Though you might not know it, there’s a whole world beyond your everyday spanner set. We’re talking about the kinds of weird and wonderful tools that you don’t come across that often. Unusual tools with strange names and even stranger uses. This article is going to look at the many weird tools from the past to give you a snapshot into how we arrived at today’s modern tool technology.
From strange tools from the medieval period to simply weird tools with weird names there are countless oddities that deserve mention. Take a look!
Okay, so you’ve probably seen this one before.
One of the most recognisable tools from the ‘olden times’ is probably the scythe. Although it’s perhaps less recognisable because of the (significant) impact it had on medieval agricultural practices, but because it’s traditionally wielded by the Grim Reaper.
The scythe really did revolutionise agriculture in the Middle Ages, as it harvested grain much better than the previous sickle. It sped up production and contributed to further streamlining of agriculture and was essentially a progenitor to the concept of industrialisation. It gave credence to the idea of how processes that had gone unchanged for decades could be changed to become more efficient and cost-productive.
Egg Beater Drill (yes, you heard it right)
Taking its name from the kitchen utensil, the egg beater drill has a very similar mechanism and is an alternative for tradespeople and DIYers who don’t want (or are not able) to use an electric drill. Maybe you’re limited for storage and cannot take a bigger electric drill with you, or you prefer its compact and low-key handling.
Admittedly, they’re not as fast as electric/cordless drills but egg beater drills are still a favourite for many people. DISCLAIMER: don’t use one to beat your eggs, it won’t work.
Flat Bastard File (again, you heard correctly)
“Pass me the flat bastard file, please” is a perfectly agreeable thing to ask, believe it or not. The unfortunately named flat bastard file is a tool to shape and file down metal, and wins the crown as far as weird tool names go. It can sharpen all kinds of instruments like spades and shovels, and works using a dual row of teeth which are offset from each other at an angle.
The Spud Wrench
A spud wrench is a multi-purpose tool and it has nothing to do with potatoes. On one end is a wrench as you’d expect, and the other end narrows into a drift pin shape which you poke into two holes that are misaligned. The spud wrench helps realign the holes to make them level again.
This is just about the coolest saw you’ve ever seen. The Ryoba saw is lightweight and features the kind of ergonomic innovation that we’ve come to expect from Japanese craftsmanship. The Ryoba is a classic piece of Japanese woodworking – a two-sided hand saw with rip teeth on one side (this cuts in the direction of the grain) and cross-cut teeth on the other side (for against the grain cutting).
Looking somewhere between a spanner and a Stanley knife, a plugging chisel is a little masonry tool which removes deteriorated mortar from walls (which, as you can imagine, is quite hard to do without the proper equipment).
This tool has been in use since the earliest days of agriculture and has been adapted countless times since then. In its current iteration, a hay hook looks a bit like a horror movie prop but is in fact still very useful for carrying heavy and difficult to manage bales of hay.
There are many vintage hay hooks on the antique tools market which are worth a pretty penny should you find one. If this is something you’re interested in, take a look at our vintage tools guide for more.
Macaroni Tool (we saved the best till last)
Contrary to popular belief, a macaroni tool has nothing to do with your favourite mac and cheese dish. Instead, it’s a part-chisel part-sculpting tool that can be used for similar purposes by woodworkers and sculptors alike. It’s discreet and nimble enough for intricate work, while the carbon steel exterior takes on even the toughest of tasks.
How are you for tool storage?
Whether you have an antique tool collection or simply a bunch of uncommon tools that have very specific uses, you should ensure that they are stored safely and securely. With our DIY Custom Foam service, you can purchase foam for toolboxes sized up to your exact required specifications. Our Workshop service may also be of interest!
All you do is tell us your required sizings via our calculator page and we’ll give you an instant quote. Simply complete the order and we’ll send your tool inserts out posthaste. For any custom foam cases enquiries, you can get in touch with us here.
If you enjoyed our guide to weird tools from the past, and you would like to learn more about tools and the tool storage process, visit our blog. The following resources may be of interest:
- What kind of foam is used in tool boxes?
- The DIY gadgets we’re most excited about
- The best DIY brands for beginners and professionals alike