Peg Making

Modern pegs are mostly made using plastic with metal springs in the middle. These are usually very cheap imports that are very difficult to compete with for profit.

It is still possible to purchase the modern shaped wooden pegs which are spring loaded in the middle too and again are mass produced. However, when we were younger, we remember seeing wooden clothes pins or pegs that you pushed down on the line. The pegs we remember where made from one piece of wood and still looked machine made.

Below are a coupel of examples of pegs you could make for yourself.

Split Peg

Here we wanted to look at a more traditional split peg used for hanging cloth out to dry. Use a stick of willow or hazel. Cut it to about 5 or 6 inches. Shave the stick so as to make a head at one end. Wind and knot some string near the top of the head (you could cut a piece of tin and nail it in place) at the point you want to split it to (about half an inch from the head), this will stop the peg splitting in half. Split peg

The ("Kosht is chinned") stick it then split from the base to the string. The cleft can then be slightly v-notched. Leave the split peg to dry for a few days before using it.

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Split Peg
Tent peg

Tent Pegs

Up until about the 1950s the military were still purchasing wooden tent pegs and were therefore keeping the craft alive. Tent pegs are used to hold the guy ropes in the ground, which in turn hold the tent up.

Traditionally, the peg makers would have set up a makeshift workshop in the woods and would have worked for up to 12 hours per day to create new pegs.

tent pegThey would fell a tree (most likely a birch, willow or hazel) and then roughly prepared logs about 6 inches in diameter and a bit longer than the pegs required. The freshly cut logs would still be full of sap and therefore easier to work. The peg maker would use a 'molly' and 'flammer' to split the log into staves. Then they would finished the pegs with a draw knife, whilst sat at a shaving horse. The finished tent pegs would have been stacked left to season prior to collection.