When you set out to buy tools there is a golden rule to keep in mind; buy the best you can afford. The reason why two tools of similar appearance should have widely differing prices may not be immediately apparent, but it will come out in the long run. Good, reliable tools cannot be produced below a certain figure, and if you pay less than this you will be storing up trouble for yourself in precise ratio to the money you save now. The best plan is to go to a reliable tool merchant and cheerfully pay his cataloger prices.
You do not need a ‘complete kit’ straightway, if there is any such thing, but there are certain fundamental tools which you must have to be able to make a start. The following list, although it does not represent all the tools which a cabinet-maker needs for all branches of the craft, will enable you to do all the cabinet work you are likely to tackle. For simpler work, you will not need all of these, and those marked with an asterisk can be bought later as the occasion demands.
The question of machines necessarily arises.
- A cross-cut saw 61cm
- tenon saw 30cm
- dovetail saw 20cm
- bow saw
- keyhole saw about 28cm
- coping saw 15cm
- Cross-cut saw 61cm
- Panel saw 51cm
- Tenon saw 30cm
- Dovetail saw 20cm
- Coping saw
- Bow saw 30cm
- Keyhole saw about 28cm
To avoid the expense of two back saws, you can obtain one of 26cm. This will do for general bench work, dovetails, and small tenons, larger tenons being cut with the panel saw. It is better to have the two saws, however. The term ‘points’ refers to tooth size and is the number of tooth points contained in 25mm including those at both ends.
- Jack plane wood 54mm
- Fore plane metal 46cm long 60mm cutter
- Block plane, cutter 35mm.
- Smoothing plane, metal, 50mm or 60mm.
- Toothing plane 50mm
- Compass plane 44mm
- Rebate and fillister plane metal cutter 38 mm
- Shoulder plane 25mm
- Bullnose plane 25mm
- Plough plane metal or wood 3mm-12.7mm.
- Chisels and gouges
- Firmer chisels 3mm 6mm
- Sash mortise chisels 6mm
- Drawer-lock chisel Bevelled-edge chisels 19mm
- Outside-ground gouges
- Inside-ground gouges
- Obtain as required. Not used widely in cabinet work)
- Brace and bits
- Ratchet brace 20cm
- sweep Drill bits 3.2 mm
- Snail countersink 12.5mm
- Turnscrew bit Bradawls
- Twist bits 6mm
- Centre bits
- Rose countersink
- Expansion bit
- Wood spokeshave
- Wood rasp
- Marking gauge Cutting gauge Mortise gauge
We are not concerned with the large types used in the modern mass-production shop which, once set up, are used to turn out huge quantities of parts all to a pattern, but rather with the light type which the small cabinet-maker or the home craftsman might install to save time in the every-day jobs that constantly occur. Operations such as the ripping out of timber, edging, and thickness, and often mortising are seldom done by hand today.
One final word. Having paid a fair price, give your tools fair usage. Keep them in condition, and do not use them for work for which they were never intended. For further information on tools and machinery Tools For Woodwork in this series may prove helpful. Tools marked with an asterisk can occasion requires.
There are three general kinds of saws you need for the preliminary cutting of timber; backsaws for bench work, cutting joints and small work generally; and saws for cutting shapes, D, E and F. So far as their use is concerned, the same general rules apply to all. Firstly, do not force the saw in an effort to make it cut more quickly. It will probably result in the blade becoming buckled and may cause it to drift from the line. Little more power is needed than the effort of keeping the saw moving.
A certain pressure is required, even if only for the necessity of exercising positive control, but if the saw is not cutting as quickly as it should it probably needs sharpening. Secondly, start the cut properly. One of the chief causes of failure in sawing is due to the cut being started out of truth. The saw drifts from the line, and in an effort to correct it the blade is twisted, with the result that it becomes permanently buckled. At the start of the cut hold the handle low down towards the wood as this helps in aligning the blade with the marked line. Remember that both handsaws and back saws are intentionally put into a state of tension during their manufacture, and buckling a saw interferes with this with disastrous results.
If you wish to sharpen your own saws, make a start on one with large teeth. Dovetail saws are extremely difficult to sharpen, and the cost of putting ‘ right a saw which has been badly sharpened is more than what you may have saved in doing your own sharpening. The most usual way of using the handsaw is with the wood supported upon a box trestle, or upon the bench.
former operation in which a worker is cross-cutting a board. Note how the index finger points along the blade. This gives maximum control of the saw and is a rule applying to back-saws as well as handsaws. At the start the left hand grips the far edge of the board and the thumb bears against the blade, whilst a few short strokes are made to get the saw started in the right direction. As soon as a reasonable start has been made the short strokes are changed for long, even ones, the thumb of the left hand still bearing against the saw blade until the saw has entered the wood about its own depth. The reason for keeping the thumb against the blade is safety; if the blade should jump out of its Cerf the thumb prevents it from jigging across the knuckles. When sawing on the bench a hand screw is used to hold the wood still. When cutting on trestles the knee bears down on the wood to steady it. As the end of the cut is reached bring the left hand over the saw and support the over-hanging end.
The procedure of ripping a board on the trestles is similar. It is necessary, however, to shift the board forward after a few centimeter have been swan so as to clear the trestles. When
- Cross-cutting a board resting on a box or trestles.
- Supporting the overhang when completing the cut.
- Overhand ripping on the bench.
- Sawing wood to size to allow for trimming.
There is a second method of ripping frequently used by cabinet-makers known as overhand rip ping. To start the cut the saw is held at a slight upward angle at the near corner and a few strokes made. It is then held with both hands in the manner shown. The method is less back-breaking than the other, and enables you to judge better whether the saw is being held upright. Note that the work must be held down with hand screws.
We may note here a detail which applies to most sawing operations. When wood is marked out, whether it be with the gauge or pencil, it is in-variably to the finished size. It is clear, then, that it would not do to saw right on the line because it would result in the work finishing too small. Instead, the saw is held on the waste side of the line so that the latter is just left in. This enables the work to be trimmed to the final size with the plane. Fig. 5 shows the idea.