The grease box story.
Chapter three: What is a grease box.
I admit this should perhaps have been the first post in this series…
Medieval Latin pyxis, from Latin, box, from Greek, from pyxos box (shrub).
First a list of the names I have met for this little fellow:
Grease box, grease pot, tallow pot, lard pot, carpenters grease box, joiners grease pot.
And these can be combined to even more versions, so do not get confused, it’s the same thing, except the trade of the user, or contend of the box.
I think I like the name box best, and then the first name must be either grease for all kinds, or the name of the grease inside: grease box, lubricant box, tallow box, lard box, wax box, bees wax box.
The pot name, I do not find proper, but perhaps since my language are not English, I relate more the word pot to a ceramic pot or a tin pot, where the tallow or lard was stored, or the one used on trains.
This is a tallow pot used to grease locomotives
The use of the grease box:
In some of the old English workshops they used to have a tallow (grease) pot, mounted as a little drawer under the workbench. (This I have seen in an old print from a workshop, but do not remember where, think it was French).
My guess is that that would have been not ordinary, but that the tallow would just be on the table top, in some sort of box or jar, since it was seen as nothing fancy, ‘just a lubricant’.
The old versions:
On the move, the grease could be brought in a little ‘box’ they could have in the pocket or tool box.
This is the box we call the grease box here, and I have seen several different old versions around the web, in more or less fancy finish.
I have seen old versions on the net in the shape of a drop or half yin yang.
Some that was just a little tin can with a lit.
And then versions that was square or semi square, but that looked to new to be vintage.
(I will be really happy for input here)
For the shape I think this has been a favorite, but that it has been the joiner or carpenters personal finish and choice of wood, that gave them their charm. Just like we see it today with the tool totes. And therefore we have only the few well made once left.
Most of them I guess would have looked something like this old French version you see on picture 9, since it was made fast, and did the job.
Look here in book Carpentry and Joinery for the House# by Francis Chilton-Young
The use of the grease:
The grease could be used grease up the sole of the hand plane, so it would offer less friction, and therefore you would use less effort. As a mean to preserve the wooden tools.
lubricate woodscrews, or to grease up tennons in timber frames (here in France), or that was supposed to be able to come apart later.
It could also serve as a lubricant for drawers or other moving parts.
The same as before, but also as a rust prevention on your metal hand planes, and on every metal surface in your workshop, such as the table saw or planner bed.
Also it excellent for metal screws in hard wood, to decrease the friction.
Best thoughts and a greasy smile,
The grease box in a blog series under this name, in this I try to explore the details, and to collect the inputs I already got on my posts, and blogs, so it will become the ‘Grease box story’ .
I will try to uncover:
The secret Abdel box, the names for the box, why use grease, what kind of grease, recopies of grease, the pocket box and the bench box, what countries are the grease box known in (from input), if possible how far back in history, what designs has been used, the Abdel / Roy Underhill secret box with drawings, the LJ grease box clubs models and list of members (please send me a mail if you are not mentioned when it comes)and more subject vill come as we go.
I will love to hear all kinds of input as I go, so feel free to post comments and info.
The blog will be a mix of facts and inputs, so I can of course not guarantee for the truth of all, but I’ll try and document the sources as well as possible. There will be no finish date to this blog, but it will be posted as it goes.
-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.