Group of bronze tools for woodworking

From Thebes,Egypt
New Kingdom, around 1300 BC

A carpenter's tool 'box'

The range of tools used for woodworking in ancient Egypt is comparable to those used today. Logs could be split or trimmed with an axe consisting of a rounded blade set into a wooden handle. Lengths of wood were cut or shaped using a saw with its teeth set so that it cut on the pull rather than the push of the blade. There were many different sizes and shapes of adze with which to shape, plane and smooth the wood. These were used in conjunction with wooden mallets. Small holes could be bored with bradawls, but larger ones required drilling with a bow drill, the bow rotating the metal bit through the wood.

Some of the tools in this group were found together in a basket in a Theban tomb of the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC). This was the equivalent of a carpenter's toolbox. These tools enabled craftsmen to produce strong and elaborate boxes, furniture and coffins. Techniques such as dovetailing, mitre joints, tenon and mortice, wooden dowels were all known and extensively used. Pins and glue were used to fix inlays.

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More information

Bibliography

S. Quirke and A.J. Spencer, The British Museum book of anc (London, The British Museum Press, 1992)

Dimensions

Length: 47.000 cm (bow drill)
Height: 5.700 cm (fire stick)
Diameter: 5.100 cm (base)
Diameter: 5.100 cm (base)
Length: 47.000 cm (bow drill)
Length: 47.000 cm (bow drill)
Length: 47.000 cm (bow drill)

Museum number

EA 6046, 6040-43

YCA62464;YCA1528;YCA62466;YCA62467;YCA62470

Location

Find in the collection online



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