If you are a fan of crafting or all-things ancient you might be pleased to know that there are some ancient crafts making a comeback. These crafts were used for hundreds, if not thousands of years to make intricate or sturdy items. We’ve now seen a resurgence in these crafts that help us get a glimpse of those simpler times.
Let’s take a look at just a few of those ancients crafts that are finding their way into 21st century life:
Every single village in England once had a wood turner who worked on a polelathe. A polelathe was used to make wooden bowls and plates and this practice was used up until the 1700s.
A polelathe was made from posts and timber beams and drove a sapling that was anchored at its base. Some cord was wrapped around a chuck that would be hammered into the wood that was being turned. Pushing down on the treadle that was attached to the cord ensured that the chuck turned. This ensures that a hook or a chisel shaped the wood.
Blacksmiths used the heat of a fire to forge iron and steel. Often confused with metalsmithing, blacksmithing involves using an anvil, hammers and fire to shape and join steel and iron. This method is used to create curtain poles, jewelry, fire irons and much more.
A small forge is needed so that the metal can be heated up to 1,832 Fahrenheit. A anvil along with bending and cutting tools and used and slotted into the anvil. Other tools are used to create a variety of designs. While it can take many years to perfect the skills required for blacksmithing, the wait is always worth it.
Dry Stone Walling
Dry stone walling was used in Britain until the middle of the 17th century. There are currently approximately 125,000 miles of these walls in Britain. In fact, some of these walls date back more than 5,000 years. The walls were built when the Enclosure Acts came into place and they were looked after very well. However, there is very little need for these walls as other materials can now be used, even if the end product is not quite as attractive.
Big base stones are laid first and in a shallow trench. Then on top, large and flat stones are placed. On the very top of the dry stone wall you will find stones sitting upright. The tool that is used to create these walls is a sharp-edged hammer. However, many wallers try not to cut stones at all.
Dry stone walling is undoubtedly hard work but the walls end up looking beautiful and the result is a wall that has the ability to last for hundreds of years.
Many new walls have been built in Britain and other countries over the last few decades. This is due to a resurgence in the craft that seems to breathe new life into often neglected areas.
In the United States, dry stone walls are often referred to as “Stone fences” or “Rock fences”. They are typically found in areas that have rocky soils. These areas are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and New England. Other areas where you will find these walls/fences include Virginia and the Napa Valley in California.
image credit: Ancient Crafts Art_of_DK/shutterstock