The tool box should contain a few ordinary tools, such as a hammer - two sizes preferable - a screw driver, gimlet, awl, pliers, a saw, a chisel, and plane. A key-hole saw is light and convenient. The hammer should bear some relationship in size to the nail to be driven. A large hammer and a small nail results in the proverbial bruised fingers. Even a carpenter cannot saw perfectly straight unless he draws a line to guide him.
In putting in screws, screw eyes and the like, especially in hard wood, it is first necessary to have a hole nearly as deep as the screw to be used. This should be made with a gimlet for large screws and an awl for small screws. There is then no difficulty in inserting the screw to its full length. Frequently a screw too large or too long is used when a small one will hold all weight required. The nails and screws that have accumulated are all that are to be found in most households. A few cents invested at a hardware store in nails, screws, hooks, etc., of assorted sizes will prove a good investment and may remove the inertia which is so hard to overcome in making small changes.
The repair box should certainly contain a bottle or tube of liquid glue for mending furniture and toys. A thin coating of glue will,hold more securely than a thick one. Success in gluing is dependent on bringing the parts to be glued as near together as possible and keeping them in position until the glue sets. China which must be washed can be repaired by the use of thick shellac varnish. Although this has not as strong adhesive properties as glue, it will not dissolve in warm water, and pieces that one hesitates to throw away because of a small nick may be kept in use until serious accident happens.
Furniture polish, alcohol, turpentine and floor wax are useful in removing scratches and stains from furniture, floors, and woodwork.
A furniture polish recommended by an old furniture man consisted of equal parts boiled linseed oil, Japan drier, and turpentine. It should be applied with a linen cloth and rubbed until dry.
The care of the floors has been mentioned and that in general applies to the hardwood finish all over the house. Remember that in polishing, all woods should be rubbed with the grain. Weathered oak and mahogany furniture may be kept in the best condition by a weekly application of a pure oil, rubbed on well, always with the grain. To keep mahogany as did our forbears, good, hard rubbing is the essential.
Varnish may be removed, in preparation to revarnishing, by means of one of the many "varnish removers" to be obtained at any good paint store. These contain amyl alcohol, amyl acetate and other sglvents which have a rather disagreeable odor, but they are not caustic and so are more convenient to use than caustic soda and other strong chemical varnish removers. The solvents soften the varnish which then may be easily scraped off with a knife or scraper.