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Old tool ID?

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  • Old tool ID?

    Hi guys. I have this tool that belonged to my husband's grandfather who was a carver and boat builder. Does anyone have an idea what this is? It is stamped :
    Goodell - Pratt Company
    Greenfield, Mass

    I have found the history on the company, seems the company started around 1888 then merged with Miller Falls Co. in 1931.

    I have had this around and have been curious to know what it is.

  • #2
    Re: Old tool ID?

    Hey Nancy, My Michael, who was a hardware/tool salesman for years, says he thinks its a caulking tool that was used to force the caulk or rope fibers between the planks -the hull area to add waterproofing -of the boat.

    He says to see if you can find Jamestown Boat Building Supply ... they sell a lot of steel and brass hardware plus a lot of tools for traditional boat builders. You might be able to find a new tool to identify yours. Also try any boat building museums or maritime museums for photos.

    As I type he is saying that the rope or fibers were soaks pitch or tar to waterproof the caulk. Also he is fairly sure it is not a 'hot' tool as a soldering iron because of the wooden handle.

    Let us know what you find out!


    Art Designs Studio:


    • #3
      Re: Old tool ID?

      bob squbrigg will know,
      stupid me i'd guess it to be for shucking oysters.


      • #4
        Re: Old tool ID?

        Looks to me to be an old sealing wax iron. Pre-1950, a lot of document envelopes were securely sealed with a hard red wax-like substance to deter and detect tampering of confidential material. My dad was photographer and his customer's envelopes were always sealed with this stuff. Then early on in my police career, we used to seal evidence containers this way to preserve the chain of evidence. Very seldom did we use the irons, though, just heated the wax with a match and dripped it onto the area we wanted sealed. When it got to the lab, the lab techs could verify that it had been unopened since we sealed it.

        That's my guess anyway!



        • #5
          Re: Old tool ID?

          Oh...Oh....I know this one!!! That is a caulking tool. It is used heated to seal the tar in deck seams! The claulking hemp is hammered into the seam in the traditional method and this iron is heated and seals tar or pitch over and into the hemp in the seam, rendering the seam watertight.

 pays to have a sailor around once in a while ....... we're more than just a pretty face and someone to pick up in bars or street corners!Smile

          Before they slip me over the standing part of the fore sheet, let them pipe: "Up Spirits" one more time.


          • #6
            Re: Old tool ID?

            Bob, I think you are right on this one! BUT, it's really stretchin my memory cells. Both my grandparents and my dad were involved in the photo studio, and I know that they used a tool exactly like that for slicking down the sealing wax. However, they also had a couple old wooden boats that we had to re-caulk every spring. I was just knee high to a grasshopper then, but I do remember hating that job. Pulling out all the old caulk then pounding in new oakum. We didn't seal with pine tar or pitch though, just some gummy commercial rolled caulking material, so maybe they purloined the caulking iron for sealing the wax at the studio.

            Never thought about caulking boats again till we moved up here along Lake Superior, and my brother-in-law had an old 30 foot wooden boat for fishing the big lake, and I got re-introduced to pounding in oakum. The "Boomerang" was a great boat! But what a lot of work every spring and fall.