Pop Quiz #469

Okay, here’s a stumper for you. Or rather, it has me stymied. Really. No tricks. I want to know what this tool is used for. This is not the original tool but it’s a reasonable facsimile. I made this up from memory. I found the original in a leather coat manufacturing facility that was going out of business. It’s a hand tool with two narrow metal pieces sticking out of it. In the top of each metal piece, was a squarish hole. My facsimile uses two needles stuck in the top of a hair pipe bone bead (as was the original). The original didn’t use needles but I’m confounded as to what the metal parts were in that tool. The original metal pieces were flat but sized similarly to needles although they were not round like needles. Still, it’s the concept of the tool that nags me. Why would anybody need two needle type thingies sticking out of a hand tool? Whatever could this have been used for? Here’s some pictures

The side view is a little blurry but you can see there’s two stuck in there. Also, the original tool had the metal offset (as these needles are). The holes didn’t align exactly. I wonder if that mattered or if that was a side affect of jury rigging a hand tool.

Here’s the tool full size. The bone is 4″ long if that helps. The original used a shorter bone but it wasn’t as comfortable to handle -but then, I have large hands.

It’d probably help to know the kind of leather jackets they were making which would be “southwestern style”. Here’s a sample of the sort of thing they made:

[And in case you wonder, I didn’t have a hand in the design of this jacket. My “V’s” always match exactly; the one above is offset. That’s because the pattern for the above jacket was a two per (how annoying). You can’t do two-per on an overlapping “V” and expect the V to match.]

This company did a lot of bead work and hand attaching of hair pipe (those longish white things). Native Americans used hairpipe as breast plates for battle. By the way, I have close to 200 pounds of these, assuming you’re in the market for some 4″ long ones. The ones in the photo above are cheapies, maybe 1.5″ long.

Any idea of how this tool was used? Any guesses? When I had the original, I went so far as to thread it and play around with tying off beads and hairpipe but I just couldn’t figure it out. Knowing my luck, it was nothing. A worker got bored and wondered how many of those flat metal thingies they could stick in the end of a hairpipe, not knowing that later on it’d bug somebody like me forever.

You can safely disregard anything below this; it’s a preamble of how I got on the topic of this phantom limb of mine.

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