How long does a type of tool continue to be made and used
after its invention?
Members of this group are really interested in planes and
use them as have woodworkers for the past 2,000 years.
Through time, planes have evolved thanks to improvements in
metallurgy and innovations on more efficient ways to hold a
blade in a stock but the basic concept of a chisel captured
securely in a wooden or metal body still remains.
Other tools also have deep roots in the past. A few months ago I
wrote a post about a Bulgarian combination auger consisting of
three different sizes of bits on a single Y-shaped piece of
forged iron. It was the only one I had ever seen and I set out
researching it and searching for more specimens.
I found them in different areas of Bulgaria and assembled a
collection of five examples of this strange tool. In the canyons
of my mind I realized I had seen an illustration of such a tool
I finally found it, a depiction of such a tool in The Codex
Löffelholz written in Nurnberg, Germany in 1505. If it were in
use in 1505, it is likely that the “tri-auger” had been in
existence even earlier in time.
What we see in Bulgaria is a continuation of the forging and use
of this tool well into The 20th Century. It was probably more
widespread in Eastern Europe during the last 500 years and
ceased being made and used except in The Balkans.
This is the tri-auger
illustration in The Codex Löffelholz dating to the year
It is a very useful tool and the user never has to worry about
his augers being separated his shop or on a job site. No matter
which auger you use, the other two form the two handles for
These two augers date from the 19th Century
and came from Dobrich, Bulgaria.
The central auger came from Montana, Bulgaria and
the other two from Karlovo, Bulgaria.
This photo illustrates the largest bit on each of the three
They approximate 1/2 inch in diameter.
This photo shows the middle-sized bit on each of the five
They approximate 1/4th inch in diameter.
This photo shows the smallest bit on each of the augers.
They approximate 5/32nds of an inch in diameter.
It is most interesting that in Bulgaria
the three sizes of augers are found in “sets” consisting of
three separate bits with T-handles.
James E. Price