1 July 2019
Our feature this month is about Tudor shipwrights. I can’t help a wry smile, because the techniques they practised then and the tools they used persisted well into the 20th century. Indeed, during World War II, the ‘land girls’ were sometimes involved in the felling and conversion of timber, backbreaking work at the best of times, only made easier by the use of large circular sawmills, but otherwise tools such as axes were more basic and traditional. Some years ago I met an elderly gentleman at a woodworking show who had trained as a coffinmaker and regularly had to work a two- man pit saw, a cloth cap being necessary protection from the sawdust constantly falling on him as the unlucky man in the pit.