Tools for the job

Finch Foundry was one one the largest tool manufacturers in the south west and mainly supplied the farmers and miners who lived in and around Sticklepath.

At this time of the year, a variety tools made at the foundry were used by local farmers, thatchers and gardeners.  To give you an idea:

  • Grass hook - Grass hooks come in lots of different shapes and sizes, dependent on the user and what they needed them for, so were often made to order. The hook picture above is a particularl variant, probably used for cutting long grass. If you're wondering, the difference between a hook and a sickle, is that a sickle has a serrated blade.

  • Weeding fork - The Finch's also made some weird and wonderful tools which turned out to be quite useful. This one looks quite deadly, but only for weeds, as it's for lifting dock and thistle, in particular.  Weeds were getting so problematic during the 19 century that you could be fined if they were proved to have crossed your land boundary into your neighbours garden.

  • Thatchers shearing hook - The Finch's supplied tools for many different industries in the area, one of which was thatching. This particular hook is used by sweeping the blade across and towards the body, to gain a very flat finish and is available in both left and right handed variations.

  • Billhooks - these were and still are mainly used for pruning and lopping branches and other vegetation and are particularly useful for hedging. The design, size and shape vary widely depending on what they're going to be used for, as well as local variations.  At the foundry, a wide variety were made including the Devon and Bristol, as these were also made to order. Most of the billhooks made here had a small notch in the handle, where a leather strap could be attached so it could be held on the wrist.

See if you can find the ‘object of the month’ when you visit Finch Foundry.