Reprint from THE "HOW-TO-DO-IT" BOOKS

By J. S. ZERBE, M.E.
Copyright, 1914, by

A book which treats, in a most practical and fascinating manner all subjects pertaining to the "King of Trades"; showing the care and use of tools; drawing; designing, and the laying out of work; the principles involved in the building of various kinds of structures, and the rudiments of architecture. It contains over two hundred and fifty illustrations made especially for this work, and includes also a complete glossary of the technical terms used in the art. The most comprehensive volume on this subject ever published for boys.

I - II - III - IV - V - VI - VII - VIII - IX - X - XI - XII - XIII - XIV - XV - XVI - XVII - XVIII - XIX - XX - XXI



In the mechanical arts, workers are as likely to learn from the mistakes committed as through correct information imparted. Advice, therefore, might be considered superfluous. But there are certain things which are easily remembered and may be borne in mind while engaged in turning out any work.

This chapter is not given for the purpose of calling attention to all the errors which are so common, but merely to point out a few which the boy will commit as he tries to carry out his work for the first time.

One of the difficult things for any one to learn, in working with wood, is to plane the edge of a board straight and square at the same time. This is made doubly difficult if it is desired to plane it strictly to dimensions.

Usually before the edge is straight it is down to the proper width desired, and it is then too late to correct any error, because further work will make it too narrow.

The whole difficulty is in the holding of the plane. It matters not how rigidly it is held, and how carefully it is guarded to veer it toward one side or the other, it will be found a most difficult task.

If the fore, or finishing, plane is used, and which is the proper tool for the purpose, the impression seems to be, that to square up the edge and make it cut off a thicker shaving on one side than on the other, requires that the plane should be pressed down with force, so as to make it dig in and cut a thicker shaving.

When this is resorted to the board is liable to get out of true from end to end. A much better plan is to put the plane on the edge of the board true and straight. If it is too high on the edge nearest you, bring the plane over so the inside edge is flush with the inside edge of the board.

Then use the fingers of the left hand as a gage to keep the plane from running over.

Now, the weight of the plane in such a condition is sufficient to take off a thicker shaving at the high edge, and this will be done without any effort, and will enable you to concentrate your thoughts on keeping the plane straight with the board.

The weight of the plane will make a thicker shaving on one side than on the other, and correct inequalities, provided you do not attempt to force the plane.

It requires an exceedingly steady hand to hold a plane firmly for squaring up a half-inch board. Singular as it may seem, it is almost as difficult a job with a two-inch plank. In the case of the thin board the plane will move laterally, unless the utmost care is exercised; in the truing up the thick plank the constant tendency is to move the plane along the surface at a slight diagonal, and this is sure to cause trouble.

It only emphasizes the fact most clearly, that to do a good job the plane must be firmly held, that it must move along the board with the utmost precision, and that it should not be forced into the wood.

In smoothing down a board with the short smoothing plane, preparatory to sandpapering it, the better plan is to move the plane slightly across the grain. This will enable the bit to take hold better, and when the sandpaper is applied the course of the movement should be across the grain opposite the direction taken by the smoothing plane.

It is never satisfactory to draw the sandpaper directly along in the course of the grain. Such a habit will cause the sandpaper to fill up very rapidly, particularly with certain woods.

When gluing together joints or tenons, always wipe off the surplus glue with warm water taken from the glue pot. If you do not follow this advice the glue will gum up the tools and the sandpaper used to finish the work.

Never try to work from opposite sides of a piece of material. Have a work side and a work edge, and make all measurements therefrom. Mark each piece as you go along. Take a note mentally just how each piece is to be placed, and what must be done with it.

The carpenter, above all others, must be able to carry a mental picture of his product.

Never saw out the scribing or marking line, either in cutting or in ripping. The lines should be obliterated by the plane, when it is being finished, and not before.

Make it a habit to finish off the surfaces and edges true and smooth before the ends are cut, or the mortises or tenons are made. This is one of the most frequent mistakes. No job can be a perfect one unless your material has been worked down to proper dimensions.

Learn to saw across a board squarely. This may be a hard thing for the novice to do. A long, easy stroke of the saw will prevent it from running, unless too badly set or filed, and will also enable you to hold it more nearly square with the board.

If you find that you invariably saw "out of true," then take some sawing lessons for your own benefit, until you can judge whether the saw is held true or not.

It is better to saw up a half dozen boards in making the test than commit the error while working on a job.

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