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This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
1900, 20th century
17.1 x 134 cm
New Brunswick Museum
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum

Keys to History:

Shipbuilding tools remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. They included hand planes, saws, chisels, braces and bits, scribers and callipers. Following wooden patterns, sawyers shaped the frames using large pitsaws, which were eventually replaced with the advent of steam sawmills in urban areas. When the curve of a timber was too tight for the pitsaw, it was cut with a hewing axe and smoothed with an adze. Block planes were used to smooth and pare down wooden surfaces. A pin maul is a specialized long-handled hammer used to drive trunnels, spikes, bolts and rivets. Augers of various diameters were used to drill holes in wooden frames and planking so that trunnels and bolts could be inserted.


Crosscut saws were used for cutting wood across the grain. Jack planes are long, heavy planes used for rough work.


This saw was found in a cottage belonging to the donor's grandfather, near Kelly's Lake, in southern New Brunswick.


During the 19th century, New Brunswick shipbuilders used tools that were very similar to those used by European craftsmen more than 300 years earlier.


Ship's carpenters used a wide variety of tools for cutting, measuring, shaping, joining and finishing wood.

© Musée McCord Museum