Meet the Crew of the Mary Rose


A lot of carpentry tools were found on the Mary Rose. While on land usually metal survives longer, under the sea metal rusts away, leaving the wooden handles. With the Mary Rose’s tools, you’ll have to use your imagination to fill in the missing blades!


By studying the marks on the wood, archaeologists can tell what sort of tools were used to build the ship.



The Adze was a tool used for smoothing timbers. The blade would be long and flat; fixed to the thickest end of the handle, allowing the carpenter to chip away at timbers to shape them for ship repairs.

Axes were used for both chopping wood and for carefully trimming timbers. The blade would be similar to axe heads today.



Planes were used for smoothing and shaping wood, and came in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The large plane would be used for smoothing planks and beams, while small planes would be used for jobs like smoothing arrows. Planes haven’t really changed much in 450 years – apart from being made from metal!


This one was called a dolphin plane, for obvious reasons!


The brace and bit was a Tudor hand-powered drill, used for drilling small holes. A ‘bit’ is the missing metal part which was like a flat, sharp-edged metal spoon. To use it, you held the knob in one hand and twisted the brace round and round to make the bit act like a drill.

A Tudor ruler may look similar to the ones we use today but they didn’t use centimetres, they used inches (2.54cm).


A mallet is a type of hammer. This would be used to hammer wooden rods, called Trennals, which would expand when wet and not rust like metal nails, which would hold the ship’s timbers together.