Thursday, February 23, 2012


Nope, not talking about liquid spills. Talking about wood shavings.
I learned something new today! I love when I learn something new. There are certain items we take for granted even when writing historical fiction. Fire is one. I always assumed the fire would be there when needed. If the fire wasn't already going in the story, then flint?

I never even thought to do a history search on matches, but after today's brief visit with our local tool expert, I did just that. First evidence of a match is around 577 in China but then the miracle was lost and it wasn't until 1826 that matches were re-invented. Even then, they probably weren't used much until after 1860.

In the meantime, what did folks do to preserve the fire? One thing they used was a "curfew", a fire cover. At night, the coals were raked to one side and placed in the chimney recess, then covered to keep it going until dawn. But let's say you need to light a candle. That's where the spill comes into play.

Woodworkers would plane wood and the spill or curled shavings from the wood would be saved and kept in a special cup. They could then use these curled bits of wood to carried the flame from one location to another. Spill planes were built just for planing the wood to get these special curls.

My buddy came into my art room to show me his handbuilt spill plane and proceded to give me a brief history lesson at the same time. Wow. Just amazed. So yeah, my next historical will mention spills.

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