If there is one DON'T that should be impressed more than any other on the mind of the amateur carpenter it is DON'T HURRY. Before touching a single piece of wood be sure you know exactly what is required and what you are going to do. Success in this sort of work lies in not starting until you have a clear and vivid mental picture of each part of the thing you are going to make and not stopping until you have made it look exactly like that picture.

Mark out the necessary lines with a sharp pencil, and as you cut away the extra wood, forget all about the other pieces, and work on the one in hand just as though everything depended on IT. If you have an interest in what you are doing and will not hurry or become impatient, there can only be one result and that will be delightfully surprising.

One should remember that wood seldom comes from the mill exactly according to stated measurements, so that it is always advisable to prepare the principal pieces first and then accurately fit the others in place as the work proceeds.


All figures refer to dimensions in inches, and the conventional sign has accordingly been omitted.

In the squared diagrams each of the small squares represents exactly one inch.


The most satisfactory wood for making the many useful little articles described in the fore part of this book is soft pine. This wood is inexpensive, cuts easily and may be had quite free from knots. Often some suitable material may be had by taking apart grocery boxes, although these are frequently planed smooth only on the outside. The best plan is to go to the planing mill, where one can usually get quite a little stock of odds and ends at a very small cost. Among these there should be a few small boards of assorted thicknesses, such as one-quarter, three-eighths and half inch stuff.

For the larger pieces oak is the most desirable and durable wood, particularly for furniture. Mahogany and walnut are beautiful woods, but are so expensive as to render their use prohibitive. Poplar is a wood that works easily and may often be used to good advantage in the construction of drawers and other parts of furniture not usually exposed. Cedar also works easily and takes a fine finish, but is readily marred.

Before beginning the construction of the larger pieces the drawings and descriptions should be carefully studied, and a list of the necessary pieces accurately made out, so that they may all be ordered at once. This will result in securing a more uniform stock, both as to grade and thickness.

Always keep a good assortment of brads and finishing nails on hand. Never use old bent nails. They are difficult to drive straight, and new ones cost only a few cents a pound. Many a piece has been split by attempting to use a nail that is not the proper size.

Sandpaper in different degrees of fineness should also be kept in stock.


The adjoining page shows the principal tools required. For most of the simple pieces one can get along quite well with only a hammer, saw and a sharp knife. Do not under any circumstances buy a box of cheap tools simply because there are a great many of them, for it is always much better to buy good tools one at a time as one can afford them.

A good carborundum stone that cuts rapidly and an oil stone for finishing will later be found very necessary, as it is impossible to do good work and make reasonable progress with dull tools. As the work proceeds a bench having a carpenter's vise will be found a great convenience. Manual training supply houses now furnish small benches that embody many useful features and take up but little room.

A glue pot, with an outer water jacket to prevent burning, while not necessary, simplifies the preparation of glue, and a pair of wooden screw clamps are almost indispensable where a strong joint is desired.