Bill Care - Woodturner
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As a kid, I collected postage stamps, cigarette cards and all the usual stuff that small boys collect, graduating over the years to (amongst all sorts of other things) British military swords, silver and gold thimbles, antique and modern glass and at the moment, edged tools.  As this is such a vast area to collect in, I have limited my interest to axes and ignored planes, chisels, shaves etc.  I have always used axes as a woodturner enabling me to trim logs ‘in the field’ to fit in the back of the car or to fit under the band-saw in the workshop. As one of man’s oldest tools, axes have a great deal of history from the primitive hand held stone ones through to modern racing axes used in competition. 


I became fascinated by the wide variety of specialised axes made for craftsmen such as coopers, carpenters and wheelwrights as well as those used for felling trees and trimming logs and lopping heads off wayward monarchs and those that especially annoyed them. They have been used in battle for thousands of years, the most infamous probably being the Viking axe and the North American tomahawk and although axes have been largely replaced by the chainsaw, many people still have an axe kicking about the home to deal with the odd obstinate tree root.

The opportunity for research into the country smiths that made a small number of edged tools each year, particularly in Southern England (rather than the large companies in Sheffield and the Birmingham areas) is extensive and the exchange of information between collectors is heart-warming.  For those that are interested, I have included a picture of just a few of my axes ranging from medieval to early 20thC.  I would be more than happy to communicate with others interested in this subject.


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