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



Fundamentals of Designing.—A great deal of the pleasure in making articles consists in creative work. This means, not that you shall design some entirely new article, but that its general form, or arrangement of parts, shall have some new or striking feature.

A new design in any art does not require a change in all its parts. It is sufficient that there shall be an improvement, either in some particular point, as a matter of utility, or some change in an artistic direction. A manufacturer in putting out a new chair, or a plow, or an automobile, adds some striking characteristic. This becomes his talking point in selling the article.

The Commercial Instinct.—It is not enough that the boy should learn to make things correctly, and as a matter of pastime and pleasure. The commercial instinct is, after all, the great incentive, and should be given due consideration.

It would be impossible, in a book of this kind, to do more than to give the fundamental principles necessary in designing, and to direct the mind solely to essentials, leaving the individual to build tip for himself.

First Requirements for Designing.—First, then, let us see what is necessary to do when you intend to set about making an article. Suppose we fix our minds upon a table as the article selected. Three things are necessary to know: First, the use to which it is to be put; second, the dimensions; and, third, the material required.

Assuming it to be the ordinary table, and the dimensions fixed, we may conclude to use soft pine, birch or poplar, because of ease in working. There are no regulation dimensions for tables, except as to height, which is generally uniform, and usually 30 inches. As to the length and width, you will be governed by the place where it is to be used.

If the table top is to have dimensions, say, of 36" × 48", you may lay out the framework six inches less each way, thus giving you a top overhang of three inches, which is the usual practice.

Conventional Styles.—Now, if you wish to depart from the conventional style of making a table you may make variations in the design. For instance, the Chippendale style means slender legs and thin top. It involves some fanciful designs in the curved outlines of the top, and in the crook of the legs. Or if, on the other hand, the Mission type is preferred, the overhang of the top is very narrow; the legs are straight and heavy, and of even size from top to bottom; and the table top is thick and nearly as broad as it is long. Such furniture has the appearance of massiveness; it is easily made and most serviceable.

Mission Style.—The Mission style of architecture also lends itself to the making of chairs and other articles of furniture. A chair is, probably, the most difficult piece of household furniture to make, because strength is required. In this type soft wood may be used, as the large legs and back pieces are easily provided with mortises and tenons, affording great rigidity when completed. In designing, therefore, you may see how the material itself becomes an important factor.

Cabinets.—In the making of cabinets, sideboards, dressers and like articles, the ingenious boy will find a wonderful field for designing ability, because in these articles fancy alone dictates the sizes and the dimensions of the parts. Not so with chairs and tables. The imagination plays an important part even in the making of drawers, to say nothing of placing them with an eye to convenience and artistic effect.

Harmony of Parts.—But one thing should be observed in the making of furniture, namely, harmony between the parts. For instance, a table with thin legs and a thick top gives the appearance of a top-heavy structure; or the wrong use of two different styles is bad from an artistic standpoint; moreover, it is the height of refined education if, in the use of contrasting woods, they are properly blended to form a harmonious whole.

Harmonizing Wood.—Imagine a chiffonier with the base of dark wood, like walnut, and the top of pine or maple, or a like light-colored wood. On the other hand, both walnut and maple, for instance, may be used in the same article, if they are interspersed throughout the entire article. The body may be made of dark wood and trimmed throughout with a light wood to produce a fine effect.

Chapter 5, How Work is Laid Out

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