Artifact of the Month
Witherby Carpenter's Slick
Donated by Dr. Stanley Applegate
The carpenter's slick is a type of chisel used with two hands to pare long surfaces of wood following the grain. It was used in timber framing where heavy timber (logs and tree trunks) rather than dimensional lumber (like two-by-fours) was used in construction of buildings.
This slick comes from the Lockwood Searcy estate. His grandparents came to Northwest Arkansas in the 1850s where they had a farm east of Springdale. The family moved into Springdale in the early 1870s. Lockwood (1879-1966) worked as a cooper as a young man, making barrels for the fruit industry that thrived in the area in the early 1900s. In the 1940s he inherited many items from his grandparents' estate, including a box of tools. In later years Lockwood kept a workshop in the back of his garage. The Searcy garage and home are now part of the Shiloh Museum campus.
Thomas H. Witherby, of Milbury, Massachusetts started making fine steel chisels in 1827. The quality of production brought Witherby high regard among tool users. Witherby sold his company to the Winsted Edge Tool Company of Winsted, Connecticut in 1869. Three years later that company decided to drop its line of tools and concentrate on making Witherby chisels. They later added high-quality gouges and drawknives to their product line.