Week seventy: QUANNET (probability 13376), by David Sutton

A QUANNET is a flat file used as a plane; the etymology is unknown.

Now when it comes to actually using tools I must confess I rank well below the most cack-handed chimpanzee. This is a man who once took a whole year of school woodwork lessons to make a kettle-stand, consisting of two pieces of wood at right angles joined by what I believe is technically called a dovetail joint, or possibly a mortise-and-tenon, or these may be the same thing; at any rate with a good helping of glue it just about did the job. But that doesn't stop me taking a pleasure in the terminology of 'all trades, their gear and tackle and trim', as Gerard Manley Hopkins put it in 'Pied Beauty'.

So, for a small selection of further words relating to tools, we have from native sources STADDA, a comb maker's double-bladed handsaw, VEINER, a tool used in woodcarving, RABBLER, a scraping tool for smoothing metal, and FILLESTER or FILLISTER, a RABBET plane used in making window-sashes. Scots gives us ELSIN or ELSHIN, an awl, and EATCHE, an adze. French gives us GRATTOIR, a flint scraper, RACLOIR, also a scraper, BURIN, an engraver's tool, TRANCHET, a chisel-shaped flint implement of some mesolithic and neolithic cultures, and OUSTITI, a tool for picking locks (not to be confused with a OUISTITI or WISTITI, which is a kind of marmoset, although it has the same origin). And to finish on a more exotic note, the Indonesian TJANTING is a small tool used for applying hot wax to fabric in batik.


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