This tool at Smith’s Tavern is a flax comb, which was used in the process of converting flax fibers into linen. Flax was harvested by pulling up the plants, since the fibers extend down into the roots. Two or three handfuls were combined into bundles, with roots together and the stems kept orderly which was then secured with string. Bundles are dried upside down. The flax is then rippled using a flax comb (T246) to pull the seed pods from the stems. Gripping the roots, combing is only done in one direction – from roots to the tops.
Reference: A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers, by Rita Buchanan, pages 26-27.