Yesterday in a post (Facebook-Unplugged
Woodworkers) I mentioned a "mullet" that I used to test the
thickness of the bottom board and sliding lid of a case.
Apparently the term was one many of you had never heard before
in the context of joinery.
I learned what a mullet was from some of my old mentors who had
been finish carpenters and cabinetmakers. The first time I heard
the term and saw the actual tool made and used was 1957 when
Harvey Johnson, Chester Pierce, and my pa made a little case to
hold a basketball trophy our team had won at The Pratt School
where I got my primary education.
Harvey was a professional woodworker and did the joinery. I got
to watch the process of making a sliding back for the case so
the trophy could be easily put in and took out. Harvey said we
needed a mullet and made one to gauge the rabbeted margins of
the back board. Then, I, at the tender age of 13 years, got to
see him use it.
After the questions yesterday, I began to think that Harvey had
made the word up and since he could not read nor write, thought
he might have misinterpreted what he had heard and maybe the
word was "gullet".
Last night I did some research and after several Web searches
finally scored. "Mullet" is the name for a carpenter's thickness
gauge of the kind I make and use. The name comes from the French
word, "molet" which is a small piece of wood with a groove cut
in, which the carpenter brought to the panel to check the
thickness". Another French word, "moulet" has the same meaning.
So here's to you, Harvey. You were right. To read more about
hit this link. A nod to Chris Hall for getting this
information out in 2012.
The top mullet is one I have from years ago. I made a fancy one
a few years ago with mother-of-pearl and piano key ivory inlays.
This is a top view of my mullets for gauging 1/4th inch
Tip of the slanted end of my mullet.