Two kinds of planes will be found useful for smoothing and truing up lumber. The jack place is designed to cut with the grain, the block plane across the grain. The jack plane is about 14 inches in length and is held in either of the two manners shown (fig. 74). The depth of cut is determined by moving the adjusting nut. To insure an even shaving, sight along the bottom of the plane and move the lateral adjusting lever until the blade is parallel with the bottom. While the jack plane can, if necessary, be used to cut across grain on the end of a board, the block plane is easier to manipulate (fig. 75). It is held in one hand with the forefinger on the finger rest. Do not attempt to plane all the way across the end of a board or you will split the far edge. Instead, work from each edge towards the center.
The best chisel for general work is the kind known as a "firmer" with a beveled blade. It comes in many sizes, but a 1/4-inch and a 3/4-inch chisel will fill most needs. The chisel is extremely useful in small cutting and shaping operations and may be used in many different ways. Some of these are demonstrated in the illustration (fig. 76).
The main thing to remember in chiseling is that wood always tends to split in the direction of the grain. Cuts must always be planned so that if the wood splits it will take out only a portion that is to be removed anyway. It is also important to realize that when a beveled-edge chisel is hammered verticalry into wood, it will leave a straight cut on the flat side of the blade, an angular cut on the beveled side. The latter should therefore always face the area to be removed. In horizontal chiseling or in working around a curve, a beveled edge, however, is generally used for cutting.
Filing wood gives a rather unpleasant surface and should be done sparingly, but wood files or rasps are occasionally indispensable for enlarging holes or smoothing out roughly chiseled curves. A slightly tapered half-round file of the type illustrated is best (fig. 77).
For rapid drilling of small holes, the hand drill with 6 or 8 bits of assorted sizes is recommended (fig. 78). The hole should be started with an awl to keep the bit from slipping. Pressure must be light and the crank turned at an even speed. Learn to hold the drill steady so that the hole will be straight. If the drill is permitted to wobble the hole will be enlarged and the bit may break.
More important than the hand drill, is the ratchet brace with assorted augur bits (fig. 79). It can be used for much larger holes than the hand drill and will also take a screw-driver bit and a countersink bit. In an emergency it can even handle the small smooth-shanked bits designed for the hand drill. For vertical drilling, the brace is held in the position illustrated. For horizontal drilling, the top of the brace can be held against the stomach. A try square may be placed next to the bit as a guide in keeping the drill vertical. When boring through a plank, the augur bit has a tendency to split the wood as it emerges on the bottom. To avoid this, stop drilling as soon as the point, or spur, of the bit comes through the bottom. Turn the board over and finish the hole by drilling from the reverse.
When holes are to be drilled to a certain depth, a convenient attachment is the bit gauge illustrated which stops the bit automatically when it has reached the depth for which the gauge is set (fig. 80). The same illustration shows an improvised gauge made from a block of wood or a dowel. The use of the screw-driver and countersink bits is described in that part of the manual describing nailing and screwing.
The commonest method of assembling wooden articles is by nailing.A 13-oz. claw hammer with a slightly curved face is recommended. The almost headless finishing nail is best for fine work. It can be countersunk, that is driven below the surface of the wood, with a nail set and the hole puttied or filled with plastic wood (fig. 81).
The corrugated fastener or wiggle nail is used to fasten mitred joints or in airy edge to edge joining where appearance is not important or where the surface on which the nail is used will be hidden, as in the under side of a table top. The saw edged type is best for soft wood. In some corrugated fasteners the flutes are canted so that they pull the joints tight as they are hammered in (fig. 82).
Screws hold more securely than nails and should be used wherever there is a considerable strain on a joint. The flat-headed screw is the most generally useful although many other types are available. The screw driver's metal shank should run all the way through the handle and should be of a good grade of steel. When working with soft wood and short screws which need not penetrate deeply, as in screwing on a hinge or fastening, it is possible to start the screw by making a small hole with an awl (fig. 83). In most cases, however it is necessary to drill holes for the screws; this is particularly important near the ends of boards where splitting will occur if the screws arc turned directly into the wood.
The professional way of screwing two boards together is illustrated (fig. 84). First, holes are bored through the top piece with a drill of the same diameter as the shank, or unthreaded portion of the screw. Second, the hole is enlarged on the surface with a countersink so that the head of the screw will lie flush with or slightly below the surface when it is turned in. Third, a hole slightly smaller in diameter than the threaded part of the screw is bored in the bottom piece. The last step shows how the screw is turned in with the screw driver held vertically so that its tip fits squarely in the slot.