Archive for the History of Tools Category

Civil War Era Carpenter Tools

Posted in History of Tools on February 23, 2011 by vetopropac

The Civil War era carpenter was often a traveling tradesman. He was a salesman, an architect and a journeyman all at once. Carrying his bag of tools from job to job, he often made his own boards from wood he had timbered himself. Occasionally, his customer supplied materials, room and board while he was working. The Civil War carpenter would often carry his bag of tools from job to job.

Braces and Drills

Braces are tools to hold drill bits. Drills used gears instead of a hand crank and were typically used for more specialized purposes.

Levels and Inclinometers

  • Levels used during the Civil War were very similar to the levels of today. Their function is just as their name implies–to ensure that an object is level. Inclinometers measured the angles of a slope and looked like a mantel clock with a huge base.
  • Planes

  • Planes were used to smooth floors and door panels, eliminating the risk of splinters. Planes were made of wood. During the Civil War era, the wood was of a high quality. Rosewood, mahogany and ivory were popular choices. In the mid to late 1860s cast iron-bodied hand planes began to be produced.
  • Rules

  • Rules were the ancestor of our rulers. They measured objects but were generally flat. In the 1860s folding rules were produced.
  • Miscellaneous Tools

  • Saws of the Civil War period were much like the saws used today. There were many designs for saws. Each type was designed for a specific use or to be used with specific materials, Carpenters also used chisels, axes and knives.