Hand Tools History Jim Hendricks Practical techniques

Jim Hendricks

You may have seen Jim’s name pop up sporadically when Wictor Kuc, (the owner of the website WK Fine Tools), announces a new post from him via Twitter. I think Jim must have some arrangement with Wiktor as a regular contributor. That is a very good thing, if like me, you have a love of traditional woodworking and the tools that are used.
I first met Jim very briefly at Richard Arnold’s Open Day last year. The day was so interesting, I got a bit carried away photographing all the fine tools and blogging some technique from Richard, that I didn’t put two and two together until I returned home and I realised I’ve read many a post from Jim on the UK Workshop forum for hand tools.
It’s very clear that Jim has some rare skills not only in retaining knowledge about the older tools and their makers, but he also excels in making those tools himself.
Take a glance at the page Wiktor has put up, showing Jim’s projects.
One of my favourites is the project showing how Jim recreates an original design for the classic 19thc English brace. Superb work.

Jim as led a very interesting life as you will see from the brief bio, but I’m sure we will now see a lot more woodworking now that he has decided to retire. (On the same project you will also see Douglas Coates’ ‘Ad-Vice’, which I blogged about earlier. (I have no affiliation with Jim or Douglas, I just want people to know these guys are out there.)
If you would like to contact Jim directly to ask him about his projects, you can get hold of him as his own website,


Help with a name?

Cock Lane
Can anyone please help me find out what this glorious-looking tool shop is on the right hand side of this picture? The picture was originally posted by @joeflanagan1 on Twitter. He posts some really beautiful pictures from 19thc London.
The picture is from around 1890, and it shows a few young ne’er-do-wells hanging around to relieve someone of the contents of their pockets. All well and good. But look to the right, a line of lovely braces, and on the window it mentions cabinet makers and tools.
The street is Cock Lane, (yes, if you’re already tittering, I know). If you think that’s funny, London street names get a lot worse.
The shop may well be fronting onto the adjacent street, I don’t know, it does appear to be No.25 though.
I really hope someone might be able to help, this really does look like a shop from the glory days.
Thank you.

Update: Quite a few people have been in touch with ideas. @peteri tweeted

@HackneyTools @joeflanagan1 are you sure this is cock lane(this is the giltspur end (link) nothing in trade directories too

The link shows this great-looking pub below, the ‘Fortune of War’. This pub does show the ‘Cock Lane’ sign on it’s wall high up there on the left. It also shows the Golden Boy Statue, mentioned by Bill Johnson, (below, in the comments section).

I’ve reproduced the map showing the area at the time, from the Pepys Small Change website. (Click to enlarge).

So, I’m still unable to find the name of the shop opposite the building in both of these pictures. I’m going to contact the excellent Bishopsgate Institute in London. If they manage to unearth anything, I will post the results.

Update: Stefan Dickers, the Library and Archives Manager at Bishopsgate Institute got back to me (and on Christmas Eve too, what a gent!). Thanks Stefan.

I’ve had a quick look for you (as we’re only open for a couple of hours today) and there was a Daniel Lovett, Carpenter, operating at 25 Cock Lane in 1894. The address then seems to disappear from the trade directories. There is also a different business operating at the address 10 years earlier which doesn’t really back up the ‘established 100 years’ claim in the window. Hmmm…
I’ll have a bit more of a dig in the New Year but I hope that’s of some interest.

Will follow this up in the new year, in the meantime will have to see if I can find more on this Lovett chap, as the ‘L’ on the main sign matches, so it could well be him, I guess.


Tool sales on the website

First post in a while, because I’ve been concentrating on setting up pages dedicated to selling tools on my own site. Ebay’s charges are getting pretty heavy, so I figure I’ll start migrating now. Over the next few months I’ll be adding items to my site, and seeing how things go. I’ll continue with eBay for some items, and will flag those up on the blog, whenever they go on. Happy 2013!

Frost & Barrett Griffiths H.Griffiths & Son

From the tool chest of Mr.S Harrington, cabinet maker.

You never quite know what you’ll find, when you open up an old tool box.

I purchased a tool chest recently, from a family member of a ‘Mr.S Harrington’. A lot of Mr.Harrington’s tools were stamped with his name, but one of the most interesting finds was buried right at the bottom of the chest, covered in dust. I love that Mr. Harrington kept receipts for such a number of the tools he purchased during his career. Here are some of the receipts, they make for interesting reading, in that beautiful copperplate writing of the age. What must it have been like to be served in such an establishment as ‘Frost & Barrett’, or ‘H.Griffiths & Son’, quite different to the service one receives these days, I expect.

Oo-er, looks like a visit from Mr.Frost is on the cards!

‘Iron for 2″ Stanley Shave with Hole’. Interesting that this receipt is from another location, ‘H.Griffiths & Co’. I also have a lot of moulding planes from Griffiths of Norwich, which were in Mr Harrington’s tool chest.

I would love to know which one of these chaps might be Mr S.Harrington, if indeed he is one of them.

If anyone can tell me which church this work was done for, I’d be really interested to know. Thank you.

Fenton & Marsden Measuring & marking Tool Makers

Fenton & Marsden slitting gauge

Fenton & Marsden slitting gauge
‘Fenton & Marsden’ slitting gauge

In the late 19th century, table saws weren’t that common. Your average craftsman was spending a great deal of his time cutting various pieces of stock to size, usually with a hand ripsaw. Following a line with a rip saw, even with good skills, usually meant the saw wavered a little as it followed the grain of the wood instead.

Slitting gauges took many forms, and many craftsmen made their own, but they all followed the general form of a blade, held in place by some sort of wedge at the end of a bar. Also running on that bar, was a moveable fence. The fence ran along the edge of the stock, adjusting the distance from the edge of the stock, to the blade.

A slitting gauge tended to be used on thinner stock where the blade could complete the cut right through, such as the thin stock used for the bottoms of cabinet drawers. But these tools also proved to be very helpful in scribing a good starting line on thicker stock for the saw to follow.

Fenton & Marsden slitting gauge
Original brass wedge holds blade in place


Fenton & Marsden slitting gauge
Fence-tightening screw is made of boxwood

I found this gauge in a car boot sale. It’s made by ‘Fenton & Marsden’, another excellent edge tool maker from Sheffield. It’s 9” long, is made of ebony, with a brass end and original brass wedge. It also has a tightening screw made of boxwood, which is really beautiful.

At Hackney Tools, we buy antique tools. If you have any old tools in good condition and you would like to sell them, please get in touch.