To the carpenter and contractor there is nothing of more importance than accurate estimating, for it is one on which success in business largely depends. What is it worth ? is a question very frequently asked the carpenter, and he is expected to know at once everything about a building. What is it worth to build a house like Mr. Blank's? What is it worth to build a porch on my house? What is it worth to build a bay window on my house? How much more will it cost to put sliding doors in my house than folding doors? Similar questions by the hundred are daily asked the carpenter, and the persons inquiring naturally expect a prompt answer and a reliable estimate. The question, What is it worth? is often a difficult one to answer, and when applied to a hundred different things it is no wonder the carpenter finds himself beset with difficulties. That thousands of mechanics have long felt the need of some reliable and practical method of estimating material and labor required in building there can be no doubt.
To make an estimate for a building always requires a careful consideration of the plans and specifications, as well as a considerable amount of figuring. Practical experience and personal familiarity with every item that enters into the construction of a building is what every man needs in order to become a good estimator; yet this is no reason why he cannot learn or profit from the experience of others. In this hustling, bustling age of the world the easiest, quickest and surest way of estimating is needed. Such a method can only be acquired by close attention to business, adopting means and methods which will be a safeguard against mistakes and by learning to estimate actual quantities. Before proceeding further with this subject it will be well to explain some of the principal terms used in measuring distances, surfaces and solids.