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Straw splitters from around the world

Following our article about the history of straw splitters, we thought it interesting to include additional splitters found throughout the world.  Their similarities are fascinating.

Splitter hand made Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Splitter courtesy Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum Ontario Canada

Splitter id card Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum


This home-made straw splitter,  has a card tag  write in 1896  attached to it with.   “A Straw splitter, made by the late Hugh Aukland out of a penny, over 60 years ago.”
This tag would have been written when the straw splitter was put on display at the Historic Heirloom Show at the Opera House in Carleton Place.

The splitters below are made of wood and bone. They were graciously shared by Anne-Marie Choain and are from her personal collection.

Splitters of wood and bone courtesy Anne Marie Chaoin

Splitters of wood and bone courtesy Anne-Marie Chaoin

The next two photos are also shared by Anne-Marie Choain.  These splitters were made anonymously, with some working better than others. She describes them as “splitters in wood, metal and bones, they come from Switzerland, Belgium or France.”



Splitters Anne-Marie Choain addl types

Courtesy Anne-Marie Choain Collection

The style mixture of tools for the same purpose is so evident in the hand carved pieces in her collection.

Anne Marie Choain, Straw splitters, plaiting tool, The Straw Shop

Splitters in my collection, Courtesy Anne-Marie Choain

The next image from Anne-Marie’s collection is quite unusual.

Anne-Marie Choain, straw splitters, straw plait tool, The Straw Shop

Splitters from my collection, Courtesy Anne-Marie Choain

A different splitter for a different purpose was located on Ebay. Described by the seller as follows:

Straw Splitter combs possibly American early 1800s courtesy EBay. JPG

Straw Splitter combs possibly American early 1800s courtesy EBay

“The splitter combs,  1/2″ & 5/8″ , were found in a pillbox dated 1834.

The  2″ x 1″ x 3/4” tall box contained a note about the owner of the straw splitter combs.

Straw Combs inside 1834 pill box owned by Julia Thurston Franklin Main. JPGThe note inside reads :

“Tiny box owned by Julia Maria Daniels Thurston.  In Franklin, she made straw hats, and continued to do so in Union.  These tiny combs split the straw.”

The question is, what straw was she splitting? Palm perhaps.

Splitter combs note julia maria daniels thurston

Splitter combs note Julia Maria Daniels Thurston











New Mexico’s straw master, Jimmy Trujillo gifted The Straw Shop Collection, in 2017, a straw splitter he made of bone. Although he doesn’t identify the bone used, he does describe the splitter as follows: ” I’ve been using this splitter for several years when I do demos.  It’s not a fancy one but it works great for me.”  We are pleased to show the following images of his splitter. His splitter measures 4 inches long ( 10cm) and 1/2 inch (1 cm) at its widest point. It is a pleasure to use.

Jimmy Trujillo splitter front view, Courtesy The Straw Shop Collection.

He did the carving.  The hook on the end is interesting. As an applique straw artist his tool splits the straw open and smoothes it beautifully.

straw splitter, The Straw Shop

Jimmy Trujillo splitter front view detail, Courtesy The Straw Shop Collection

The reverse side is smooth and displays his etched initials. A handcrafted tool we are honored to have in The Straw Shop Collection.


The next set of splitters were described as “folk Splitters” on eBay France.  They are wooden. Their sizes are, from the top of the photograph downward:  32mm= 1.26 inches; 30 mm= 1.18 inches;  and 33mm=1.30 inches.  Looking at the base of each tool, two of the splitters have a flat bottomed edge to them. These two flat based splitters both have 7 fins.  The other and smaller of the three has 6 fins and a rounded base. These are small tools that could easily be dropped. It is interesting how much of the wooden points still remain. Apparently found in the back of a drawer in an estate sale purchase in France. Were they purposefully protected by the previous owner?  The Straw Shop has added them to the Collection.

straw splitter, The Straw Shop

3 wooden splitters, Courtesy Ebay France, The Straw Shop Collection

Here is another look at the trio of splitters. Upon examination each splitter appears to have been hand carved from one piece of wood.

wooden straw splitter, wooden splitter, plaiting splitter, straw splitter, wheat splitter, The Straw Shop

Wooden splitters trio, The Straw Shop Collection


When and where they were made is unknown.   We tested them with some wheat stalks shown below:

straw splitter, wooden straw spitter, splitter for plait, The Straw Shop

Wooden splitters splitting, Courtesy The Straw Shop Collection

We were curious to see if the obviously hand carved splitters were possibly made by the same person woodcarver. The splitters are uniquely different from one another, but could they be marked in anyway?

straw splitter, wooden straw splitter, straw splitter, The Straw Shop,

Base of wooden splitters, Courtesy The Straw Shop Collection

The markings and styles of carving the wooden splitters are clearly made by different individuals.  The wooden base below the wooden pin is completely different in style and execution from one splitter to the next.  These splitters were not produced in any sort of commercial way. Wide use of wooden splitters does not appear in the straw splitter story, which makes these “folk splitters” even more unusual and interesting.   Viewing other examples of wooden splitters shown here, it is interesting to note the very sleek wooden splitters shown in Anne-Marie Choain’s collection shown above are shaped quite differently than the 3 wooden splitters shown above.

The next set of 8 wooden splitters, discovered on Ebay, unfortunately offered only the image rather than a description of sizes:

straw splitters, wooden straw, Ebay, The Straw Shop

wooden straw splitters, Courtesy Ebay

Mr. John O’Mahony, UK, contacted The Straw Shop sharing the following collection of metal stemmed splitters.

“The photo is of a group of straw splitters which I picked up in Hertfordshire a couple of years ago. Some junk from the back of the family shed” I was told by the seller. “The splitters I found have four, five, six, seven and eight ‘fins’. I got them at a market in a town called Hitchin where straw plait was once sold in great quantities to agents who would re-sell it to hat makers in Luton. Luton is about 6 or 7 miles away and was famous for its hat industry.” The wooden block holding the number of splitters may have been made for the plaiter.

John O'Mahony, Stem splitters, straw splitters,plait, straw plaiter, The Straw Shop



In 2023, The Straw Shop met Mr. Raphael Bedos through his straw splitter collection seen here. Of France, he is the owner of a respected gallery called Raphael Bedos Antiques (or Galerie Raphael Bedos) in Paris. He describes this collection of splitters as:

“Few years ago I bought the whole collection of the famous private « Musée Mistral » in Villeneuve d’Aveyron, France. It was the most important private Folk Art Museum with more than than three thousand objects.” A private folk art collector implies the collector could have bought a splitter any where,or any time. As a result the provenance is the collector’s collection turn museum.  The collection is described as follows:

straw splitters, Raphael Bedos Antiques, The Straw Shop, plaiting tools,

Splitter Collection, Courtesy Raphael Bedos Antiques

“Cleavers For Straw Marquetry”

“Series of thirteen cleavers for straw marquetry.
Two in the shape of a heart. L: 4cm
One in the shape of a book marked “Marie” and dated 1904. L: 4cm
One in the shape of a barrel. L: 2.2cm
The others, L: 2.6 to 4.8cm”

Period: 19th century
Style: Other Style
Condition: Perfect condition”

The collection features a personalized framed double splitter set in the form of a book dated 1904.

The heart shaped frame splitters, both containing 3 splitters, may also be first presentations of Straw splitters in this style.

Mr. Bedos kindly shared the next gallery of photographs of the more unusual pieces permitting closer examination.

At first glance the barrel shaped splitter may appear to have been made of ceramic. Mr. Bedos described the barrel splitter as “It’s stain wood (boxwood).”

Barrel splitters had been seen in metal by The Straw Shop until this wooden one. So unusual this barrel shaped wooden splitter, we present this piece first in the next gallery.


The next gallery shows the cutting side and reverse side of the 2 wooden heart shaped frame splitters and the book shaped frame. Hardwood would work and could be locally made quite easily. They need microscopic examination for tool marks. Their color is surprisingly bright, they may have been cleaned, or they could have been kept  boxed by the collector for years.

Unlike any other splitters seen here, this group, comprising of heart shaped frame splitters, book shaped frame splitters may have some plausible history if they  belonged to the same worker and were contemporary to one another. It is unusual as 2 of the 3 items may refer to the name Marie. One, of which, is dated 1904.  Splitters may have been love tokens, who knows?  As personalized as these tools appear they are typically anonymous straw tools. Please browse this unique gallery possible by the generosity of Mr Raphaël Bedos :

The Straw Shop is honored to share the images of the straw splitters found in the famous private collection of folk art pieces found in the former Musée Mistral Folk Art Museum Collection purchased by Mr. Raphaël Bedos.The collection underscores the hand made uniqueness of each wooden tool.




The Straw Shop will continue to update this page from time time. From the examples shown above thus far, it is interesting to see the same historically correct materials of bone, wood and metal; used to create different tools to split straw.



The Straw Shop invites you to add images of your splitters to this page as John o’Mahony did! Please contact:



The Straw Shop sincerely appreciates the shared images by Anne-Marie Choain, Jimmy Trujillo, John O’Mahony, Ebay, Raphaël Bedos of Raphaël Bedos Antiques.


Copyright The Straw Shop 2015

The Straw Shop