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Original published in the 1910s, this 2-volume-set woodworking textbook was "adapted to the needs of students in manual-training schools, or in any institution in which elementary woodwork is taught, whether as purely educational handwork, or as preparatory to a trade school course in carpentry". Even after a century, it remains an excellent reference book for anyone who wants to learn elementary woodworking.
Volume 1: Elements of Woodwork
This volume introduces the knowledge which every woodworker should possess regarding the care and use of his tools and the material upon which he employs them.
Whether an amateur, apprentice, or skilled workman, whether a carpenter, boat builder, pattern maker, or wood carver, the elementary knowledge of the construction of tools, of sharpening them, and of their adjustment and manipulation is practically the same. The structure of wood, and the necessity of applying its peculiarities of grain and texture to the advantage of the work in hand, also is the same upon all branches of woodwork.
While innumerable tools and cutting devices have been invented to enable the woodworker to accomplish special results economically both as to time and material, a study of them will prove that they all operate upon a few simple principles, a knowledge of which is not difficult to acquire, though skill and judgment in the application of the tools can be attained only by continuous and properly directed practice.
The actual use of tools may be considered the ABC of woodwork, as it bears the same relation to the finished product of the workman as the alphabet bears to literature, the space between the mere mechanical facility in the use of either tools or alphabet, being the result of the judgment, skill, and individuality of either the workman or the author.
Thus, if a student acquires the facility to use the tools described in this volume, he will have little difficulty in using other and more complex tools; and when he has mastered the principles of construction involved in the exercises explained in the next volume, Elements of Construction, and the correct use of the tools involved in making these, together with their applications and combinations, he has acquired the fundamental knowledge of all construction in wood.
Volume 2: Elements of Construction
This volume deals with the use of the common woodworking tools, the simple forms of construction used in fastening wood together, and the reading and understanding of simple drawings - all of which will be found of indispensable value, not only to the student of manual training, but to those who, either as amateurs or professionals, have anything to do with work of a mechanical nature.
The problems in elementary construction are intended to familiarize the student with their various uses, and one or more of these problems, bearing upon the work he is to do, should precede the undertaking of any really important work.
Students should be encouraged to create new models or exercises for themselves, following those shown only as a guide to the degree of difficulty or for suggestions as to methods of construction.