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Lipped shipwright's adze used by Lars Halvorsen Sons

Date: before 1920s
Showcase: 68.5 x 23 mm, 1.55 kg
Medium: Wood, steel
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Carl Halvorsen
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Lip adze
Object No: 00029684

User Terms

    This American made lipped shipwright's adze has a steel blade and wooden handle. The adze was used for shaping flat sections of timber on the keel, stem and mast.

    Traditional shipwright’s tools were expensive and difficult to replace. This meant that tools such as this adze were used by several generations of the Halvorsen family.
    SignificanceUsed for both boat building and restoration, the tool is an important record of the work of shipwrights in the early to mid 20th century. It was owned and used by Lars Halvorsen, a Norwegian immigrant who established a family boat building business in Australia in the late 1920s.
    HistoryA lipped shipwright's adze is lighter than a carpenter's adze and features a wider than normal bit, whose outside edges are sharply turned up. It was designed to be used in a variety of positions, including overhead, as well as in front at waist and chest level. Such tools were mainly used for shaping cross grain, such as for joining planks.

    In 1925 the Norwegian born Lars Halvorsen began working from a small rented boat shed in Drummoyne with his eldest son Harold. Needing larger premises, they moved the fledgling business to a boat shed at Careening Cove, and in 1927 to Lloyds yard on the site of Ben Boy's wool store at Neutral Bay.

    Continuing a family tradition, Lars Halvorsen trained his sons to be shipwrights from the age of fourteen. Following this apprenticeship the sons progressively joined the company; Carl in 1927, Bjarne in 1930, Magnus in 1932, and Trygve in 1934. His daughter Elnor joined in 1928, working with her mother Bergithe and the youngest daughter Margit, who worked as the secretary from 1939. Following the death of Lars Halvorsen in 1936, Lars Halvorsen Sons Pty Ltd was formed with Harold as Chairman Managing Director and principle designer, and Carl as Sales Director.

    Lars Halvorsen Sons Pty Ltd purchased a waterside property with five acres at Waterview St, Ryde, and production moved from the Neutral Bay boatshed, which was retained as a service branch, to the new boatshed in 1940. The Ryde facility was the largest in the southern hemisphere, with an engineering section, blacksmith and lumber shops, stores, machine shop, plumbers shop, sheet metal shop, fueling facilities, five slip-ways for craft up to 90 feet and 100 tones, a three tone crane and an electric oxy-acetylene welding plant.

    During World War II owners of boats over 40 feet in length were asked to hand over their vessels over for the war effort. At the Ryde boatyard these civilian boats were refitted for military use. Boats built by Lars Halvorsen Sons were also deployed by the Australian, United States and Dutch forces during the war. The momentum of this war time production continued into the 1950s with the manufacture of cruisers and the subsequent establishment of the large hire fleet at Bobbin Head in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

    From 1926 to 1976 the Halvorsens built 1,299 vessels including motor cruisers, launches, tenders, yachts, tugs, mission boats, fishing boats and military craft.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Lipped shipwright's adze used by Lars Halvorsen Sons

    Primary title: American lip adze

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