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Renovating the wheel
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Those of you who've ever tried to lay a traditional
hedge-and-wicket will know that you need at least two
different poulting mallets, unless you want either (a)
skinned knuckles andor (b) uneven wicket-lays. At the
minimum, you need a whippy, flexible one for the
stiffer one for dead-laying the mains.
But, poulting mallets are bulky and awkward to carry
around, and two of them are doubly so.
MaxCo. Tool and Die (inc.) is proud to announce the
of the VariFlex Poulting Mallet. The flexible, tubular
polypropylene shaft of the mallet contains a strip of
steel, as wide as the internal diameter of the shaft. The
end-cap of the shaft can be rotated, so that the steel
lies either parallel or orthogonal to the direction in
the mallet is swung.
When turned parallel to the direction of swing, the steel
strip gives the shaft just the right stiffness for dead-
When rotated 90 degrees, the same strip gives the shaft
the cheeky whippiness for hurdle-driving.
The rotating cap of the shaft, of course, still contains a
holder for storing spare crowthers, corks and the other
paraphernalia that hedge-and-wicket layers seem to
(Note: this is obviously no use in Norfolk, where they use
heavier or lighter mallet heads instead; but to be honest
they've always been a bit weird in Norfolk, and they can
sort their own problems out.)
[Phrontistery, Jul 12 2012]
||//two tick marks on the shaft. //
||Not a bad idea - mind if we adopt it?
||There's a special tool for that.
Seems like this design would make it tricky to
maintain a sufficiently thick layer of flenting wax. I
suppose one could do without, but it hardly seems
dignified to give it up for the sake of mere
||//storing spare crowthers//
||If you have a spare crowther, why not just get him to
hold your second mallet?
||//If you have a spare crowther, why not just get
him to hold your second mallet?//
||Ah, I see the error here. You're thinking of a
crowther, in the sense of a player of the Welsh
crwth. Understandable error, but a crowther in
this context is the little plaited twist of willow
bark used to splint the wicket-lay to the warp
||(There may, after all, be some connection
between the two etymologies, since the
arrangement of branches in a well-made run of
hedge-and-wicket can resemble a series of crwths
standing upright. Also, the traditional way to test
the quality of the lay is to pluck the crowthers,
which should be taut.)
||Ah, I'd always wondered what those were for! Some
musical instrument, then? I'd figured they were used
cats during the mating cycle.
||As for the splint, I'd always heard them called "Dutch
just "Dutchies", but I suspect that's a term regional to
Barre, which is one of the few remaining regions in
States where the old method has survived the trans-
journey intact. Most places, you can't even get
wickets anymorejust the self-looping sort, which
need for a crowther.
||//I'd always heard them called "Dutch teeth"//
||Interesting. They used to be called "German
Notches" in some parts of East Anglia, but any
German-related names were dropped during WWI or
WWII (eg, "German shepherds" became "Alsatians").
Perhaps the "Dutch" in the American term is actually
"Deutsch" (as with "Pennsylvania Dutch")?