Sunday, 14 April 2013

To Every man A Gimlet.

To every Man, A Watch-Coat,
                           A Musket and Bayonet,
                           An Hatchet,
                           An Hammer,
                           An Hand-saw,
                           A shod Shovel or Spade,
                           A broad Hoe,
                           A narrow Hoe,
                           A Gimlet,
After my previous post on settler's supplies and tools I decided to do some research on the GIMLET. Wood screws were made by hand using files to cut the threads in the early to mid 18th century and I could not imagine these settlers carrying wood screws. So what did they need a gimlet for I asked myself. I immediately thought of wooden pegs being the most likely item, but had never heard of a gimlet being used for this purpose. As it turns out I was right; the gimlet was used for making holes for nails, wooden pegs, and in one case at least for the string to lift a door latch. Here then is what I found. Not all primary, but enough info to convince me I was right.

I made the handle for this gimlet this afternoon. This handle made from wattle wood.

Detail of the end peened to secure the bit in the handle.

Handle found in 18th century shipwreck.

Replicated hand forged wrought iron nails.

18th century hand forged nails.

 When you start thinking about how you could use a gimlet in a wilderness survival situation, you realise how many tasks there could be that would benefit from the use of the small 18th century hand drill. any construction or repair that requires a hole to thread cordage through or to insert wooden pegs or pins. Knife handle repair, gun stock repair, trap making, loom making, powder horns; I am sure you can think of more.


Gorges Smythe said...

I see you have one of Sloane's books. So have I; they're excellent.

Jenny said...


Have you seen Doddridge's comment on making a loom for woven belts and straps?

Young as I was, I was possessed of an art which was of great use. It was that of weaving shot-pouch straps, belts and garters. I could make my loom and weave a belt in less than one day. Having a piece of board about four feet long, an inch auger, spike gimlet, and a drawing knife, I needed no other tools or materials for making my loom. It frequently happened that my weaving proved serviceable to the family, as I often sold a belt for a day's work, or making an hundred rails. So that, although a boy, I could exchange my labor for that of a full grown person for an equal length of time.

I've always wondered what those looms he turned out so quick looked like!

Vieuxbois said...

Hi Keith,

I always have a set of gimlets in my haversack. Simple tools, but so useful. Mine are all steel. They are perfect for drilling little holes by hand in the bush without your garage pistol-grip corded drill.
I hate taking the risk to damage the edge or to break the tip of my good knife on some hard woods, or horn, bone, fabrics with dirt, soil or sand, etc..

It's just curious that they don't talk too much of them in the bushcraft/survival community.


Le Loup said...

Thank you so much Jenny! I had this quote & lost it. Could not remember where I found it! Much obliged Jenny.
Regards, Keith.