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Anyone Recognize Those Tools?

Kurt K

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Hello everyone, hope you had a great Summer.


Recently a friend send me pictures of some tools she inherited from her father with the request to find out what they are used for.


I'm afraid, despite living here in Hong Kong, I was not yet able to find their use, and hope that someone here might recognize them for what they are.








Thanks in advance for any help, Kurt

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some of them could be lathe tools (for cuting small groves) but i dont think they are. they dont look like somehting that is used with wood as there isent any blade of any kind just a sharpend point. perhaps for some kind of stone chisles.


here are a couple of my ideas

perhaps used in doing stone carving

leather working could be desighned to leave hole in leather

maybe used by jewlary makers to scratch or etch metal or gems

used by glass makers to etch glass


couple of questions how long are they


what do the words on the handles say


do the end of the tools have a blunted surface like they had been struck by repeated blows

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Thanks Dan,


I was thinking of leather or bamboo working.


They are 14 inches overall with the metal between 2 to 3 inches.

There is no visible wear at the back-end of the tools.

Other wear shows scratches along the handles with grey/white powder on two of them and brown flecks on another that look like based on oily paint.


I will bring the pictures with me to work on Wednesday, then I will find out the meaning of the words.


Thanks again for your help.

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The explanation is I think much simpler. They are drills. The one that looks like a trident is 100% that. The slimmer ones I am nearly certain are also drills, for smaller holes. And yes, they are for wood (or/and bamboo, there will be no principal difference between the tools used for these two materials.)

To use them, they would have been twirled between the two palms, with pressure downwards.

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Unfortunately, most of the writing on the handles says only that they where made in Beijing and another place.

One of them though mentions that it is used as an awl.


Thank you Yuri, your explanation makes absolutely sense, because the father of my friend made instruments, so the tools could have been used on either of the given materials for that purpose.

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the top right tool in image one is the awl, the rest can be used as drills, scraper/tools for netsuke, bamboo or otherwise. They lead me to erring on the side or scrapers rather than drills because you can see the concave hollow cut into the flat non-cutting faces. Those concave hollows should normally go from the edge (or as close as you can get it) to the opposite faced edge, this means that its easier to sharpen as you are only sharpening the cutting edge instead of the whole face, and it also reduces the opportunity to convex those 3 flat faces on each tool. To cut these concave grindings in the flat face would have little effect if primarily used as drills.

The top awl also allows for you to drill a curved hole instead of a straight drill, with a wide edge like that and a narrow shank it is perfect for getting this effect if desired.

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