The tools used in slojd teaching must be chosen with due regard to the pupil's capacity. They ought to be neither too large nor too heavy, but such as can be easily handled. It might perhaps be considered advisable to use tools slighter in make than those generally employed in slojd-carpentry, and the question might be raised whether such small tools as are to be found in "children's tool-boxes" should not be procured. Tools of this description are, however, usually too inferior to be taken into consideration at all; and, if specially ordered in a good quality, they would be much dearer than those sold in the ordinary course of trade. This applies particularly to tools made of iron or steel. Moreover, such small tools are particularly difficult to keep in order, because they are very slight and brittle. And further, a little experience in teaching proves that children from eleven to fourteen years of age require tools quite as substantial and durable as their elders. Whether or not a tool is too heavy depends upon the person who uses it, for one child may have the strength required to use a much heavier tool than can be used by another. In connection with this it should be noted, that if children are not accustomed, while receiving instruction, to use and to keep in order the tools used in ordinary life, it will be very difficult for them to. manage them when they are older. It may be objected that if children use the ordinary knife, saw, axe, etc., they may easily hurt themselves; but this is quite as likely to happen with "toy tools." Besides, it is the duty of the teacher to insist that the children pay attention to the manner of using the tools, and use them in such a way that they do not hurt themselves.
Choice of tools for slojd teaching.
Although we maintain that the tools used in slojd teaching should be of the size generally employed, it does not therefore follow that the largest size is to be selected, but rather that the smallest should be chosen, such as the little hands of the youthful pupil can efficiently wield without much trouble. The handle of the knife should not be larger than can be grasped, though the blade may be of the usual size. The smoothing plane should be 7 1/2 inches long and 2£ inches broad. The trying plane should not be unnecessarily long; 22 inches is long enough, though the breadth ought to be 3 1/2 inches, or broad enough for an iron of 2 1/2inches. If the trying plane is narrower, it is difficult to plane a surface of any size, and the smaller tool would occasion more work and trouble than one of the dimensions given above. The handles of chisels and similar tools should not be larger than is necessary. The axe should not weigh more than 2 lbs. The frames of the bow saws should be of the lighter description of those used in carpentry.
Size of tools.
As one of the aims of slojd teaching is to develop the physical powers of the pupil, each separate exercise must lead up to the next in such a way that the pupil proceeds from easier to more difficult work. But the most perfect gradation of exercises arranged on this principle will not ensure success if the teacher does not know how to choose suitable wood for the pupils' work, and does not take care that they have good tools in good condition. As we demand of the pupils work well executed and accurate in all its details, we are bound to see that they are provided with suitable wood and good tools.
As regards suitable wood, the reader is referred to Chapter II (Wood, Or Timber). It need be merely named here that the wood must be sound, well seasoned, straight in fibre, and, as far as possible, free from knots.
The tools selected should always be of the best quality, even if these should prove rather more expensive. Instead of buying a large number of inferior tools at once, a few good ones should be procured. But it is not enough to buy good tools, they must be kept in good order. Ability to keep tools in order is an indispensable qualification in a good teacher of slojd, for if he lacks skill in this respect his teaching will also lack one of the first conditions of success. There are two rather complicated tools which are particularly difficult to keep in order, i.e., the plane and the saiv. A great deal of energy is wasted in slojd teaching if the pupils work with badly set planes or with blunt saws. Hence special care should be bestowed on these tools.
Quality of tools.
Good tools indispensable.
Practice in grinding tools and keeping them in order must be included in the instruction given. Great demands in this respect must not be made at first, but they may be gradually increased until the pupils, at least towards the end of the course, are able to grind a plane iron and sharpen a saw. If this is expected of the pupils, so much the more must it be demanded of the teacher.
The description which follows attempts to give, to some extent, detailed knowledge of the tools which are used in educational wood-slojd, together with instructions for keeping them in good condition. The illustrations accompanying the description are taken from selected tools and appliances, and the scale is indicated by the fraction after the name of the figure. Want of space prevents the insertion of complete representations of all the tools, etc. A few illustrations of this kind, particularly of benches and of a cupboard for tools, have been added on separate plates at the end of the book, for the guidance of those who wish to make these articles. The technical names are, generally speaking, those employed in carpentry; but a proportion of the names of tools, exercises, and methods of manipulation, have originated and been adopted in the course of the development of slojd teaching.