Museum tools back to life #1: Spoon and reamer augers - one from France one from Denmark

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Blog entry by mafe posted 12-05-2016 09:06 PM 6576 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Museum tools back to life series Part 2: Hook tools for pole lathe - blog »

Spoon and reamer augers
museum tools back to life

The summer 2015 I was at a marked with some friends, there were a guy selling tools, he had gotten his hands on a museum that was closing down and so he had some interesting things, I bought a few, just the once I needed… Laugh.
The reason I did not buy too many, was that there were worm in all the wood and I don’t bring that into my workshop shop, if I do, they have to get new wood or a treatment if I judge it possible.

Here they are, the museum tools.
Spoon auger, reamer and two old pole lathe turning tools hooks.
In this part I will restore the spade auger and an old French reamer / coppers auger (not on this picture) I got from E-bay some time back, but don’t remember the details.

The spade drill have a long history, here: Study of a man using an auger, from The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin, Albrecht Dürer, ca 1496.
But also my Viking roots used this tool, when they were building their beautiful ships.

First step is to take some measures, also I put a folding ruler next to it and takes pictures from all sides.
Since it is a former museum piece I want to be respectful to the original design, but not into exact copy, we have to remember these tools were made by hand.

It’s clear to see that wood bugs have been having a party and a feast dinner here…

OK, I think you get it, I took about 20 pictures and used them during the restore.

So now I could take it all apart and throw the wood into the wood stove.

Ohhhhhh yes of course I also took notes on the dimensions.

Almost sad to see that fine old iron without it’s handle.
Makes me realize how important it is that we keep them useful and in a working condition.
(On the taper you can see the museum numbers).

Marking the centre.
So I find some wood, had some round relatively hard wood laying in the scrap, the pole of an old parasol.
Yes this is not original and I really do not care. ;-)

Then roughly marking the main measures.

Cutting into the right dimensions by each mark.
Like this I have the rough measures and can be more playful from there.

Handle and body are defined, I go close to the end but leave enough to finish up.

Now time to play and try to make some fair hollows and rounds.

Same tour in the other end.

Then sanding.

Grits 80-100-18-320-600, dust

Now for the dilemma… Should I dye it or just give it a new handle?
I choose to dye and make it look old and used even I feel this is not the correct way.
I do it for two reasons, one is to do the challenge and second because I want it to fit in with all my old tools.

Dye, Danish oil, polish and wax.

Not to bad I think but still looks like new looking old…

I also make a second version for my old French taper.
Since it came with no handle, I play over the same theme.

Next step is to fit in the tools.
To drill down the centre I use a centre block like this I am sure to get it right.

First calibrating.

A step drill and what ever different tools to get close to the shape of the tool.
Here I am working on the old French.

Heating the metal, removing an old washer and straightening it out again.

For the spade auger, it is a wee more complex.

First a round hole.
And a Christmas beer.

Grrrr I forgot to back it up…
Well no problem, this will just add some charm.
As you can see I make a slot under the hole.

Cleaning it out with different tools.

I just clear up the mess and like this we have a base.
A problem is just a chance to see things in a new light.

It seems to fit.

Yeps, happy I am.

Time to make the wedge.
It’s tuned to math the original.

The wedge shape made with a chisel.

We have a fine fit.

Almost too lucky, it fits perfect.

Time to give it charm.

That’s it, also the mistake are now looking as if it was always there.

For me this is beautiful, so I am pleased.
Notice the wood now looks older, I used a burning in my forge and then oil wax and so on, finally I am happy.

Back to the French.

First making a hole with chisel.

Up to where we have a perfect fit.

Heating and shaping a washer.

Then the tang goes through the body and the washer.

Finally hammering the end until it makes a firm hold.

Another beautiful old tool got a new handle, again I am pleased, I think the handle suits the reamer.

My guess is that it had it’s hay days in France as a tap auger, used for making holes for the taps in wine barrels.

Where is Wally?
I think they fit right in.

Ok, better get back to the wood.
(This photo is by Danish photographer: Kamilla Albek, she visited my shop and took a series of pictures).

Hope it could inspire others to bring back life to old tools.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

12 comments so far

View madts's profile


1953 posts in 3354 days

#1 posted 12-05-2016 09:12 PM

Mads: Stop having fun.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25940 posts in 4120 days

#2 posted 12-05-2016 11:52 PM

Excellent work, my friend. I am always amazed at your wall of tools!! All where you can see them!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View lew's profile


13317 posts in 4770 days

#3 posted 12-06-2016 02:16 AM

Wonderful trip down the path to new handles. I am truly amazed how the new handles look. You really made them appear much older than they really are!!

I love that last picture! Would you mind if I shared it with some woodworking friends?

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3810 days

#4 posted 12-06-2016 08:00 AM

Another great example of restoring a traditional old tool. Thanks for another informative tutorial Mads.
I have to agree with Lew’s comment about the last photo. That one would look good on a calendar.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View murch's profile


1380 posts in 3639 days

#5 posted 12-06-2016 10:33 AM

A hook auger – what a great idea. Loving that last photo.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

View Schwieb's profile


1915 posts in 4476 days

#6 posted 12-06-2016 11:16 AM

Nice post Mads as always

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3871 days

#7 posted 12-06-2016 01:23 PM

What a great result Mads, it’s always a shame when the worm gets the wood. At least it gave inspiration.
Nice to see the metal shop in action as well

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View SmallTime's profile


16 posts in 2194 days

#8 posted 12-06-2016 01:35 PM

Excellent restoration Mads!

View Brit's profile


8303 posts in 3857 days

#9 posted 12-06-2016 02:32 PM

I must confess I got a little hard looking at that last photo, not because you’re in it Mads, but because I know how much love, time, effort and knowledge has gone into your wall of tools. Thanks for bringing us along.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Brit's profile


8303 posts in 3857 days

#10 posted 12-06-2016 02:53 PM

Wait! – This is blog is only #1? You mean there’s more?

Cancel my appointments in case Mads posts #2.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Roger's profile


21051 posts in 3819 days

#11 posted 12-07-2016 01:13 PM

You’re a master re-maker Mads. The last photo is very cool. It looks like a painting

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View PioneerRob's profile


47 posts in 2627 days

#12 posted 07-15-2017 04:29 PM

Hi Mads, I haven’t talked to you for a long time. Nice post. I collect and interpret nineteenth century woodworking in Ontario Canada. The township that I’m in was mostly influenced by English, Scottish, and Irish woodworking. I’m really interested in continental woodworking too, which had a big influence in other parts of Ontario and Canada.

I’m curious about the folding ruler. Do you know its age? Do you know how long metric folding rulers have been made? I’ve only encountered historic rulers in inches.

Also, what dye did you use for your handle, it looks so good. I have a nice old brace missing its sweep handle. I’d like to make a new one to match the head.


-- Rob, Ontario

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