an attractively turned piece of a fruitwood. At 4-1/2" long, it is somewhat diminutive. Assembly was definitely not for those with clumsy hands. The tool body is marked with "Brevete", "Sivan" and "Geneve".
 
What Is It?
 

When this tool was handed to me, they told me it was used for shaving chocolate. (By the way – who are the "they"? They seem to be everywhere and continually offering advice on subjects and items that can be neither proven nor refuted. Sort of a fake news thing.) The chocolate position was a bit of a problem because I could not envision how one would use the tiny shavings it would produce on anything but miniature cupcakes. There goes that idea. Well, here is my theory: I believe this tool is associated with the field of podiatry, an area concerned with studying and caring for the human foot. The tool was specifically designed to deal with calluses and corns that impeded the use of the foot or caused pain. It was meant for home use by individuals who performed their own personal grooming and maintenance.

D.S. Orr

D.S. Orr has been a collector, user and student of woodworking and metalworking tools and practices for more than 40 years. Now retired, he has devoted even more time to these endeavors.

 
 
 
 
     
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