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

By J. S. ZERBE, M.E.

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.

Copyright, 1914, by

Publisher's disclaimer: Content provided is dated and is for information purposes only.

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




In a work of this kind, dealing with the various elements, the boy should have at hand recipes or formulas for everything which comes within the province of his experiments. The following are most carefully selected, the objects being to present those which are the more easily compounded.

Adhesives for Various Uses.—Waterproof glue. Use a good quality of glue, and dissolve it in warm water, then add one pound of linseed oil to eight pounds of the glue. Add three ounces of nitric acid.

Leather or Card-board Glue. After dissolving good glue in water, to which a little turpentine has been added, mix it with a thick paste of starch, the proportion of starch to glue being about two to every part of glue used. The mixture is used cold.

A fine Belt Glue. Dissolve 50 ounces of gelatine in water, and heat after pouring off the excess water. Then stir in five ounces of glycerine, ten ounces of turpentine, and five ounces of linseed oil varnish. If too thick add water to suit.

For cementing Iron to Marble. Use 30 parts of Plaster of Paris, 10 parts of iron filings, and one half part of sal ammoniac. These are mixed up with vinegar to make a fluid paste.

To cement Glass to Iron. Use 3 ounces of boiled linseed oil and 1 part of copal varnish, and into this put 2 ounces of litharge and 1 ounce of white lead and thoroughly mingle so as to make a smooth paste.

Water-proof Cement. Boiled linseed oil, 6 ounces; copal, 6 ounces; litharge, 2 ounces; and white lead, 16 ounces. To be thoroughly incorporated.

To unite rubber or leather to hard substances. One ounce of pulverized gum shellac dissolved in 9 1/2 ounces of strong ammonia, will make an elastic cement. Must be kept tightly corked.

For uniting iron to iron. Use equal parts of boiled oil, white lead, pipe clay and black oxide of manganese, and form it into a paste.

Transparent Cement. Unite 1 ounce of india rubber, 67 ounces of chloroform, and 40 ounces of mastic. This is to be kept together for a week, and stirred at times, when it will be ready for use.

To Attach Cloth to Metal. Water 100 parts, sugar 10 parts, starch 20 parts, and zinc chloride 1 part. This must be first stirred and made free of lumps, and then heated until it thickens.

United States Government Gum. Dissolve 1 part of gum arabic in water and add 4 parts of sugar and 1 part of starch. This is then boiled for a few minutes, and thinned down as required.

To Make Different Alloys.—Silver-aluminum. Silver one-fourth part, and aluminum three-fourth parts.

Bell-metal. Copper, 80 parts; tin, 20 parts. Or, copper, 72 parts; tin, 26 parts; zinc, 2 parts. Or, copper 2; 1 of tin.

Brass. Copper, 66 parts; zinc, 32 parts; tin, 1 part; lead, 1 part.

Bronzes. Copper, 65 parts; zinc, 30 parts; tin, 5 parts. Or, copper, 85 parts; zinc, 10 parts; tin, 3 parts; lead, 2 parts.

German Silver. 52 parts of copper; 26 parts zinc; 22 parts nickel.

For Coating Mirrors. Tin, 70 parts; mercury, 30 parts.

Boiler Compounds.—To prevent scaling. Use common washing soda, or Glauber salts.

To Dissolve Celluloid.—Use 50 parts of alcohol and 5 parts of camphor for every 5 parts of celluloid. When the celluloid is put into the solution it will dissolve it.

To Soften Celluloid. This may be done by simply heating, so it will bend, and by putting it in steam, it can be worked like dough.

Clay Mixture for Forges.—Mix dry 20 parts of fire clay, 20 parts cast-iron turnings, one part of common salt, and 1/2 part sal ammoniac, and then add water while stirring, so as to form a mortar of the proper consistency. The mixture will become very hard when heat is applied.

A Modeling Clay. This is made by mixing the clay with glycerine and afterwards adding vaseline. If too much vaseline is added it becomes too soft.

Fluids for Cleaning Clothes, Furniture, Etc.—For Delicate Fabrics. Make strong decoction of soap bark, and put into alcohol.

Non-inflammable Cleaner. Equal parts of acetone, ammonia and diluted alcohol.

Taking dried paint from clothing. Shake up 2 parts of ammonia water with 1 part of spirits of turpentine.

Cleaning Furniture, etc. Unite 2.4 parts of wax; 9.4 parts of oil of turpentine; 42 parts acetic acid; 42 parts citric acid; 42 parts white soap. This must be well mingled before using.

Removing Rust from Iron or Steel. Rub the surface with oil of tartar. Or, apply turpentine or kerosene, and after allowing to stand over night, clean with emery cloth.

For Removing Ink Stains from Silver. Use a paste made of chloride of lime and water.

To clean Silver-Plated Ware. Make a mixture of cream of tartar, 2 parts; levigated chalk, 2 parts; and alum, 1 part. Grind up the alum and mix thoroughly.

Cleaning a Gas Stove. Make a solution of 9 parts of caustic soda and 150 parts of water, and put the separate parts of the stove in the solution for an hour or two. The parts will come out looking like new.

Cleaning Aluminum. A few drops of sulphuric acid in water will restore the luster to aluminum ware.

Oil Eradicator. Soap spirits, 100 parts; ammonia solution, 25; acetic ether, 15 parts.

Disinfectants.—Camphor, 1 ounce; carbolic acid (75 per cent.), 12 ounces; aqua ammonia, 10 drachms; soft salt water, 8 drachms.

Water-Closet Deodorant. Ferric chloride, 4 parts; zinc chloride, 5 parts; aluminum chloride, 4 parts; calcium chloride, 5 parts; magnesium chloride, 3 parts; and water sufficient to make 90 parts. When all is dissolved add to each gallon 10 grains of thymol and a quarter-ounce of rosemary that had been previously dissolved in six quarts of alcohol.

Odorless Disinfectants. Mercuric chloride, 1 part; cupric sulphate, 10 parts; zinc sulphate, 50 parts; sodium chloride, 65 parts; water to make 1,000 parts.

Emery for Lapping Purposes. Fill a pint bottle with machine oil and emery flour, in the proportion of 7 parts oil and 1 part emery. Allow it to stand for twenty minutes, after shaking up well, then pour off half the contents, without disturbing the settlings, and the part so poured off contains only the finest of the emery particles, and is the only part which should be used on the lapping roller.

Explosives.—Common Gunpowder. Potassium nitrate, 75 parts; charcoal, 15 parts; sulphur, 10 parts.

Dynamite. 75 per cent. nitro-glycerine; 25 per cent. infusorial earth.

Giant Powder. 36 per cent. nitro-glycerine; 48 per cent. nitrate of potash; 8 per cent. of sulphur; 8 per cent. charcoal.

Fulminate. Chlorate of potassia, 6 parts; pure lampblack, 4 parts; sulphur, 1 part. A blow will cause it to explode.

Files.—How to Keep Clean. Olive oil is the proper substance to rub over files, as this will prevent the creases from filling up while in use, and preserve the file for a longer time, and also enable it to do better cutting.

To Renew Old Files. Use a potash bath for boiling them in, and afterwards brush them well so as to get the creases clean. Then stretch a cotton cloth between two supports, and after plunging the file into nitric acid, use the stretched cloth to wipe off the acid. The object is to remove the acid from the ridges of the file, so the acid will only eat out or etch the deep portions between the ridges, and not affect the edges or teeth.

Fire Proof Materials or Substances.—For Wood. For the kind where it is desired to apply with a brush, use 100 parts sodium silicate; 50 parts of Spanish white, and 100 parts of glue. It must be applied hot.

Another good preparation is made as follows: Sodium silicate, 350 parts; asbestos, powdered, 350 parts; and boiling water 1,000 parts.

For Coating Steel, etc. Silica, 50 parts; plastic fire clay, 10 parts; ball clay, 3 parts. To be thoroughly mixed.

For Paper. Ammonium sulphate, 8 parts; boracic acid, 3 parts; borax, 2 parts; water, 100 parts. This is applied in a liquid state to the paper surface.

Floor Dressings.—Oil Stain. Neats' foot oil, 1 part; cottonseed oil, 1 part; petroleum oil, 1 part. This may be colored with anything desired, like burnt sienna, annatto, or other coloring material.

Ballroom Powder. Hard paraffine, 1 pound; powdered boric acid, 7 pounds; oil of lavender, 1 drachm; oil of neroli, 20 minims.

Foot Powders.—For Perspiring Feet. Balsam Peru, 15 minims; formic acid, 1 drachm; chloral hydrate, 1 drachm; alcohol to make 3 ounces.

For Easing Feet. Tannaform, 1 drachm; talcum, 2 drachms; lycopodium, 30 grains.

Frost Bites. Carbolized water, 4 drachms; nitric acid, 1 drop; oil of geranium, 1 drop.

Glass.—To cut glass, hold it under water, and use a pair of shears.

To make a hole through glass, place a circle of moist earth on the glass, and form a hole in this the diameter wanted for the hole, and in this hole pour molten lead, and the part touched by the lead will fall out.

To Frost Glass. Cover it with a mixture of 6 ounces of magnesium sulphate, 2 ounces of dextrine, and 20 ounces of water. This produces a fine effect.

To imitate ground glass, use a composition of sandarac, 2 1/2 ounces; mastic, 1/2 ounce; ether, 24 ounces; and benzine, 16 ounces.

Iron and Steel.—How to distinguish them. Wash the metal and put it into a solution of bichromate of potash to which has been added a small amount of sulphuric acid. In a minute or so take out the metal, wash and wipe it. Soft steel and cast iron will have the appearance of an ash-gray tint; tempered steels will be black; and puddled or refined irons will be nearly white and have a metallic reflection.

To Harden Iron or Steel. If wrought iron, put in the charge 20 parts, by weight, of common salt, 2 parts of potassium cyanide, .3 part of potassium bichromate, .15 part of broken glass.

To harden cast iron, there should be added to the charge the following: To 60 parts of water, add 2 1/2 parts of vinegar, 3 parts of common salt, and .25 part of hydrochloric acid.

To soften castings: Heat them to a high temperature and cover them with fine coal dust and allow to cool gradually.

Lacquers.—For Aluminum. Dissolve 100 parts of gum lac in 300 parts of ammonia and heat for an hour moderately in a water bath. The aluminum must be well cleaned before applying. Heat the aluminum plate afterwards.

For Brass. Make a compound as follows; Annatto,  1/4 ounce; saffro, 1/4 ounce; turmeric, 1 ounce; seed lac, 3 ounces; and alcohol, 1 pint. Allow the mixture to stand for three days, then strain in the vessel which contains the seed lac, and allow to stand until all is dissolved.

For Copper. Heat fine, thickly liquid amber varnish so it can be readily applied to the copper, and this is allowed to dry. Then heat the coated object until it commences to smoke and turn brown.

Lubricants.—Heavy machinery oils. Use paraffine, 8 pounds; palm oil, 20 pounds; and oleonaptha, 12 pounds. Dissolve the paraffine in the oleonaptha at a temperature of 160 degrees and then stir in the palm oil a little at a time.

For Cutting Tools. Heat six gallons of water and put in three and a half pounds of soft soap and a half gallon of clean refuse oil. It should be well mixed.

For high-speed bearings. Use flaky graphite and kerosene oil. Apply this as soon as there is any indication of heating in the bearings.

For lathe centers, one part of graphite and four parts of tallow thoroughly mixed and applied will be very serviceable.

For Wooden Gears. Use tallow, 30 parts; palm oil; 20 parts; fish oil, 10 parts; and graphite, 20 parts.

Paper.—Fire Proof Paper.—Make the following solution: Ammonium sulphate, 8 parts; boracic acid, 3 parts; water, 100 parts. Mix at a temperature of 120 degrees. Paper coated with this will resist heat.

Filter Paper. Dip the paper into nitric acid of 1.433 specific gravity, and subsequently wash and dry it. This makes a fine filtering body.

Carbon Paper. A variety of substances may be used, such as fine soot or ivory black, ultramarine or Paris blue. Mix either with fine grain soap, so it is of a uniform consistency and then apply to the paper with a stiff brush, rubbing it in until it is evenly spread over the surface.

Tracing Paper. Take unsized paper and apply a coat of varnish made of equal parts of Canada balsam and oil of turpentine. To increase the transparency give another coat. The sheets must be well dried before using.


1. Pure water, 30 ounces; sulphite soda, 5 ounces; carbonate soda, 2 1/2 ounces.

2. Pure water, 24 ounces; oxalic acid, 15 grains; pyrogallic acid, 1 ounce.

To develop use of solution 1, 1 ounce; solution 2, 1/2 ounce; and water, 3 ounces.

Stock solutions for developing: Make solution No. 1 as follows: water, 32 ounces; tolidol, I ounce; sodium sulphate, 1 1/2 ounces.

Solution No. 2: Water, 32 ounces; sodium sulphate.

Solution No. 3: Water, 32 ounces; sodium carbonate, from 4 to 6 ounces.

Fixing bath. Add two ounces of S. P. C. clarifier (acid bisulphate of sodium) solution to one quart of hypo solution 1 in 5.

Clearing solution. Saturated solution of alum, 20 ounces; and hydrochloric acid, 1 ounce. Varnish. Brush over the negative a solution of equal parts of benzol and Japanese gold size.

Plasters.—Court Plaster. Use good quality silk, and on this spread a solution of isinglass warmed. Dry and repeat several times, then apply several coats of balsam of Peru. Or,

On muslin or silk properly stretched, apply a thin coating of smooth strained flour paste, and when dry several coats of colorless gelatine are added. The gelatine is applied warm, and cooled before the fabric is taken off.

Plating.—Bronze coating. For antiques, use vinegar, 1,000 parts; by weight, powdered bloodstone, 125 parts; plumbago, 25 parts. Apply with brush.

For brass where a copper surface is desired, make a rouge with a little chloride of platinum and water, and apply with a brush.

For gas fixtures. Use a bronze paint and mix with it five times its volume of spirit of turpentine, and to this mixture add dried slaked lime, about 40 grains to the pint. Agitate well and decant the clear liquid.

Coloring Metals.—Brilliant black for iron. Selenious acid, 6 parts; cupric sulphate, 10 parts; water 1,000 parts; nitric acid, 5 parts.

Blue-black. Selenious acid, 10 parts; nitric acid, 5 parts; cupric sulphate; water, 1,000 parts. The colors will be varied dependent on the time the objects are immersed in the solution.

Brass may be colored brown by using an acid solution of nitrate of silver and bismuth; or a light bronze by an acid solution of nitrate of silver and copper; or black by a solution of nitrate of copper.

To copper plate aluminum, take 30 parts of sulphate of copper; 30 parts of cream of tartar; 25 parts of soda; and 1,000 parts of water. The article to be coated is merely dipped into the solution.

Polishers.—Floor Polish. Permanganate of potash in boiling water, applied to the floor hot, will produce a stain, the color being dependent on the number of coats. The floor may them be polished with beeswax and turpentine.

For Furniture. Make a paste of equal parts of plaster of paris, whiting, pumice stone and litharge, mixed with Japan dryer, boiled linseed oil and turpentine. This may be colored to suit. This will fill the cracks of the wood. Afterwards rub over the entire surface of the wood with a mixture of 1 part Japan, 2 of linseed oil, and three parts of turpentine, also colored, and after this has been allowed to slightly harden, rub it off, and within a day or two it will have hardened sufficiently so that the surface can be polished.

Stove Polish. Ceresine, 12 parts; Japan wax, 10 parts; turpentine oil, 100 parts; lampblack, 12 parts; graphite, 10 parts. Melt the ceresine and wax together, and cool off partly, and then add and stir in the graphite and lampblack which were previously mixed up with the turpentine.

Putty.—Black Putty. Whiting and antimony sulphide, and soluble glass. This can be polished finely after hardening.

Common Putty. Whiting and linseed oil mixed up to form a dough.

Rust Preventive.—For Machinery. Dissolve an ounce of camphor in one pound of melted lard. Mix with this enough fine black lead to give it an iron color. After it has been on for a day, rub off with a cloth.

For tools, yellow vaseline is the best substance.

For zinc, clean the plate by immersing in water that has a small amount of sulphuric acid in it. Then wash clean and coat with asphalt varnish.

Solders.—For aluminum. Use 5 parts of tin and 1 part of aluminum as the alloy, and solder with the iron or a blow pipe.

Yellow hard solder. Brass, 3 1/2 parts; and zinc, 1 part.

For easily fusing, make an alloy of equal parts of brass and zinc.

For a white hard solder use brass, 12 parts; zinc, 1 part; and tin, 2 parts.

Soldering Fluxes.—For soft soldering, use a solution of chloride of zinc and sal ammoniac. Powdered rosin is also used.

For hard soldering, borax is used most frequently.

A mixture of equal parts of cryolite and barium chloride is very good in soldering bronze or aluminum alloys.

Other hard solders are alloyed as follows: brass, 4 parts; and zinc, 5 parts. Also brass, 7 parts; and zinc, 2 parts.

Steel Tempering-.-Heat the steel red hot and then plunge it into sealing wax.

For tempering small steel springs, they may be plunged into a fish oil which has a small amount of rosin and tallow.

Varnishes.—Black Varnish. Shellac, 5 parts; borax, 2 parts; glycerine, 2 parts; aniline black, 6 parts; water, 45 parts. Dissolve the shellac in hot water and add the other ingredients at a temperature of 200 degrees.

A good can varnish is made by dissolving 15 parts of shellac, and adding thereto 2 parts of Venice turpentine, 8 parts of sandarac, and 75 parts of spirits.

A varnish for tin and other small metal boxes is made of 75 parts alcohol, which dissolves 15 parts of shellac, and 3 parts of turpentine.

Sealing Wax.—For modeling purposes. White wax, 20 parts; turpentine, 5 parts; sesame oil, 2 parts; vermilion, 2 parts.

Ordinary Sealing. 4 pounds of shellac, 1 pound Venice turpentine, add 3 pounds of vermilion. Unite by heat.

To Chapter XVI - Handy Tables

To Table of Contents and Glossary

AnimalsAppliancesAutomotiveCollectiblesComputers & TechnologyCraftsEducationElectronicsEntertaining Food & DrinkGardening & LandscapingHealthHistorical InformationHobbiesHolidays & Special OccasionsHome ImprovementLife SkillsMusicOnline Guides & ToolsParanormal Sports & RecreationTechniques & Tutorials

We try to keep all the links current, however if you find a dead link please let us know. Please copy and paste the description of the link from the page into the body of this .