where did the name keel come from for a carpenters crayon?

Keel may be spelled incorrectly.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Keel, which is a kind of hard, red chalk used for marking lumber.

    ergo. The Lumber Crayon

    The lumber crayon is just a thick hard crayon. Its advantage is that it marks easily on rough surfaces and makes big visible marks. It is commonly called a "keel", which appears to be an old Scottish word refering to:

    “A variety of red ochreous iron-ore used for marking sheep, stone, timber, etc.; ruddle. Also, the red mark made with this on sheep, etc.” - source Oxford English Dictionary

    Most lumber crayons nowadays are yellow or blue. The reason being that red (made from the above mentioned iron oxide) leaves a more permanent stain. Crayons are crude and the wide mark they make rules them out from furniture making, but they beat the pencil and knife for marking stone and making notes on rough lumber.

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