Whetstone sheath – Coffin de bois

The whetstone sheath, in this case made of wood, was filled with water or oil and a long stone called a “whetstone” placed inside which was then used to sharpen blades such as a scythe. The water or oil coating on the whetstone made it abrasive.
The sheath was traditionally made out of cow’s horn or a piece of wood. Designed to keep the whetstone handy, it could be fixed to the wearer’s belt.
Le coffin à bois est un étui rempli d’eau ou d’huile à l’intérieur duquel on plaçait une pierre longue appelée “pierre à aiguiser” qui redonnait du tranchant aux lames que l’on frottait sur l’une de ses faces. Cette pierre était donc utilisée mouillée dans un liquide aqueux ou huileux qui la rendait abrasive.
Le coffin était traditionnellement taillé dans la corne d’un bovin ou, comme ici, dans un morceau de bois. Servant à conserver la pierre à aiguiser à portée de main, ce dispositif pouvait être fixé au niveau de la ceinture.

3 replies on “Whetstone sheath – Coffin de bois”

Whetstones are still very much in use today by woodworkers (like me) and others. I have a range of them for different sharpening situations. One is a water stone, the others are oil stones. I’d say this one looks to be a bit older than mine ! Is it at château de Blois ?

Thanks, Stuart, I didn’t realise they were still used. This one is in Château de Beauregard, but I took the photo before seeing the sign so didn’t want to advertise it too much. I didn’t catch the date but it’s quite old.

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