What is it?

One of the Men’s Sheds recently got in contact with me to try to help identify some tools that were in an old chippies toolbox.

Does anyone recognise what these are, and their purpose?  Either end of each is a lead sphere.

I don’t have a good answer, but it strikes me that they may have something to do with balance, and/or heat.  If one end heats up faster or hotter than the other, whether this is a trigger for what these are attached to, or a way or measuring differential temperature.

Anyone have a more knowledgeable answer?


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7 Responses

  1. Hi Stu, are these the only tools they put forward?
    If there are other tools in the box like, crank handled gouges, paring chisels and other unusual tools that would not appear in a chippies toolbox, then my guess is they are a Pattern-makers tool for rubbing fillets of putty into the wooden patterns they would have made for the foundry. I am a pattern-maker from the 60’s and 70’s and I had very similar tools in my tool box.

    • Thanks Dave – I’ve sent the reply back to them. Interesting idea. Pattern makers are some of the most talented woodworkers out there – shame that is really becoming a lost trade.

      Any idea why the second one would have the spiral 1/2 way along?

      • They both have balls at each end as a safety feature, if you pushed the rod minus the ball on one end, it could possibly puncture your hand. The one with the spiral midway is more likely to fit someones finger which would make it more comfortable to use.

        You are right, pattern-making is becoming a lost art as most work like this is done in China now.

        We had a saying at the company I worked for, B.H.P, Both Pattern-makers and Carpenters worked in the same shop. We claimed that a pattern-maker works to the nearest thousandth of an inch and a carpenter works to the nearest tree.


    • I have checked in the said tool box. There are a range of paring chisels so the pattern maker tool sounds correct.
      Thanks guys.
      Fassifern Community Men’s Shed.

      • Hi Murray…Good to see we have a solution to your query.
        Treat the tools with respect because they would have cost the owner a lot of money.
        I remember in the early 70’s, when I started my patternmaking apprenticeship, the tools cost me most of my wages each week, for up to a year. Even then, I did not have all of the tools and still had to add the most expensive to my tool chest. We were pretty upset about this, because the apprentice painters were earning the same money and had their brushes given to them. The company I worked for, B.H.P., then gave us a loan (interest free) so we could purchase our tools. I worked out one day I had spent upwards of $2,000 on my tools, not much you say. In the 70’s I only earned $32.00 a week at the time. So you can see it would have taken a long time to acquire all of the tools to do our work successfully.


        • Hi Dave
          I was an apprentice boatbuilder at HMNZ Dockyard (you there Stu ?) in the late 60s. On $13 per week tools were an issue. I still have them all today, and use most of them still.

          • I’m here, just quietly following the discussion in the background! Wish I was on the tools myself. Never wanted to be just a desk jockey, but here I am, driving a desk.

            Need to get an oil mister and a boiler going in my office, just to create the desired atmosphere!

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