The present work is compiled with the object of its forming a suitable companion to the useful Treatises on Architecture and Engineering included in this series, and which have proved so popular.

In offering it to the notice of the building trades, and to that of the professions which dominate them, it is hoped that some practical and useful result will accrue from thus collecting the various Joints made by the artificers of each trade in a more or less systematic and novel form. Admitting of easy reference, such an arrangement gives a synoptical insight into some of the most important operations of all the trades, whilst it may possibly facilitate the director or designer of work in choosing good forms of joints, and in securing their workmanlike execution.

It may be taken for granted that, as a rule, different parts of engineering and architectural works hold well together, for there would not be so much immunity from accidents from falling bodies were not architects habituated to wait submissively on the laws of stability - repose, equipoise, and tie - nor would the severe and studious labours of engineers to make bond, bolt, and rivet subserve them to the best advantage be either so creditable or profitable did not a similar exemption prevail throughout their works and triumphs.

It does not follow from this, however, that joints are always made as they should be. Indeed, there is a peculiar aspect which they bear towards the materials of a structure that points to the contrary, and which must not be overlooked in a work of this nature. Being formed by the juxtaposition of every block, brick, timber, slate, or piece of material, howsoever united, joints are wellnigh ubiquitous, and it is easy to see that they form a large part of the workmanship of an edifice, and that, in fact, good workmanship must in all trades be synonymous with good jointing. It is, moreover, equally clear that there must be a frequent temptation and tendency to introduce into a building either indifferent materials or indifferent workmanship, or a reprehensible blending of the two.

The question then is whether, having regard to security against accident in engineering works, or to the whole-someness and durability of habitable structures and house property in general, it is not the better of two evils to have inferior materials put together in a workmanlike manner, that is, properly jointed, rather than to build in materials of a superior class by means of hastily executed and more or less imperfect joints.

Considering that joints are admittedly the weakest parts of structures, it follows, as a matter of course, that the former is by far the best preventive and alternative; for, to say nothing of impending danger from joints weakened by the inroads of rust, or in jeopardy from the chance passage of too heavy loads, it is notorious enough that gales annually cause much brickwork, etc, to part at the joints, whilst sanitarians boldly ascribe to defective pipe joints no trivial amount of preventible ills. Again, how can a house or other human habitation be well and substantially built, or, in other words, continue sound proof, damp proof, and wind proof, unless the walls keep dry and plumb, the floor and roof timbers sit immovably upon their bearings, and the whole roof-covering remains staunch and impervious after the pelting downfall or searching storm ? All this is the legitimate outcome of sound jointing, and so is what is needful to the same desirable end as performed in finishing a building. Doors, windows, and floors will all be draughty unless well fitted and hung, or well laid and compacted, whilst the plasterer must leave no chinks nor the gasfitter leaks. Though good materials may show a better face, the magic influence of skilled labour, properly applied, irresistibly vindicates its supremacy, and turning middling ones to the best account, aggregates them into a noble structure, both safe and firm, or into a healthful and desirable abode.

In the compilation of this treatise no inconsiderable observation and experience have been supplemented by recourse to many standard works on the practice of building, without which aid few would have ventured on such a task. Whilst frankly acknowledging the obligation due to these and other kindred publications, the author would fain dispel the pardonable idea that their accumulated information leaves little room for further dissertation on the subject of jointing, for the following pages even present the great family of joints in a somewhat new aspect, augmented by fresh relatives and connections gathered out of old parts, processes, and contrivances. Thus, for instance, the well-known terms torching and flashing represent respectively a process and an object, yet characteristic joints accompany their adoption, and, analogically, it is as correct to speak of a torched or flashed joint as it is to denominate the outcome of mortising a mortised joint. At all events, in both cases a weather-tight joint is the result. Hence it has been considered the wisest course to incorporate these and others of corresponding extraction rather than exclude from a book wholly devoted to the explanation of joints any forms thereof having positive claims to be classed as such.

It only remains to append a list of the chief Works consulted in the preparation of this volume : -

Cresy's Encyclopaedia Of Civil Engineering

Spon's Dictionary of Engineering. - Rankine's Civil Engineering. - The Student's Practical Guide to Measuring and Valuing. - Barlow on the Strength of Materials. - Newland's Carpenter and Joiner's Assistant. - Barlow's Tred-gold's Carpentry. - Hellyer's Plumber and Sanitary Houses. - Building Construction, published by Rivington. - Latham's Sanitary Engineering. - Donaldson's Specifications. - Anderson's Strength of Materials. - Building Construction, by Burn. - Reid's Concrete. - Davy's Artificial Foundations. - Gwilt's Encyclopaedia of Architecture. - Bartholomew's Specifications. - Hutchinson's Girder Making and Bridge Building. - Campin's Iron Roofs. - Humber's Handy Book of Strains. - Matheson's Works in Iron. - Knight's Dictionary of Mechanics. - The Professional Periodicals. - Nicholson's Practical Carpentry and Joinery. - Nicholson's Practical Masonry, Bricklaying, and Plastering. - Buck's Oblique Bridges. - The Dictionary of Architecture.

And the following works in Weale's Rudimentary Series, viz.: -

Civil Engineering

Dictionary of Terms. - Drainage of Towns and Buildings. - Drainage of Districts and Lands. - Gas Works. - The Art of Building. - Masonry and Stonecutting. - Foundations and Concrete Work. - Practical Bricklaying. - Plumbing. - Roads and Streets. - Carpentry and Joinery. - Iron Bridges, Girders, Roofs, etc.

W. J. C.