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What is this, axe heads


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The two outer ones appear to me to be felling axes, but the middle one is a mystery to me.

These were found on a farm site in Virginia, first settled in the 1730's

Any ideas, Alan, are you listening?

Geoff

170259333_10226396892255813_6642884039493600767_n.jpg 

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The one in the middle is a lathing hatchet.  Kind of like a shingling hatchet, but with a longer hammerhead end.  They were used to split and nail up lath (thin boards) that was used as the substrate to apply plaster over for interior walls.  Same as the more modern plaster-and-lath wall, but instead of buying pre-milled small lath, they used to split a thin board off a section of log cut to the correct interstud length.  The really early lath wasn't split all the way apart, and was pulled apart to open it up.  This is called accordion lath.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lath

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To add to the post, the felling axe on the left is ca. 1790-1830-ish, the one on the right is ca. 1850-1890-ish, and the hatchet is ca. 1820-1850-ish.  All professionally made.  

The difference between a lathing hatchet and a shingling hatchet is the width of the blade (shingling hatchets are wider) and the step ahead of the eye, which only occurs in lathing hatchets, as they were not used in the same way as other hatchets.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

The size and shape of the lugs, the general contour (flat on top or slight upsweep), steeled edge, thickness of poll, but most importantly size of the eye.  The earlier the head, the smaller the eye, in general.  I can't recommend these two books highly enough:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Museum-Early-American-Tools-Americana/dp/0486425606

 

https://www.amazon.com/Reverence-Wood-Eric-Sloane/dp/0486433943

 

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Thanks Alan! I just ordered both of them. It's always a pleasant surprise when books for one of my many niche interests are actually available and as reasonably priced in reprints as these are.

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