This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
These are very few in number. The first requisite is an ordinary table for supporting the work, which latter is held tight by clamps such as have already been described (p. 106), the jaw of the clamp being prevented from coming into contact with the fretwood by the intervention of a " rest," formed of a slot of deal about 20 in. long,. 6 in. wide, 1 in. thick, and having a triangular piece cut out of one end, so as to form a couple of legs : the saw is worked in the crutch of the fork, and thus the "rest" helps to sustain the fretwood against the force of the sawing. For making a hole to admit the saw, recourse may be had to a bradawl (p. 246) or to a small archimedean drill (p. 248), the latter being preferable, and capable of doing much useful work by the aid. of a set of drills.
Of saws there is an endless variety, reaching in price from 1s. 6d. to 5l. or 61. The small hand-saws with a set of blades are best for beginners; the expensive machine saws, such as the Fleetwood, Challenge or Rival can only be appreciated and used to advantage by skilled manipulators, in whose hands they do wonderful work. A very useful little machine with a dexter treadle, costing 25s. without or 40s. with a table, is shown in Fig. 722. These saws are made of iron and steel throughout, except the bows and treadle-rods. They are very carefully made and fitted, and neatly finished; will hold the finest to coarsest saws, and will cut l 1/2-in. wood, if desired, but they are recommended for light work principally. The distance from saw to the back of frame is 12 1/2 in. The frame is a solid casting, provided with a clamp to secure it to a table or bench. The bows F, of hard ash, are fitted with iron plates on the back end. These plates have knife edges, carefully made, upon which the bows rock with little or no friction. The front ends of the bows are fitted with pivoted steel screw clamps, A, B, for holding all sizes of saws. The plates on which these swing are adjustable, so that the pitch of the saw can be altered if desired, or corrected if it does not run straight.
The straining rod D is provided with a cupped nut C containing a spiral spring. This and the stop in the back end of the frame hold the upper saw arm still, and the lower one in place, when from any cause the saw is disconnected. The machine is sold by Churchills, Finsbury, together with many other forms.
The edges left by the saw need filing down, for which purpose the operator will require a round file about 4 in. long, and half-round and flat files each 2 to 4 in. long. The filing is followed by the application of sandpaper. In this there is some art. The sandpaper should never be held in the fingers. If the work is very small, the sheet of sandpaper should be fastened down on a smooth surface and the work be rubbed on it with a circular motion. If larger, the sandpaper may be stretched round a smooth slab of wood 4 in. long, 3 in. wide, and 3/8 in. thick, and secured by clamping a corresponding slab to the back of the first, making what may be called a "sand board." Or the paper may be glued to a smooth wooden cylinder and used in a lathe if at hand.