Feature 5 – Tools

Section 8 Feature 5 Tools
Two views of a whetstone (Cat # 8.51.27) and a ferrous metal triangular file fragment (Cat # 8.50.12). Illustration of similar type of file from local file works business receipt (Private collection).

Also of interest are portions of two hand tools recovered from this feature. One of the tools appears to be made of sandstone and represents the mid-section of a large oilstone—or whetstone—which would have been used to sharpen kitchen knives and razors (Cat # 8.51.27). This example was heavily damaged via exposure to fire, and one side is marred with a large brown area and blister-like eruptions. Some of the oilstones illustrated in the Sears, Roebuck catalog for 1902 were shown in wooden housings. 1 The burned surface on the recovered stone suggests that it might have been partially contained in wood.

The other tool is a fragment (3.5 inches in length) of a ferrous metal file that is triangular in cross-section (Cat # 8.50.12). This type of file was often called a “saw file,” and as the name suggests, it was used for sharpening saw blades. 2


  1. Sears, Roebuck, Sears, Roebuck Catalogue, 1902 Edition (New York, NY: Republished by Crown Publishers, Inc., 1986), 506.
  2. Sears, Roebuck Catalogue, 505.