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Working with Hands - James E. Price


 
  18th Century Estonian Breast Auger 1 of 2  

One day in November, last year I sat in the sun in 65-degree outside and tuned up a variety of boring and drilling tools that will be part of a demonstration in a few months. The weather was just too nice to work inside at my bench.

One of the tools I waxed is noteworthy, and I will share it with you in this post. It is a carved 18-Century breast auger that I have owned many years, and the previous owner told me at the time I purchased it that it came from Estonia. Lots of the tools in Estonia have a close affinity with those of Sweden, and this breast auger is no exception.

Most of the Swedish augers of this type are not chip carved and occasionally have a date carved into the stock. Like Swedish augers, this specimen has a spoon bit with a triangular flat tang, holdovers from Roman and Viking Times.

Not only is this auger is fun to use but it is pleasing to look. A new tool just does not feel like this one does. The first thing that enters my thought process when I pick up an 18th-Century Swedish brace is how small it is in comparison to the braces of England and America.

I have included photos of Swedish braces for your viewing and captioned each photo with relevant information about the photo subject.

Note the wonderful chip carving on the wooden body of this breast auger.
This tool measures 19 1/2 inches from the tip of the bit to the top
of the rotating breast pad.

This is a detailed photo of the lopsided spoon bit. It cuts on a clockwise rotation.

This is a detail of the back side of the spoon bit.


 
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