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French Mystery Tool

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Martin King 211/04/2019 10:50:38
650 forum posts
242 photos

Hi All, just back from a buying trip in France, we hit about 3 large vide greniers in one day so pretty knackered but found some great items.

This one has got me stumped:

lclamp 1.jpg

lclamp 3.jpg

lclamp 2.jpg

Very well made as two sliding wedge shaped pieces with locking bolt which is possibly a replacement.

My only thought is that it might be a leatherworking expander tool for shoe or boot work but not at all sure?

Any thoughts welcome!

Cheers, Martin

mark costello 111/04/2019 18:30:43
577 forum posts
12 photos

A cleverly designed frustration tool used to baffle British Men and Yanks at the same time.

Watford11/04/2019 18:50:28
120 forum posts
10 photos

Would it fit together with both boat shaped pieces on the same side of the slide? I still don't know what it would be though face 5


Jon Lawes11/04/2019 19:16:09
352 forum posts

Do they fit together the other way?

Martin King 211/04/2019 20:16:52
650 forum posts
242 photos

Only goes together one way round


Jon Lawes11/04/2019 20:22:21
352 forum posts

I wonder if the bolt previously was a larger one with a spring under it?

Speedy Builder511/04/2019 20:34:24
1928 forum posts
132 photos

Ah! That would be the 10cm Froggle guide.

Martin King 211/04/2019 20:47:20
650 forum posts
242 photos

I wondered if there might have been a very large spring between the two halves so that they could be squashed together somehow and exert a spreading force on leather perhaps?


Nimble11/04/2019 21:56:54
33 forum posts


Can you not see it is for keeping zee beret in shape!


Jeff Dayman11/04/2019 22:12:58
1758 forum posts
45 photos

It may be for a tire machine, to spread old-style narrow tires or maybe guide them onto rims. I remember vaguely an attachment shaped like this on my grandfather's old tire machine which dated from the 1930's.

Or, could be some sort of guide to ease electrical cable or soft pipe into channels of some kind.

Brian Sweeting11/04/2019 22:15:00
404 forum posts
1 photos

Are we unique I wonder?

We travel around and buy odd bits of metal that have no obvious use to us but whose sole purpose is to start a debate down the pub on a quiet afternoon.

Ian P11/04/2019 23:10:13
2320 forum posts
93 photos

Could these be two separate items just held together with a bolt for the sake of it?

I cannot tell from the picture if one has a tongue and the other a groove but otherwise they do look something like the long handle lever thing that tyre fitters use and the semicircular notch looks ideal for a bar handle to sit in.

Ian P

Martin King 212/04/2019 07:11:43
650 forum posts
242 photos

Ian P, they do look like they are meant to fit together and slide over each other. I get what people are saying about tyres, there is a part on a tyre machine that guides the rim or tyre bead but only a single part not 2?

Brian S, possibly you are correct laugh, but there is a lot of fun to be had all the same!


Brian Wood12/04/2019 08:54:27
2072 forum posts
37 photos

I'm with you Martin, that looks very much like a shoe expander to broaden ze leather for spreading feet.


Jeff Dayman12/04/2019 08:56:48
1758 forum posts
45 photos

Martin you are thinking newer style tire machines - I'm thinking ones from 1930's - they were very different and there were many styles and gimmicks.

Nicholas Farr12/04/2019 10:02:47
2118 forum posts
1025 photos

Hi, I can't imagine it to be a shoe expander. The only shoe expanders I've ever seen, or pictures of, look like these **LINK**

Regards Nick.

SillyOldDuffer12/04/2019 11:32:04
5338 forum posts
1090 photos

Could the projections ringed in red be feet?


Possibly the tool sits on the edge of a table with the 'anvil' points facing up.

My guess is it's for taking the dents out of old-fashioned metal hub caps, and the 'feet' are gripped in a vice.


Georgineer12/04/2019 11:33:43
328 forum posts
16 photos

It's a grostling iron.


IanT12/04/2019 12:21:57
1435 forum posts
141 photos

That's correct George, although to be absolutely accurate - the French refer to them as "Le Fer Grostling"

They should be heated to red-hot before insertion.


Hopper12/04/2019 12:27:14
4145 forum posts
89 photos

So the projections circled in red would be grostling snibs then.

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