What is this Tool?

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Blog entry by Blake posted 08-09-2009 02:27 AM 6689 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I Picked up this little gem the other day. Its pretty cool but I don’t have a clue what it is.

  • Fits in the hand like a small pistol
  • Markings: J.D.C. on end of “pistol” and C. D. Osborne & Co. Newark, N.J on the end of the ruler.
  • The sharp end of the blade faces back so it would pull to cut.

At first I thought it was a marking gauge. But there is no flat surface to register against, and your fingers would get in the way.

What do you think???

-- Happy woodworking!

14 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3543 days

#1 posted 08-09-2009 02:30 AM

veneer cutter or marking gauge

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18247 posts in 3642 days

#2 posted 08-09-2009 02:31 AM

Looks like a leather tool for making belts or srtaps.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3840 days

#3 posted 08-09-2009 02:42 AM

I think you nailed it TopamaxSurvivor. Its a C.S. Osborne “leather draw gauge strap cutter.”

There are several of them on ebay.


-- Happy woodworking!

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3531 days

#4 posted 08-09-2009 02:43 AM

I wonder if C.D. was related to this family

C.S. Osborne & Co. (Incorporated) New Jersey, USA, Manufacturers of Saddlers’, Harness Makers’, Leather Workers’ and Leathercraft Tools, Catalogue reprint, publisher information unknown.

Well I see i’m a little late.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3928 days

#5 posted 08-09-2009 03:05 AM

Hey, Blake, I’ve got a couple of those!! The new Palo Alto wooden ones are a lot better.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3307 days

#6 posted 08-09-2009 03:22 AM

veneer strip cutter ,
maybe for leather too ?

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3851 days

#7 posted 08-09-2009 04:09 AM


-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3493 days

#8 posted 08-09-2009 05:24 AM

Cool looking tool, are they valuable? Cool collectible anyway….......

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4366 days

#9 posted 08-09-2009 05:25 AM

Another mystery solved.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3437 days

#10 posted 08-09-2009 06:20 AM

yes its a leather strap guage used them many times growing up. My grandfather was a saddle maker in oklahoma. He had a shop at the tulsa stockyards. The shop has moved now but is run by his grand sons.

View FordMike's profile


155 posts in 3436 days

#11 posted 08-09-2009 08:04 AM

My father worked in a old fashion sawmill in northern Cal. and the equiptment was run from a central shaft with leather belts of various widths and this tool was used to cut leather belts. cool tool Ford Mike

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3639 days

#12 posted 08-09-2009 08:10 PM

I never saw a tool like that before.

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3928 days

#13 posted 08-10-2009 03:09 AM

The C. S. Osborne Co. is very much alive and well. They manufacture all types of leather tools. This draw gauge may well be worth something more because it probably pre-dates C.S. Osborne. The U. S. Cavalry owned tons of these which were used by company saddlers. You can see a large collection of these in Sheridan, Wyoming at the Don King Museum at King’s Saddlery on Main street. There are also large collections of other leather working tools and saddles. If you happen to be in our area, don’t pass it up. It’s great and it’s free.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View GlennsGrandson's profile


442 posts in 2275 days

#14 posted 09-04-2012 03:57 AM

I just picked one of these up at a garage sale for $2 not knowing what it was.

It says C.S. OSBORNE & co. NEWARK, N.J. From what I’ve read it is indeed a leather cutter, aka draw gauge (

Mine has black japaning on the handle and the blade says C.S. OSBORNE & CO HARRISON N.J. The blade must have been a replacement.

On the opposite side of the measurements is it stamped MADE IN U.S.A., it’s stamped again U.S.A. in smaller letters, and then someone felt obligated to etch U.S.A. in it again…

It also measures out to 5”, most listed online only go to 4”.

What I understand is that the company moved from Newark to Harrison in 1906 and the first patent that they had on these tools was 1876 I believe. So with both of our tools they are at least 106 years old today. Most likely older. They seem to be averaging about $50 online regardless of the condition (obviously a bit more for better shape).

I think that your’s is probably older than mine. And your’s is just way more cool because it is wood and brass. I also am not exactly sure how this was used because as you can see in the link that I posted it as appears as both of our blades are in the wrong way.

Anyways, I am going to keep mine. I actually was using it as a type of marking gauge until I looked into what it supposed to be used for. I still might use it as a marking gauge, need to sharpen the blade up some. It works best as a marking gauge if you flip the bar upside down and keep the blade pointed down, then you have a square edge to ride along the edge of the wood. (As shown below)

Also, I believe mine is missing the gibs that go between the bar and blade and the thumb screws.
Great finds anyways, cool conversation pieces!

-- Grant - N Dakota

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