A large portion of what formerly constituted joiner's work is now done at the mills or woodworking shops, so that the joiner's trade as distinguished from the carpenter's is now confined, in this country at least, to those who work at the cabinet maker's bench or in the shop, the carpenters, as a rule, doing that portion of the work that has to be done at the building. This work consists principally of smoothing and cleaning, joining and putting up the work, the stairs being usually built by a separate class of workmen.
Smoothing and Polishing. - All mouldings, except in rare instances where a small quantity and a special pattern are required, are now run or "stuck" by machinery at a moulding mill, and all plane surfaces are usually mill planed. Moulding and planing by machinery is usually done by revolving knives, under which the work is drawn by fluted cylinders whose edges, in order to obtain a firm grip of the piece, press so strongly against it as to cause slight transverse indentations on the prominent portions, which injure its appearance very seriously, unless the marks are subsequently smoothed off. Plane surfaces also often have small ridges running parallel with the grain, and the surface is rough, especially with the harder woods.
In very cheap work the finish is put up as it comes from the machine, with the indentations and rough surfaces, but for buildings where a good finish is desired, the specifications should require that all finishing lumber be smoothed and sandpapered before putting up, as, unless it is specified, the carpenter may refuse to do it.
In the case of mouldings, the smoothing is usually done with sandpaper, although the raised flat surfaces should be smoothed with a plane. All plane surfaces, such as the face of bases, casings, beaded ceiling, etc., should be smoothed with a smoothing plane, and the hard woods should be scraped with a piece of hard steel made for the purpose.
Most of the large woodworking establishments have machines which polish the plane surfaces by passing them between steel rollers, one of which is covered with fine sandpaper. Work finished in this way is superior to that smoothed by hand, but very little polished work is sent to the building, except where it is worked or put together at the shop. Paneled and stair work, cases, mantels, etc., are generally made at a shop, and such work is always smoothed before being put together.