Primitive Method – April Roundup

by Jamie Hall on April 30, 2010

It’s been a busy month for me. My library is growing fast, I’ve done almost all the research for my basic toolkit, and I’m about to get a quote for converting my outbuilding into a workshop.


Last month I was hungrily looking at lists of books, and I took the plunge, spending about £80 on five books through Amazon. And that’s just the beginning! My Amazon wishlist is three pages long already! The books I bought are:

  • Mappae Clavicula – A Little Key to the World of Medieval Techniques translated by C. S. Smith and J. G. Hawthorne
  • The Mästermyr Find – A Viking Age Tool Chest from Gotland by G. Arwidsson and G. Berg
  • Theophilus – On Divers Arts by Smith and Hawthorne
  • The Treatises of Benvenuto Cellini on Goldsmithing and Sculpture translated by C. R. Ashbee
  • Georgius Agricola – De Re Metallica translated by H. C. & L. H. Hoover

I’ve started the process of reviewing the books, but it’s slow going, because I do, of course, have to read them first. So far, I’ve done Theophilus and Cellini.


I feel a little silly, because I misunderstood some of the advice I was given, and ordered Agricola’s De Re Metallica when I should have ordered De Re Metallica, edited by Robert Bork. I hope you agree that it’s an easy mistake to make, and Agricola’s work is still interesting as it covers refining, smelting and similar processes – perhaps not directly useful to me, but very relevant to the subject.

I’ve written posts on various tools: Wiremaking Tools, Files, Gravers and Punches. I also put up a post on my tests for pickle. I’ve still got a lot of ground to cover with tools, like saws, polishing equipment, touchstones and many others (not forgetting safety equipment), but I’m going to start putting together a toolkit and converting my outbuildings to a workshop. I’ve done my first scavenging run for tools, at my dad’s workshop, and that has yielded quite a lot, although most of them need cleaning up. More on that next month.

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