From grinding stones to butter molds, tools in our collection were often built by community members as they needed them on their farms. Whether forged of iron, carved from wood, or repurposed from existing objects, makers designed what they didn’t have at hand. The collection includes tools useful in forming wagon wheels, creating splendid mandolins, spinning wool, and cobbling shoes.

A large tool chest belonging to master carpenter William Taylor Sowers (1847-1930) was donated to the Gallery by his granddaughter Rose Sumner. The contents included house carpentry essentials, wood planes, scribes, and assorted other carpentry tools. Sowers helped build a number of buildings in the town of Floyd including the nearby Nannie Harman Howard house (109 E. Main) which was completed in 1914.

William T. Sowers sketched and cut these wooden templates for use in his early twentieth century carpentry work in Floyd County. Carpenters were often called upon to fashion wooden barrels. These are cooper’s barrel making templates: faded pencil notes on several pieces read “one bushel” and “For quarter hoop.”