Tools and techniques

The conversion of timbers to useful sizes for joinery has always been of prime concern to woodworkers. In the early period, oak logs were converted by splitting with a beetle and wedge, or riving iron, or by being sawn in a saw pit. The first method was quite successful as it did not waste anything in sawdust and the split timber followed its natural grain. It was also less labour-intensive than the two-man saw pit. It did not, however, give such a level surface and this unevenness may have suggested the linenfold motif. For levelling processes the adze was used. During the 1560s the first wooden bow fretsaw was introduced to enable joiners to cut small pieces for inlaying. For working mouldings, a simple scratch tool was used.

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