More tools at Skokloster Castle

My last post about the tools at Skokloster had a lot of pictures of very nice tools and the unfinished hall in the Castle. Skokloster has a lot to offer if you are interested in 17th century. Fine furniture, paintings, glass, roof construction or weapons, just name it, and you will find it at Skokloster. That is almost true ;-). I would just like to show some of the lathes and lathe tools at the castle. The first owner, Carl Gustaf Wrangel (1613-1676) where not only rich and powerful, but also a passionate woodworker and had his lathe workshop in his castle. The workshop have later been moved several times and are now arranged in a room in one of the towers, close to the unfinished hall in the castle. Also several of the later owners where woodworkers and supplemented the already large collection of woodworking tools. The tools have been maintained in working condition through the centuries. The Castle are now a museum that are open in the summer, and all year round for group bookings. You can also get a guided tour in English.

There is a lathe in the unfinished hall at Skokloster. This seems to have been used a lot. The more refined lathes are placed in their own room in one of the towers in the castle. Photo: Roald Renmælmo
There is a lathe in the unfinished hall at Skokloster. This seems to have been used a lot. The more refined lathes are placed in their own room in one of the towers in the castle. Photo: Roald Renmælmo

Woodworking where common among the upper class men in Europe in the 17th century and both the tools ordered from Jan Arendtz in 1664 and the lathes and tools at Skokloster  are a part of this. The oldest lathe in the lathe workshop are made around 1670-1675 by Johan Kesmaker and might have been used by Carl Gustaf Wrangel. The lathe tools are from different makers but a large group are made by Johan Kesmaker together with a late in 1673. (Knutsson, Kylsberg 1985) The workbenches and some of the other tools at Skokloster might have been used by the craftsmen working at the castle. I have not found a workbench that I believe to be as old as the tools made by Jan Arendtz. It is still possible that some parts of the workbench that Tomas have posted about can be a lot older than the workbench as it is today? It could be as old as the tools from 1664 and have been used by Wrangel, but we can not find a way to date this bench.

Further reading/ references:

Knutsson, J., Kylsberg, B., & Skoklosters slott. (1985) Verktyg och verkstäder på Skoklosters slott : utställningskatalog

Bengt Kylsberg, ed. (1997). Skokloster – Reflections of a Great Era. Skoklosters slott.

About Roald Renmælmo

Snikkar med fokus på handverkstradisjon og handverktøy. Universitetslektor og PhD stipendiat på NTNU i Trondheim. Eg underviser på tradisjonelt bygghandverk og teknisk bygningsvern og restaurering.

7 tankar på “More tools at Skokloster Castle

  1. Thank you for sharing this tool cache. I shall have to visit one day. In the mean time, and this is outside of what you normally do on this blog, but I am researching tools made by Ferdinand Rubens. I know they made chisels and plane irons and they may have made other tools. Are there any that you know of in this collection? I’d like to know at least the bare basics of the FR line–years manufactured and location. I think he was Dutch, but he may have been German. Thanks.

    1. Do you know if Ferdinand Rubens used a name stamp or if it is possible to identify his tools in other ways? I believe that a lot of the tools could have been made in areas that today is Germany but as they dont have name stamps they could be hard to idetify? As far as I know, it was common for the Dutch planemakers to buy plane irons from the German areas. What Jan Arendtz did are not known. You might find something about this in the book of Gerrit van der Sterre, «Four centuries of Dutch planes and planemakers», 2001.

      1. Thank you Roald.

        Yes, Ferdinand Rubens trademark was a ringing bell and his name is usually abbreviated Ferdin Rubens, both stamped as far as I know on all his tools.

        Thank you for the Gerrit van der Sterre reference.


    2. I have not found any tools with the stamp of Ferdinand Rubens in the collection at Skokloster. I found his stamp in the book by Gerrit van der Sterre, but there vas no further information about it. Wolfgang Jordan has some information about Rubens on his website:

      It seems like his production are more that 100 years later than most of the tools at Skokloster. I have not recorded all the planes at Skokloster but have seen some that is more recent, only about 200 years old. One would have to search through those more recent planes to see if you can find irons with the stamp of Ferdinand Rubens.

  2. It is absolutely fascinating what wood workers were able to accomplish with hand tools almost 350 years ago. This was almost 250 years before any power driven tools were available. Don’t forget though the valuable collections in the rest of Skokloster was of course looted from somewhere in Europe. I have never understood the incredible book collections mostly written in Latin because most people in Sweden were illiterate at the time and I don’t believe Herr Wrangel was able to read Latin. His game was mostly steal, rape, plunder and destroy like most contemporary potentates of his time. Apparently though he was an incredible wood worker and that can be admired.

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