Friday, May 25, 2012

Unusual Tools: Hollow Auger

This tool was clearly designed to be held in a hand brace, although the tapered, 4-cornered shank has been rather expertly rounded off by hand by some previous owner, likely to make it fit in an electric drill.  It is marked "Hargrave" with the letter H in a circle as a trademark.  This identifies it as having been made by the Hargrave Company which, before 1925, was known as the Cincinatti Tool Company (founded in 1877).  This firm made a variety of tools but is best known for its clamps.  The company managed to survive until 1955, quite a feat because many other American hand-tool companies failed because they were unable to adjust to the change in industry from hand tool operations to assembly-line manufacturing techniques.  Hollow augers were tools designed to cut wooden tenons to a uniform size, and were widely used by those who made spoked wheels, chairs and ladders.  While hollow augers tend to be larger adjustable tools, this one looks like an inexpensive model to be used to cut tenons of a standard size.  It could also be a sort of plug cutter.  A very simple design, with the curved cutting blade being held onto the shaft by a steel ring.

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