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Not a trowel

I'd like to know what this is...

I acquired this tool in a mixed lot with some other tools, most of which had themselves been bought in mixed lots at auction, so it comes with no clues about its origins. It's iron or steel and has a wooden handle which might be a fruitwood. The stem extends right through the handle and is riveted over as it emerges at the tip.

The overall length is seven inches. The 'blade' is 3/4" wide and 2" long. The blade part is rounded at the tip, 3/16" at the middle, tapering down to 1/16" thick at the edge. It's reasonably smooth and is not sharpened in any way. It's quite neatly and delicately made, with a couple of little beads on the handle and a brass ferrule. There are no markings at all. The handle has traces of old putty, which suggests that it has been used to smooth putty - but I'd be surprised if that was its original purpose. There is no springiness to it at all, so I don't think it's any sort of trowel.

I thought it might possibly be heated up in use - there's enough mass for it to keep warm for a while - and looked through Salaman's Dictionary of Leather Working Tools, in case it was some sort of burnisher, but could see nothing similar in there.

I'd be grateful for your thoughts, wild guesses, or definite identification.

Andy T, Webmaster

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