In 1791 Nathaniel V paid 12 shillings, 6 pence, nearly two days’ wages, for a grindstone—making it one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in the woodworking shop. Indispensable for keeping edge tools sharp, when turned with the hand crank, the sandstone wheel picked up water from a small, rectangular trough beneath, helping to keep the tool cool and prevent grindings from accumulating on the wheel. Like the great-wheel lathe, the grindstone required two operators: one to crank, and the other to sharpen.
Grindstone and frame, Nathaniel Dominy IV (maker), Jeremiah Miller (maker), 1791. Oak, red; Sandstone; Iron. 23.5" (H), 31.75" (L), 26.12" (W). Museum purchase with funds provided by Henry Belin du Pont, 1957.0026.612 A-F