Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mystery Tool

Well, after the last mystery object played itself out, there was a request for a new one.

So, for Philip, and anyone else who likes a mystery, here it is:

Approximately 5 1/2" long and... has a storage compartment in the handle.

It's very well made with some nice details such as the tiny decorative marks on the ferrel and the rings on the handle. The only other markings I could find were a somewhat cryptic group of awl pricks on the butt end which I am fairly certain spell out "B.H." - they were definitely done by hand and not too neatly, so I don't think they are the maker's mark, but rather a previous owner.

At first I was thinking it was some kind of multi-tool, but there is no chuck, so any attachments would need to hook onto the loop somehow. Also, the storage compartment is pretty small, more along the lines of drill bits etc., and I don't see how those would hook onto the loop anyway.

Any ideas?


  1. It makes me think of my other hobby, viking age reenactment, small hollow turnings with a cap, often made from bone, have been found in viking age graves, inside they have found an assortment of sewing needles, I would think this piece has some connection to needles and possibly leather work.

  2. I agree with Derek, it was used to hold needles for repairing sails. It is designed to be worn on the sailors rope belt.

  3. bottle opener for extremely small bottles? :)

    any chance you could post another picture that would show scale?

  4. Looks like a free standing handle that fits a round axle with two sides flattened at the end. As the tool has a narrow metal head, the axle is in metal. The handle made probably small movements, less than a full turn. Surprisingly the handle looks small compared to the axle diameter, so probably it was something completely different.

  5. Derek - Interesting idea!

    Anon. - Hmm. I was thinking the hole had that semi-rectangular shape for a specific purpose. Seems a hole for a rope would be round - easier to make and all that.

    Adrian - Did they ever make Tabasco with pry-off caps? I'll try to get a few more shots up soon.

    Damien - Like a wrench? I like that idea. I'll take a closer look at the metal end for wear patterns...

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