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Title: A Manual of the Hand Lathe - Comprising Concise Directions for Working Metals of All - Kinds, Ivory, Bone and Precious Woods
Author: Watson, Egbert Pomeroy
Language: English
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                                 OF THE

                              HAND LATHE:


                           CONCISE DIRECTIONS



                          BY EGBERT P. WATSON,


                           406 WALNUT STREET.
                      SAMPSON LOW, SON & MARSTON,
                     CROWN BUILDINGS, 188 FLEET ST.


       Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by

                           HENRY CAREY BAIRD,

  In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States, in
             and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


                            TO MY DEAR SON,

                         EGBERT PERLEY WATSON,

                               I DEDICATE

                           THIS LITTLE BOOK,

                                 IN THE

                    HOPE THAT HE MAY BE A GOOD MAN,

                          AND A GOOD MECHANIC.




I did not write this little book with the intention of apologizing to
the prospective reader, so soon as I had done so, but with the honest,
I hope not egotistical, feeling that I had something to say that was
not generally known. We live to learn and to impart what we know to
others, and I have taken this method of giving my experience in a
pastime that is elevating, artistic in every sense of the word, and a
wholesome relief from the cares of business.

In regard to the work itself, I can show samples of every thing of any
importance described or given in it. I have not made all of the
patterns given in the back part, for that is mere routine, but in
gross, and in most details, the book is the result of experience, and
will be found reliable _as far as it goes_. That it does not cover
every possible change and use to which the lathe can be put, I am well

Something must be left for the workman to find out himself. Neither
have I given any recipes for varnishes, for those cannot be made by
inexperienced persons. Moreover, they can be had so cheaply and
universally, that it is mere folly for any amateur to make them.

Saluting all persons who love the art of which this little volume is

          I am their sincere friend,

                                                   EGBERT P. WATSON.

    NEW YORK, _April 15, 1869_.



                               CHAPTER I.
 THE FOOT LATHE                                                       13

                              CHAPTER II.
 TOOLS                                                                22

                              CHAPTER III.
 SCRAPERS, ETC                                                        30
 CHASING AND SCREW CUTTING                                            33

                              CHAPTER IV.
 CHASERS, ETC                                                         35

                               CHAPTER V.
 CHUCKING                                                             42

                              CHAPTER VI.
 METAL SPINNING                                                       51

                              CHAPTER VII.
 ORNAMENTAL CUTTING                                                   59
 TO MAKE A PAIR OF SOLITAIRE SLEEVE BUTTONS                           59

                             CHAPTER VIII.
 CENTRES                                                              65

                              CHAPTER IX.
 FANCY TURNING                                                        71

                               CHAPTER X.
 ORNAMENTAL WOODS                                                     77
 VARIETIES                                                            77
 SNAKE WOOD                                                           78
 TULIP WOOD                                                           79
 GRANADILLA                                                           80
 TAMARIND                                                             80
 CAM WOOD                                                             81
 BOX WOOD                                                             81
 LAUREL ROOT                                                          82
 WHITE HOLLY                                                          82
 EBONY                                                                82
 OLIVE WOOD                                                           83
 SANDAL WOOD                                                          83
 ROSE WOOD                                                            84
 CURLED MAPLE                                                         84
 BIRDS’ EYE MAPLE                                                     84
 TREATMENT                                                            85

                              CHAPTER XI.
 WOOD TURNING                                                         87

                              CHAPTER XII.
 TOOLS FOR WOOD TURNING                                               90

                             CHAPTER XIII.
 TOOL TEMPERING, ETC.                                                 92

                              CHAPTER XIV.
 ARTISTIC WOOD TURNING                                                96

                              CHAPTER XV.
 STAMP INLAYING                                                      102

                              CHAPTER XVI.
 DESIGNS IN MOSAIC                                                   106

                             CHAPTER XVII.
 FINISHING THE OUTSIDE                                               110

                             CHAPTER XVIII.
 INLAYING CONTINUED                                                  114
 GLUING IN VENEERS                                                   115
 IVORY                                                               116
 POLISHING                                                           118
 DYEING IVORY                                                        118

                              CHAPTER XIX.
 ORNAMENTAL DESIGNS FOR INLAYING                                     121

                              CHAPTER XX.
 GENERAL SUMMARY                                                     125
 LACQUERS                                                            126
 SOLDERING                                                           127
 VARNISHING AND POLISHING                                            129
 BRUSHES                                                             131
 PEARL                                                               131
 MISCELLANEOUS TOOLS                                                 131
 CURVING VENEERS                                                     132
 CUTTING MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS                                     133
 INDEX                                                               135


                           OF THE HAND LATHE.


                               CHAPTER I.

                            THE FOOT LATHE.

There are two distinct kinds of work done in foot lathes—the useful
and the merely ornamental. Both afford enjoyment and profit to those
who practise them. The mechanic who earns his living by working ten
hours a day in a workshop, does not care to go home and pursue the same
calling in the evening; but he can institute an agreeable change in his
life, beautify his dwelling, and cultivate his taste, by the use of the
lathe, and thus obtain ornaments that would cost large sums if
purchased at the stores; or he may, indeed, make the lathe a source of
revenue, and sell the product of his skill and ingenuity at high prices
to those who admire, but have not the ability to construct.

To many mechanics, even, the lathe is merely a machine for turning
cylinders or disks, or executing beads, ogees, scrolls, or curves of
various radii, so that, after all, the work is pretty much alike, and
ceases to be attractive. This is quite a mistaken view. There are no
such goods in market as those made on lathes, and peculiar tools used
in connection with them—by lathes with traversing mandrels, with
geometric chucks, with dome chucks, and compound slide rests. There are
lathes that, while one could chase up a five-eight bolt in them as well
as on the simple pulley and treadle machine, are also capable of
executing all sorts of beautiful things—vases with bases nearly
square, or exactly square, with round tops and hexagonal bodies, with
gracefully-curved angular sides and bases, fluted vertically; boxes
with curious patterns, resembling basket work; in fact, any combination
of straight and curved lines, cut in the sides, it is possible for an
ingenious man to invent. Strictly speaking, these are not lathes, for
in order to do the things before mentioned it is necessary to use after
attachments in connection with them, so that the combination of them
produces the results spoken of. There is, absolutely, an unlimited
field for the genius of workmen to exert itself in designing patterns
and executing work of an ornamental character.

All ornamental work resolves itself into movements of three
kinds—angular, circular and straight. From the combination of these
with each other, the times where they merge and emerge, where a
movement of one kind changes into any other, where an ellipse becomes
part of a circle, where circles are generated across the circumferences
of other circles, where these patterns are drawn over and upon each
other without destroying the character of either—we say, by such
movements, and many others which it would be confusing to follow, the
most beautiful forms are made.

Or, if the taste of the workman runs upon mechanical instead of
artistic things, there are steam engines to be made, steam boilers to
be spun up, of small size; in fact, any piece or machine that can be
thought of.

It is almost unnecessary to specify the innumerable kinds of work that
can be done in a hand lathe, but the amateur who delights in metal
turning may make trinkets of all kinds for his friends, that shall vie
in beauty with the best efforts of the jeweler and goldsmith. This, of
course, is dependent on the material used, the taste of the workman,
and his originality of conception. Pins for ladies’ wear can be made of
boxwood and ebony, glued together in sections, of all designs, and
afterwards turned in beads and mouldings, or otherwise ornamented in a
chuck, as will be shown hereafter. Sleeve buttons can be made of ebony
and silver, ivory and silver, pearl and gold, or any combination that
is desired. Chess and checker men also afford a chance to display
skill. And, besides these, special work of any nature is within the
capacity of the machine.

There is no family in this country that would not find it economy to
have a foot lathe in the house, where the members have mechanical
tastes—not necessarily the male members, for ladies use foot lathes,
in Europe, with the greatest dexterity. Some of the most beautiful work
ever made, was by Miss Holtzapfel, a relative of the celebrated
mechanist of the same name. If there are shovels to be mended, the
lathe will drill the holes and turn the rivets. If the handle of the
saucepan is loose, it will do the same. If scissors or knives want
grinding, there is the lathe; if the castors on the sofa break down,
there is the lathe; if skates need repairs, either of grinding or of
any other kind, there is the lathe. In short, it ought to be as much a
part of domestic economy as the sewing machine, for it takes the odd
stitches in the mechanical department that save money.

Let not the inexperienced reader, who hears of a lathe for the first
time, be frightened at this array of terms, or diverted from the use of
it by the recital. In its simple form, as shown in Fig. 1, it is
readily understood, and, after a little practice, easily managed by any
one, and, after the first few weeks, the amateur will realize the
fruits of his application.

[Illustration: Fig. 1.]

At first, it had not even a continuous rotary motion, but the spindle
was driven by a belt worked by a spring pole or its equivalent. The
belt was rolled round the spindle, and the pole allowed to spring up;
the spindle then revolved the length of the belt, or rope, for belts
were not thought of, and the operation was repeated, the work being
done only when the force of the spring pole revolved the spindle and
the job the right way.

Foot lathes had, prior to the introduction of the engine lathe, been
used on very heavy work. It is but a few years, comparatively
speaking—not twenty—since cast-iron shafts, six, eight, and ten
inches in diameter, were turned in such lathes. For all that we know to
the contrary, many jobs, far exceeding this in size, have been thus

In some shops, there are still standing heavy oaken shears, made of
timber twenty inches deep, and four or six inches wide, faced with
boiler iron, and in the racks above there are long-shanked tools, with
which the men of old were wont to do the work.

These lathes are never used now, except for drilling holes, or for
apprentices to practice on, but they serve to show what machinists had
to do in olden times, when there were no vise benches to sit on and
watch the chips curling off the tool, as men do now.

[Illustration: Fig. 2.]

Hand lathes are not in great favor in large machine shops. They are not
used, or should not be, for any purpose except drilling, and then they
are no longer hand lathes, but horizontal drilling machines. There is
no simple work to be done on a hand lathe that could not be performed
to better advantage and more cheaply on a machine constructed for the

Some large machine shops keep a hand lathe going continually, cutting
off stud bolts, facing and rounding up nuts, and similar work. This
does not seem profitable. A machine to do this work would do more, of a
better quality, than hand labor could.

The foot lathe—the terms hand and foot lathe are synonymous—is
generally used, at the present time, by small machinists, manufacturers
of gas fixtures, amateurs, etc.; men who do not work a lathe
constantly, but are called off to braze or solder, or, perhaps, to fit
some detail with a file. For these uses the foot lathe is one of the
cheapest of tools; for the same person that does the work furnishes the
power also, so that a man working on a foot, or hand lathe, as it is
often called, ought to have first-class wages. Moreover, a first-rate
foot lathe turner is always a good mechanic, for it takes no small
degree of dexterity to perform the several jobs with ease, and
dispatch, and certainty. To always get hold of the right tool, to use
the same properly, so that it will last a reasonable time without being
ground or tempered, to rough-turn hollow places with a square edge, to
chase a true thread to the right size every time, without making a
drunken one, or a slanting one, to make a true thread inside of an oil
cup or a box—all these several tasks require good judgment, dexterity,
and a steady hand. Of course, where a slide-rest is used, the case is
different. We allude, specially, to a cutting tool managed by the hand.

To do all these things, however, it is necessary to have tools, and
good ones, or none. It is an old saying, that a bad workman quarrels
with his tools, but a good workman has a right to quarrel with bad
tools, if he is furnished with them, through chance or design. It is
impossible to execute good work with a dull tool, one badly shaped, or
unsuited to the purpose, and, therefore, it is important to set out
right at the beginning.

There is no tool more efficient in the hands of a good workman, than
the diamond point, Fig. 2, here shown. For roughing off a piece of
metal, for squaring up the end, for facing a piece held in the chuck,
for running out a curve, or rounding up a globe, it is equally well
adapted. It may be truly called the turner’s friend.

                              CHAPTER II.


Any one who has watched a novice at work on a lathe, must have remarked
the difficulty he has in controlling the tool and keeping up the motion
of the treadle at the same time. The two operations are difficult to
“get the hang of,” to use a homely phrase; but once conquered, the work
can proceed. The natural tendency is to slack up or stop the motion of
the treadle while the tool is engaged, and the tool is, therefore, at
one time under the work, at another time above it, at another jumping
rankly in, until, finally, the piece goes whirling out of the center or
the chuck, and the operator flushes all over at his awkwardness.

This, of course, is remedied by practice; and as this work is written
mainly for the information of beginners and amateurs, we hope that
experts and those who know all about hand lathes, will excuse allusion
to such simple things as holding the tool properly, and kindred matters.

The lathe must be of such a height as the workman finds convenient, so
that he is not obliged to stoop much, and, at the same time, low enough
to allow the weight of the body to be thrown on the tool when hard work
is to be done. The speed of the lathe ought to be very high on the
smallest cone, and there should be three speeds, at least, for
different work. The object is to regulate the velocity of the work in
the lathe, and keep the motion of the treadle uniform, as near as may
be, at all times. It distresses a workman greatly, when chasing a fine
thread on a small diameter, if he has to tread fast to get up the
proper speed, as he does when there are only two speeds. On the
contrary, for larger jobs, it is difficult to keep up a rotary motion
if the foot moves slowly, as it must in order not to burn the tool by a
high velocity on some kinds of work. Foot lathes, in general, are not
geared, although some are, and ought to have wider ranges of speed than
they do. Where one class of work is done, however, it makes little
difference, but for general turning, the speeds should vary.

Another difficulty experienced by beginners is in holding the tool
still—_rigidly so_. They allow it to “bob” back and forth against the
work, if it runs untrue, so that it is impossible to make a job. The
tool must be held hard down, as if it grew to the rest, and never
moved, nor receded, until the cut begun is finished.

The “rest” should be of soft, wrought iron, since that material holds a
tool with more tenacity; imposing less strain on the arms of the
operator. It should be dressed off smooth as often as it gets badly
worn, or cut by indentations. Cast iron is not good, and steel is not
so good as wrought iron. A special rest should be kept for chasing
threads with, since the least obstacle is enough, when running up a
fine thread, to divert the chaser and spoil the job, by making a
drunken thread. If we now suppose the lathe to be in good order, the
centers true and well-turned to a gauge, the rod (if that is the job)
between them and properly “dogged,” the centers oiled, and the rest at
the right height, we shall be all ready to start. The rest should be
high enough to bring the point of the tool a little above the center.

[Illustration: Fig. 3.]

To rough off the outside, and make it run true, is the first step, and
the tool must, therefore, be held as in Fig. 3, or so that the point
and part of the edge alone engage with the work. This will take off a
thin, spiral cut, without springing the shaft or making it untrue. The
whole surface of the shaft must be thus run over, beginning at the
right hand and shifting the tool as fast as one part is turned. The
tool should not be moved rigidly in a straight line toward the belt,
but by holding it hard down on the rest, so that the bottom edge bears
as in Fig. 2, and rocking the tool on that angle, so that the point
describes a curve, as in Fig. 4, the work will be turned evenly and

[Illustration: Fig. 4.]

We must remark, in passing, that the person who reads these directions,
and then undertakes to turn by them, will find that reading how to do a
thing, and doing it, are two different matters.

It looks very nice to see a skater darting over the ice at his ease,
but try it once, and, if you never knew before, you will understand
what experience means. Trying to teach a person to be a turner, in a
book, is analogous. One can only indicate the general method, and leave
experience to do the rest.

[Illustration: Fig. 5.]

After the whole surface has been run over, the same tool may be used on
the flat side for reducing the work to one diameter throughout the
length. The reader must not assume that there is no other tool than a
diamond point; he will find many others adverted to, as we proceed.

[Illustration: Fig. 6.]

It is most important that the ends of a rod or shaft should be squared
up first, before the body is turned, for the removal of some slight
inequality subsequently may cause the whole shaft to run out of truth.
The center must be drilled with a small drill, and slightly
countersunk. When the end is squared up, the center must be run back a
little, so that the tool point may project over the drilled hole, and
thus make it all true about the center, as in Fig. 5. This will make
the work push over to one side of the center, but that is of no
consequence. Let it run as it will; so long as it does not come out of
the centers there need be no apprehension.

Fig. 6, is another kind of roughing tool, to do heavier work with.

[Illustration: Fig. 7.]

There are two kinds of tools used in foot lathes, called straight and
heel tools. Fig. 7 is a heel tool. It is so called from the heel which
is forged on the lower end. One form of the straight tool has already
been shown. The heel tool is used on heavy work, and the object of it
is apparent, namely, to hold on the rest, and so impose but little
labor on the workman to retain it in place, or prevent it from
receding. It is generally forged from half inch or five eighth steel.
The steel is held in a handle twenty inches long, grooved on top to fit
the steel, and furnished with a handle at right angles. This handle has
a square eye in the top that the tool passes through. A nut at the end
of it screws up the eye and binds the tool fast in the groove, so that
it cannot slip.

It is given complete in Fig. 7. The lower handle enables the workman to
have great power over the edge, and to direct it from or to the work
without danger of catching. The tool is used by resting the end on the
shoulder, as in Fig. 8, and turning the lowest handle. Since the heel
holds the tool from slipping, there is no occasion to bear against it.
In fact, there is no occasion, at any time, to force the tool from the
workman, but it must be turned sideways, back and forth. A piece,
properly centered, may be cut in any way without destroying its truth.

[Illustration: Fig. 8.]

                              CHAPTER III.

                             SCRAPERS, ETC.

To suit different kinds of work, as previously stated, various tools
are needed, but the reader must not expect to see them all illustrated
in this book. The workman will learn what tools he needs, and make them
for himself, which will be of more advantage to him than engravings
could be. The tools here shown, will be found very useful in different

[Illustration: Fig. 9.]

Fig. 9 is the end of a thin-edged, flat scraper, and is chiefly to be
used on brass work. It may be of any length and size, but for small
lathes, and light work, it is cheaper and handier to make it of thin
sheet steel, one eighth or one tenth of an inch thick, and to form the
reverse end into a round nose, or half-circle scraper.

[Illustration: Fig. 10.]

It often happens that fillets or hollows occur, as in finishing
ornamental brass work, in connection with flat surfaces. By having such
a tool as this, the necessity of laying one tool down and picking up
another, is obviated, for the two are combined in one. For iron work,
it is customary to use a heavier and thicker tool for finishing. As in
Fig. 10, the front edge is slightly raised or concave, to make it sharp
and hold a cut well. All turning tools for finishing iron are made
thicker than those for brass, and should have lips, or curved cutting
edges. Such tools cannot be used for brass, as they are too sharp; the
edges jump into the metal and spoil the work.

A tool for scraping brass work of some kinds is made as shown in Figs.
11 and 12.

[Illustration: Fig. 11.]

[Illustration: Fig. 12.]

There is no occasion to make the ends at different angles, except the
convenience, before stated, of having four cutting edges on one piece,
for any angle can be easily given by the position of the hand or the
direction of the rest. These tools, here alluded to, are only to be
used when the job has been all turned true and the scale removed; they
_scrape_, merely, they do not cut.

Such tools sometimes save a few steps at a critical period; that is,
when the tool is well set and in place, so that the work is done better
and more expeditiously. Apart from this consideration, there is the
chance of cutting or injuring the hands, by the proximity of sharp
edges. Under the control of an expert, however, there is little danger
from this cause, as inspection will show. Skilful men that have worked
a lifetime at their trade, have few marks or scars on their hands, as a
general thing.

When these scrapers are used on cast iron, or, indeed, on brass of a
peculiar composition, they sometimes “chatter,” as it is called, and
leave the work full of deep, unsightly marks, like those on the edge of
coins. The cause of chattering is the rapid vibration of the tool, so
that it springs away from, and against the work, with great rapidity,
leaving traces of its edge on the work. Chattering may be prevented, by
putting a piece of sole leather on the rest, between it and the tool.

The tools with long handles are chiefly intended for heavy work, or
that which requires both hands to the cut, but there are smaller tools
than these, used by amateurs, wherein the common file handle, or one
like it, only a little longer, is employed instead.

                       CHASING AND SCREW CUTTING.

In an engine, or power lathe, all screws are cut by trains of gears, as
mechanics well know, but in the hand lathe, which was the first
machine, screws, both male and female, must be made by chasers or hubs,
both inside and outside. The chaser itself must be made first, however,
and that is done by a simple tool called “a hub.”

[Illustration: Fig. 13.]

[Illustration: Fig. 14.]

[Illustration: Fig. 15.]

The chaser is first forged in blank, for an outside chaser, as in Fig.
14, and as in Fig. 15 for an inside tool. It is then filed up, and held
against a hub, shown in Fig. 13, running in the lathe. This rapidly
cuts away the chaser blank, and forms the teeth in it perfectly. The
lines across it are spiral grooves, cut completely round from one side
to the other, so that the hub cuts the blank like any other tool. Fig.
16 represents the chaser.

[Illustration: Fig. 16.]

                              CHAPTER IV.

                             CHASERS, ETC.

It is not always an easy task to chase a true thread on a piece of
work, and even “the boldest holds his breath for a time,” if he has a
nice piece of work all done but the thread, and that in a critical
part. It is so easy to make a drunken thread, or one in which the
spirals are not true, but diverge or waver in their path around the
shaft, that many are made. That they are more common than true threads,
is well known to mechanics. To start a thread true is quite easy with
an inside chaser; for, strange as it may seem, it is seldom that a
drunken thread is made on inside work; only have the bore itself true,
and the chaser will run in properly. The case is different when a bolt
or shaft is to be cut. With fine threads, the slightest obstruction on
the rest will cause the chaser to catch and stop slightly. No matter
how slight the stoppage, it is certain to damage the thread. The injury
is more perceptible on fine threads than on coarse, for, in the former,
if the threads do not fit (as they will not if they are drunken, one
crossing the other, when both parts are put together), the drunken
thread will not come fair with the other. In coarse threads, however,
it will not be so apparent, for, by making the drunken thread smaller,
it will have play and accommodate itself to its place. This is not
workmanship, it is “make-shift.”

To chase a true thread the rest must be smooth and free from burrs or
depressions. Nice workmen keep a special rest, with a hard, polished
steel edge, expressly for this purpose.

If the chasers themselves are smoothly finished at the bottom, on an
emery wheel, they are all the better. With these precautions, and
others noted below, success is certain. When a thread is to be started,
take a fine diamond-pointed tool, and hold it on the end of the shaft
to be chased. Set the lathe going, and give the tool a quick twist with
the wrist, so that a spiral will be traced on the work, like Fig. 17.

[Illustration: Fig. 17.]

Some part of this will correspond with the pitch of the thread to be
cut, and there is less liability of making it drunken. By a little
practice, one is able to hit the pitch of the chaser exactly in making
a start.

“There is no trouble, after you once know how.” We have chased
quantities of small screws, with forty-eight threads to the inch, and
not a sixteenth of one inch in diameter. If the chaser once hesitates
on such screws, they are spoiled. For heavy threads—seven and eight to
the inch, which is about as hard work as any one wants to do,—it is
the custom of some turners to use a tool with only two teeth, and some
use only a sharp-edged cutter, like Fig. 18, to deepen the thread, the
chaser being used afterward, to rectify the job. There is danger with
this tool, unless it is used by an expert, of digging out the thread,
so that the last end of it will be worse than the first.

[Illustration: Fig. 18.]

Another tool, used in chasing heavy threads, is a doctor. This consists
in having a fac-simile of the thread to be cut on the back of the
chaser, and in applying a short set screw behind, so that, as the iron
is cut away, the chaser may be followed up behind. Fig. 19 is the
doctor, but the follower opposite the chaser is too narrow, and should
be made nearly half a circle to avoid slipping; with this exception it
is all right.

These tools, and the screws made by them, are all inferior to those
made by lathes with traversing mandrels; that is, a mandrel which
slides in and out of the head stock, as in a Holtzapffel lathe.

[Illustration: Fig. 19.]

This lathe has a series of hubs, unlike the one shown previously,
slipped over the back end of the lathe spindle (furthest from the
workman) and a fixed nut on the head-stock, which, being put in
communication with the hub on the mandrel, drives the same in and out,
according to the direction the cone-pulleys are turned. Of course, with
such an attachment as this, there is no danger of making drunken
threads, for the hubs which start the threads, are cut with a train of
gears in an engine lathe, so that it is impossible for them to be
incorrect. Moreover, a square thread, or a V-shaped thread, can be made
with them, which is not the case with common chasers.

In lathes that have traversing mandrels to cut screws, the tool itself
remains stationary, but as this is obviously a disadvantage in many
kinds of work, it is far better to have the tool advance and the
mandrel revolve as usual. By this plan much time is saved, a greater
range of work is possible with the same gear, and a piece that is
chucked, or one that is between the centers, can be cut with equal

Any common lathe can be rigged to do this by putting a shell on the
back end of the mandrel, between the pulley and the set screw, and
slipping the hub over the shell, with a feather, to keep it from
turning. To take a thread from this hub, a round bar must be set
parallel with the shears, in easy-working guides. The bar must have an
arm at one end, to reach over to the hub, said arm to be fitted with a
piece of hard wood, to match the thread on the hub. The other end of
the bar has the cutting tool in it; of course, at right angles, so as
to run in to the work, and bear on the tool rest. The tool is held in
an arm on the bar by a set screw, so that it can be lengthened or

By this arrangement, a true thread can be rapidly generated on any rod,
hollow cylinder, or other kind of work—the pitch depending on the
pitch of the hub.

It is necessary to have as many different hubs, varying in pitch, as
there are different kinds of work to be done, and, although the thread
on the hub is only an inch or half an inch long, perhaps, a screw of
any length may be cut on a rod, by simply shifting the cutter on the
rest. This same bar is also useful for turning, as with a slide rest,
for, by sliding it along gradually, it acts, in a measure, like a fixed
tool in a slide rest.

[Illustration: Fig. 20.]

From these hints the amateur who takes a lathe in hand for the first
time, or is, at best, a neophyte, may learn much to his advantage.
Persons of a mechanical turn only need a hint, when the mind springs to
the conclusion with surprising rapidity.

The little tool, shown in Fig. 20, is very handy in many instances,
particularly for running under the necks of screws when the thread is
cut up to the head. By so making them, the head comes fair down upon
its bed, and holds much better.

                               CHAPTER V.


[Illustration: Fig. 21.]

[Illustration: Fig. 22.]

Chucking work in the lathe is one of the most interesting branches, for
here there are no centers in the way, to plague the workman, and the
tool has a fair sweep at all parts. Every one who uses a lathe, should
get a scroll chuck, Fig. 21, of Cushman’s make, (A. Cushman, Hartford,
Connecticut,) that is, a chuck where the jaws move up together toward
the center, so that any round piece will be held perfectly true. This
is a great convenience, for whether we have a ring to bore out, or a
wheel to turn off, it is equally handy, and is far better than the
independent jaw chuck, which has to be set up by measurement, and
repeated trials before it is right. To those who cannot afford to
purchase a scroll chuck, a wooden one can be made to answer every
purpose. Wooden chucks should be made of some hard, fine-grained wood,
such as maple or mahogany, so that they will hold well whatever is
driven into them.

[Illustration: Fig. 23.]

[Illustration: Fig. 24.]

If we have a small cylinder head to turn, for instance, the back head,
which has no hole in it to put a mandrel through, as the front one has,
the wooden chuck will come in play. To make one, the turner takes a
square block of the proper thickness, say one inch, and saws the
corners off, so that it is eight-sided. It is then ready to screw on
the face plate of the lathe. This is quickly done by having small screw
holes in the plate for this purpose, as shown in Fig. 1, page 17.

[Illustration: Fig. 25.]

The block is then all ready to work on, and the face must be turned off
true, and a recess cut out in it to receive the head. This is the head,
Fig. 26.

[Illustration: Fig. 26.]

On the back side, there is a projection to fit the cylinder of the
engine. This must be turned first, and the flange faced off true: after
that the head must be pryed out, (by making a little recess in the
chuck, alongside of it,) reversed, and put in the chuck again, the
finished side in, so as to polish it on the outside. Fig. 27. It must
be driven up tight against the face of the chuck, otherwise the flange
will be thicker on one side than the other. In finishing, it will be
found better to commence near the center, and work out toward the
largest diameter, for it is necessary to get under the scale, or sand,
left on in casting, first, before the work can be turned true, and this
is easiest done by beginning at the middle, where the speed is low. The
scale is fused sand melted on the metal in the act of casting. The best
tool to do this with is the diamond-point, for it can be employed
universally on straight or hollow surfaces, is easily ground, and
always works well. After it, comes the scraper, previously shown. If
these chatter, a piece of leather must be put between them and the
rest. It is also well to put a stout iron rod, or piece of hard wood,
between the back center of the lathe and the face of the plate; this
keeps everything steady, as shown below, so that a beautiful luster
will be given by the tool alone.

[Illustration: Fig. 27.]

After the plate or head is firmly scraped, it must be polished with
flour emery and oil. The emery first used must be No. 1, which is about
like Indian meal; if the work is brass, however, this will not be
needed. This must be plentifully supplied with oil, so that it is like
cream, and the workman, taking a soft pine stick, with the end pounded
into a brush, so that it will hold emery, holds it hard up against the
face of the head. If it has been properly scraped, a few revolutions
will produce a fine-grained finish, but if it is badly done, the
corners will be full of scratches and chatters. It takes time and
experience to make a good finisher, and patience also, for men who are
good turners, and can make excellent fits, are sometimes botches at

After emery of the finest possible description has been used, a little
rouge powder should be put on a piece of buckskin and applied to the
work. This will make a polish equal to gold on brass, and like silver
on iron. Instead of these methods many persons burnish their work. The
burnisher is sometimes made of steel, of bloodstone, and of agate.
Steel is the material generally employed. It is polished as bright as
can be on a buff wheel, and must be preserved so, otherwise it is
useless to attempt doing anything with it. Pumice stone is very good
for polishing with, or rather for finishing the surface before
polishing. Other substances will be mentioned hereafter. Steel and iron
are best polished with a sharp tool and water. To turn steel with a
handsome surface, the tool must be sharpened on an oil stone, and the
speed high, then spit on the work and take light cuts, and you will
have a nice job. To make a very brilliant polish on steel, it is
necessary to use emery and oil, plenty of oil and not much emery, but
this makes such a nasty mess on the lathe, that few good turners will
do it. A file should not be used in the lathe if possible; filing a job
makes it uneven, and spoils the looks of it. It is difficult to avoid
scratches, and the expert can generally tell the difference between
work that has been turned true, and that which has been filed, and, in
nearly all cases, it is quicker to turn the work to fit or to finish at

In polishing round work, such as rods or shafts, it is much cleaner,
and more expeditious, to make a pair of clamps like Fig. 28, and put
the emery and oil on leather pads between them. The clamps consist of
two straight pieces of soft or hard wood, lined with leather, though
some use sheet lead.

The leather catches the polishing material and holds it, and, at the
same time, keeps it continually applied to the shaft. The clamps are
slipped over the same, and the ends held in the hand. This utensil also
gives a fine finish to the work, making it smooth and even. It must be
carried regularly along from end to end, sometimes fast and sometimes
slow, so as to cross the lines, or avoid making a twist in the polish
like a screw thread, which would otherwise be given. A very beautiful
and brilliant luster can be given to a shaft of iron or steel, after it
is nicely finished, by holding a sheet of fine _sand paper_, covered
with chalk, on it. The glaze that this gives, makes the work glisten
like silver, but it also takes off all the grease, so that the shaft is
very sensitive to moisture, and is quickly rusted.

[Illustration: Fig. 28.]

This discussion about polishing has led us away from the consideration
of chucking, which we shall enlarge a little more upon.

The chuck is a very necessary and even indispensable auxiliary when
chasing. Threads cannot be caught in the jaws of a scroll chuck,
because, if set tight enough to hold the work, the threads are jammed
so that they will not run in the part they were fitted to. If a piece,
having a thread cut on it, like Fig. 29, is to be turned outside, it is
very easy to chase the cap first and then the cup it fits, so that the
cap can be screwed into it and turned off where it belongs; it will
then be true, and is easy to mill on the edge.

[Illustration: Fig. 29.]

It must always be borne in mind that the chaser must be sharp. If it is
not, drunken threads will be the rule, not the exception.

The chuck shown in Fig. 30, will be found very useful for holding
metallic disks, small box covers, or anything that requires merely a
slight clasp; it is also useful for holding round plugs, pencils of
wood, or penholders, to drill in the ends. It can be made eccentric
with the mandrel of the lathe, if desired, so as to turn a piece on one
side, or drill in a similar manner in the end of a plug. It is merely a
piece of boxwood bored out, bored with holes, which are sawed down into
slots, so as to form a series of jaws, which are sprung in by sliding
the ring down on them. They are so easily made that a great many can be

[Illustration: Fig. 30.]

                              CHAPTER VI.

                            METAL SPINNING.

Spinning sheet metal into various forms is another kind of work which
can be done in the foot lathe, and it is here that the amateur can show
his taste and dexterity.

The process consists in forming a blank, like this engraving, into an
ornamental base for a lamp, or an oil cup; in fact, any thing
whatsoever. All that is requisite is to have a fac simile, in wood, of
the shape you wish to make. This is bolted or otherwise made fast to
the face plate, and the blank is then set up against it, and held as
the cylinder head, shown in Fig. 26, is, that is, with a rod leading
from the back center of the lathe to the work.

[Illustration: Fig. 31.]

A tool like Fig. 32 is then used to press the metal into all the
recesses or curves of the pattern. The speed must be high, and the
metal quite soft and moistened with a little soap-suds or oil, so that
it will not be scratched by the tool.

To spin metal requires some dexterity, but it is easily acquired after
a little practice. The rest must be furnished with holes, like Fig. 33,
and a pin, so that the tool can be brought up against it like a lever.

[Illustration: Fig. 32.]

[Illustration: Fig. 33.]

Still-another kind of metal spinning can be done in the lathe. This
relates to making circular shapes, or cylindrical, more properly—such
as napkin rings, the tops of steam pipes, or similar things. To do
this, a mandrel is requisite. The mandrel must be of steel, and turned
to the desired pattern—like Fig. 34, for instance.

[Illustration: Fig. 34.]

A ferrule is then made and soldered together with lapped edges, so that
there will be no seam. The mandrel must be as much smaller than the
size of the finished work as will allow it to come off freely, for it
will be apparent that if the work was spun up _on_ the mandrel, it
could never be taken off. The ferrule, when put on them, will stand
eccentric to the mandrel, as in this figure—that is, when the tool
bears on it. In other respects the process is just the same as spinning
on the face plate. Tripoli, chalk, whiting, rotten-stone, and similar
substances are used to give the fine polish on such work.

[Illustration: Fig. 35.]

We know of no prettier or more expeditious process of making a small
steam boiler for a toy engine, than by spinning it upon the lathe. The
boiler will be very strong, have large fire surface, and be without
joints, having only one at the bottom, where it is easily kept tight.
Fig. 36 is the boiler.

The metal must be thin (twenty gauge), the sheet brass sold in the
shops will answer, as it is already annealed, and the corrugations must
not be too deep on the sides, or the work will not come off the mould.
The center of the fire-box, A, must be left flat, so that the flue will
have a bearing on it. For a small engine, 1-inch bore, and 2-inch
stroke, a boiler of the dimensions given here is ample. The flue must
be brazed or soldered at A, and the bottom must be riveted at B, for
every two inches; this is not necessary, however. There are only three
pieces in this boiler—the shell, the fire-box, and the flue, and the
water must not be carried more than three-fourths of an inch over the
crown of the furnace.

We shall now again revert to cutting tools.

[Illustration: Fig. 36.]

Probably many of our readers, who use hand lathes not furnished with
slide rests, have wished for that indispensable appendage where boring
is to be done. For ordinary turning, we do not appreciate a slide rest
on a hand lathe so much as many do that we know, but for boring out
valves, cocks, or, in fact, anything, a scroll chuck and a good slide
rest are invaluable.

Some persons are always “meaning” to do a thing, yet never do it.
Sometimes, for the want of facilities, at others for the lack of an
idea. If the latter be of any value, we can furnish one or two on this
subject that may be useful.

[Illustration: Fig. 37.]

One way to bore out holes parallel, without a slide rest, is to do it
with the spindle of the back head. With a tool of peculiar
construction, holes varying in size, can be bored beautifully in this
way. We present a view of such a tool in Fig. 37. It is merely a cross,
formed on the end of a center fitting the back spindle, the same as the
lathe center does. The arms of the cross are made stout and thick, so
as to admit of a square hole being cut in them. The hole is made by
drilling in and driving in a square drift afterwards to take off the
corners. The shanks of the tools are well fitted to these holes in the
arms, so that a slight pressure of the screws in the sides of the arm
will hold them steady. When used, the tool is put in the back spindle,
and the cutters set to the size required, or less, if there is much to
take out, and run through the work in an obvious manner. Any range of
size can be had up to the diameter of the cross. It is not well to run
the cutters out too far, however, as they will jump and chatter, or
spring, and make bad work. The tool is so easily made that one can
afford to have three or four, for different jobs.

[Illustration: Fig. 38.]

Another plan, but not so good, is to make a common center and disk,
like Fig. 38.

Here the cutters have a slot in them, through which a bolt passes and
screws into the disk; a small piece of wood put at the bottom of the
tool, between it and the cutter, prevents it from slacking off so as to
diminish the cut. These tools will be found useful, and will do good
work if properly handled. This latter tool is better for wood, but will
answer for any metal by varying the cutter.

To make a slide rest, in the common way, is a costly and tedious job.
For all purposes of boring, a good one may be made as shown in the
following engraving, Fig. 39.

[Illustration: Fig. 39.]

This is simply a casting fitted with a screw and spindle, as shown. The
spindle has a tool let in the front end and held there by a set screw,
and there is a wheel at the back end to run the spindle in and out. The
casting has a leg to it which enables it to fit the common post the
rest for the hand tool fits. There is also a key to prevent the spindle
from turning round. By this arrangement it is easy to bore, not only
parallel holes of any size, but tapering ones, which is often a great
convenience. By a simple change of tool, it can also face off any
casting, and can easily be made to cut a thread, of a given pitch, by
any ingenious workman. Not only this, but it can also be made without
planing; or other work most amateurs have no facilities for. It is
within the range of ordinary lathe work, and will be found
indispensable. The T-head may be of cast iron, but the spindle should
be steel, with a brass nut let in the back end for the screw to work in.

                              CHAPTER VII.

                          ORNAMENTAL CUTTING.

I shall now give some examples of turning different things which are
useful and interesting to work. These are only hints, and I make no
claim to discovery, or to anything specially novel or ingenious. It
would be very foolish to do that, for what seems remarkably “cute” to
the designer of any particular thing, is often shown to be slow and
unmechanical, compared to other ways by other men. I hope, therefore,
that the expert will bear in mind the fact that, while he may know
better ways to do the same thing, beginners are glad to receive
instruction first, and improve upon it, so much as they are able, after.


—_Solitaire_ buttons are those which have so lately come in fashion;
that is, a single stud with two eyes on the back for the button-holes
of the wristband. It is easier to make one stud on the back of the
button, and easier to fasten it to the shirt, as that is the kind I
shall describe.

[Illustration: Fig. 40.]

[Illustration: Fig. 41.]

[Illustration: Fig. 42.]

Go to any dealer in box-wood, and procure waste stuff, which he will
sell at a small price. Take a piece an inch square, put it in the
chuck, and turn it round on one end as far as you can, then reverse it,
and turn the other end; this will make a round plug. Take a ten-cent
piece, and chuck it, either in a wooden or scroll chuck. Cut out the
center, so that you have a silver ring. It will be necessary to have
two rings, one for each button. Put the box-wood in the lathe and turn
the end as in Fig. 41. On the shoulder you are to shrink the silver
ring just made, Fig. 40. To fasten the ring properly, you have only to
leave the center part of the box-wood a little larger than the silver
ring—say the thickness of a sheet of paper—heat the ring slightly on
a stove or over a spirit lamp, and clap it on to its place. When it is
cool, if properly done, no power can remove it without destroying the
button. When the ring is in place, it only remains to turn it off as
ornamentally as the workman desires. The edge may be milled, and the
face chased or left smooth. The center of the button, which is of wood,
may be drilled in, and a square ebony plug put in, which will give it a
unique appearance, as shown in Fig. 42. In like manner ivory buttons
may be turned and breastpins spun up, either in gold or silver. Brass
breastpins may be ornately turned, and afterwards electro-plated for a
trifle. They will thus be cheaply made, and the ingenious turner can
please his lady friends by presenting them with specimens of his
dexterity and taste.

[Illustration: Fig. 43.]

At the commencement of this book, I alluded to lathes with traversing
mandrels, and to varieties of work done by tools not generally
employed—that is, those which are not used by the hand, but in
connection with the lathe, and driven by belting from a counter shaft
over head. I give an illustration of such a tool, in one form, in Fig.
43. It may be screwed in the tool post of the slide rest, or otherwise
attached to the lathe, and the belt from the counter shaft carried over
the small pulley. The driving pulley over head should be very large, so
as to give a great velocity to the cutter, at least fifteen hundred
revolutions per minute. The use of this tool is to make ornamental
designs—circular carving, it might be called—on all kinds of turned
work, as, for instance, in Fig. 44, where a small box for pins or
needles is shown. This box is made by putting a piece of hard,
fine-grained wood in the chuck, boring the hole and cutting the thread.
It is then removed, driven on a round mandrel held in the chuck, turned
off round outside, and then prepared for the pattern as follows:—The
design settled upon, the index plate must be brought into use, and the
points inserted in such holes as will bring the pattern out right, or
all the spaces equal—just as the teeth of gears are cut. The tool
shown in Fig. 43, may be any desired shape. In the example of work,
Fig. 44, it is made half round, and the pattern is called “bamboo,”
from a resemblance to wickerwork. The pattern is made to break joint,
as mechanics say, that is, it alternates, so that the commencement of
one part meets in the middle of the other. After one course is made all
the way round, the tool is shifted on to another course, and the index
changed as above mentioned, until the whole has been gone over. This
produces a beautiful effect.

[Illustration: Fig. 44.]

It is easy to see that a change of pattern is produced at will, by
altering the kind of tool and the index. As, for instance, in Fig. 45,
where the pattern is entirely straight. When the design is to be cut on
such work, it is extremely convenient to have a pair of centers to set
on the lathe, across the bed; then the flying tool is not needed, nor
the index on the lathe pulleys either, that on the centers being used
instead. When this box is held between the centers so as not to mar it,
the handle may be turned and the work run along under the cutter, with
great facility. The grooves shown in the box are first drilled at each
end with a common drill, just to the corner of the drill, so that a
neat and handsome finish is given; a V-shaped cutter is then put in a
mandrel between the centers of the lathe, and the pulleys set going, so
that when the work is run under the tool, the slot or groove will be
formed. The circlet, at the top of the box, is made by a crescent drill
ground very thin and made sharp—a drill like a fish’s tail, only
formed on a half circle.

[Illustration: Fig. 45.]

Of course, these methods of doing this kind of work can, as I have said
before, be varied infinitely, and are only cited as applicable to a
common foot lathe.

                             CHAPTER VIII.


An indispensable article on a foot lathe, where any fancy work is to be
done, is the centers—of which I have before spoken—shown in Fig. 46.
These consist of a common set of heads, with spindles fitted to them.
One spindle has an index plate and spring, and the other has a common
center. These heads set on a slide that is moved back and forth over a
rest, screwed to the lathe bed as usual. It is easy to see that, with
this, we can do some very fine cabinet work. Suppose we have a round
vase turned up handsomely, and wish to flute the base or make it a
series of curves all round; to do this, we have only to put it in the
centers, set the index so as to come out even, as before explained, and
go ahead.

[Illustration: Fig. 46.]

The kind of cutter to be used is a sort of gouge, set in a cast-iron
head, something as a plane iron is set in its stock. That is, fitted
tight to a groove and held by a set screw. Two of these cutters should
be used, at equal distances apart, and the cutter head should be keyed
on a short shaft, set between the main centers of the lathe. The whole
should be accurately balanced, or else the work will be full of
chatters or ridges. Since centrifugal force increases as the square of
the velocity, any thing that runs a little out of truth, will be very
much exaggerated as the speed increases. By using cutters of different
shapes, beautiful effects can be produced; as, for instance, suppose we
take a common round-nose cutter, set the index so as to divide the
circle of the job we are to work on in twenty-four parts, and execute
that part of the design, then take a tool forming an ogee, and work out
the spaces intervening, we shall find that the article, when completed,
will have a beautiful appearance, and that, instead of being round, the
bottom will be octagonal, which will present a pleasing contrast to the

[Illustration: Fig. 47.]

The centers can be set at any angle with the cutter shaft and a
pineapple pattern can be made on straight surfaces, by executing one
part at one angle, then reversing the rest that carries the centers,
and finish the remainder, one part of the pattern crossing the other.

I present here views of a novel ornament which exhibits great
mechanical ingenuity and manual dexterity, but is otherwise of no
value. It consists, in one form, of a globe with a series of rings or
globes inside, and a six-armed spur projecting through holes—all cut
out of one solid piece. Fig. 47.

[Illustration: Fig. 48.]

Fig. 48 shows how the points are turned. After the internal rings are
cut out with a quadrant tool like Fig. 49, and the spur also severed,
by cutting in the ends of the holes (not boring them out solid), the
globe is put in a shell chuck, with three set screws in it, as shown.
The set screws go through the holes in the globe, and the cross pieces,
in between the spurs, serve to steady the job. Any number of points may
be turned in the globe. Fig. 50 shows a polygon with many spurs turned
inside. At first sight it would appear that the tool, severing the
rings, would cut off the points also, but it will be seen that this is
not the case, for the holes being bored so as to leave a core standing
(which afterward serves to make the points of the spur), the severing
tool falls into the holes and goes no further, and each division serves
as a guide for the tool in the next hole, so that the globe is made the
same size, without jags. The quadrant tool, shown before, must be
followed round the shell in the act of cutting it out, so that it will
make the same round, and the globe must be shifted in the chuck, to
reach all the holes. It is no easy task to make this little affair, for
all it looks so simple.

[Illustration: Fig. 49.]

[Illustration: Fig. 50.]

                              CHAPTER IX.

                             FANCY TURNING.

[Illustration: Fig. 51.]

Fig. 51 is another, a little more ornate and of a different pattern.
The process is essentially the same, except that there are no spurs and
a solid disk is left inside. This disk is turned out of a ball, left
inside the exterior shell. One side of it is squared up before the ball
is cut free from the globe, and the job is then reversed and the other
side squared. The ball is then cut free, and the loose disk is held
fast between a flat-ended driver in the live spindle, and a loose,
flat-ended button on the back center. The diameter is then decided
through the hole which is toward the reader.

[Illustration: Fig. 52.]

A little tool, which is very convenient for making small screws, is
here shown in Fig. 52, rather out of place, but it was overlooked
before. In construction it explains itself. Holes of different sizes
are made in a steel rod, and the end filed into shape, as seen. It has
been found difficult by some to make these cutters work, but that was
because they were not properly made. The trouble lies in drilling the
hole. When the drill starts at first, the hole is larger on the
outside, so that the screw blank, when cut, gets tighter as it goes in,
and twists it off.

The remedy is, to drill the hole in some distance and then turn off the
outside end, so that it gets where the bore is the same size. This
refers only to small bolts, a sixteenth of an inch in diameter; where
they are large, the trouble mentioned is not experienced.

It is convenient to have two sizes in the tool so that the heaviest
part of the work can be done by one cutter, the tool reversed by
turning it over in the fork of the jaws, and finishing the blank with
the last cutter. A watchmaker’s fine saw is to be used to sever the
screw from the rod. The tool itself is to fit in the spindle of the
tail stock, and the screw wire is held by a drill chuck.

In the matter of ornamental work, there are other details and plans in
vogue among experienced turners, which can only be alluded to, not
discussed at length, for the reason that the styles are so numerous
that an elaborate work might be made of them alone, with great profit.
The scroll chuck or geometrical chuck, as it is sometimes called, is a
complicated piece of mechanism, too costly for general use, and too
limited in its application, to mechanics in general, to be of much
utility. It does such work as may be seen on bank bills. The chuck
plate, on which the work is fixed, is connected, by a train of gearing
on its back, with a fixed gear about the spindle on the head stock, so
that when the relation these gears bear to one another is altered, the
motion of the work on the chuck is accelerated or retarded, or is made
to assume certain positions. An elliptic chuck is quite another thing,
the work done by it is shown in Fig. 53, which consists, chiefly, of
ornamental designs disposed in a certain order. In fact, the changes
that can be made are infinite.

[Illustration: Fig. 53.]

Mandrels—arbors, as many call them—are very useful tools. Mandrels
are made of wood and steel—usually steel, and never of wood, unless
for some special reason. As, for instance, when a large brass ring has
to be turned. For this use a wooden mandrel is cheaper and more quickly
made than a steel one. Besides, it is quite as good. Wooden mandrels
should have iron center plates let in them, so that they will run true;
if the center was made in the wood itself, it would be liable to run
out. Take a piece of sheet iron, one eighth of an inch thick and one
inch square, hammer the corners thin, then turn them over at right
angles with the plate. This gives four sharp corners, so that, when
driven in the end of a block, it will not slip; three small screws will
hold the plate to the mandrel so that it cannot get loose. The center
must then be countersunk, as any other is. Such a mandrel, made of hard
wood, hickory for instance, will last a long time.

Fibrous wood such as white oak, makes a good mandrel, for the reason
that work, driven on it, compresses the fibers instead of scraping
them, so that the size of the mandrel is unchanged.

Steel mandrels should be turned two in one, or largest in the middle,
for small work, each end being a different size. Each end should be
thoroughly centered with a drill, and countersunk, and a flat place
filed so that the dog will hold; not a scratch with a tool should ever
be made in one, though few persons will take the pains to avoid doing

It is unnecessary to tell the mechanic he must have a rack for his
tools, but we may tell the beginner so, and he will find it a great

Now-a-days, the twist drills, made and sold in all the tool stores, are
so uniformly superior to any thing that can be made by hand, or by
individuals, and are, moreover, so cheap, that it is foolish to make
drills. Those who have never used them, should not fail to order sets.
They run all sizes, from a needle to an inch.

There are not a few turners who spoil work simply from heedlessness.
Not because they do not know any better, but because they are averse to
taking a little extra pains. If a mandrel runs out of truth a very
little, sooner than alter it, or make a new one, they will try to “make
it do.” The result is easily seen when work is to be put together.
Moreover, many persons use little caution in setting their work in the
lathe. Instead of always putting it in the same place, driving it from
the same side of the face plate, it is entered at hap-hazard. It is not
good to get into the habit of doing work in this way, for it soon leads
to recklessness.

Some are too lazy to go and grind their tools, when they know it should
be done, and continue to use them to the ultimate damage of the work.
It is easy for the practiced eye to see these apparently small things,
for they constitute a great part of the difference between a good
workman and a bad one.

                               CHAPTER X.

                           ORNAMENTAL WOODS.

In the matter of wood working, the amateur has a field as wide and
attractive as the most enthusiastic could wish. Of course, under this
head only those that are ornamental are considered, leaving the plainer
and rougher materials for domestic purposes.


Most amateurs ransack the stores of dealers in foreign woods, for rich
and rare varieties, leaving our own native woods for others, of deeper
hue and harder grain. Yet it would be difficult to find more
beautifully veined wood than chestnut, butternut, some varieties of
ash, the root of the black walnut, California rosewood, and oak; all of
which are indigenous.

In foreign woods there are innumerable varieties, but as comparatively
few of them are to be had, there can be nothing gained to the amateur
by mere enumeration. I have said comparatively few are to be had in
shops, and that is true for this reason; the woods the amateur can
readily obtain, are the woods of commerce; that is, those used in the
arts and trades. No one imports woods at a venture, or on chance of
sale. Dealers know their customers, and when, by chance, they find a
captain of some foreign trader, who has a fancy lot which he has
brought over, they send word to their best buyers, who come and view
the lot, and take that which suits them, and the rest, worm-eaten and
“wind-shaken,” it may be, is either burnt up, or thrown on one side for
some button maker, who may find in the short odds and ends a profitable
bargain. I shall, therefore, mention but a few of the leading varieties
of choice woods, and these the most marked and contrasted. Very many
differ only in the name, and, as far as mere exterior goes, are hardly
distinguishable from each other, while others are positively ugly.

                              SNAKE WOOD.

Prominent on the list of foreign woods is snake wood, or, as it is
sometimes called, leopard wood. The markings and mottlings in this wood
are certainly superb in fine specimens. I have now before me a small
vase, made of this material, which exhibits the most beautiful
cloudings and veinings. The pattern, so to speak, is in alternate black
and red blotches, like those on the back of a snake. When varnished and
French polished, these are brought out in strong relief, and the effect
is very fine. There is one drawback to its use, however, and that is
its brittleness. Notwithstanding the lathe be run at a high speed, it
will frequently sliver and crack in the most unlooked-for and vexatious
manner, and it is unsafe to undertake any very delicate or fine work
that requires time and minute separation on the surface in this
material; for general work, however, which has mouldings and
convolutions on it, it is easily manipulated, and is susceptible of a
brilliant polish. Further: it has the advantage of being “fast colors,”
which is more than can be said of many other foreign woods. Whatever
color may be developed in turning, will be retained to the end of time.
This is not true of either tulip or granadilla wood. Both of these are
brilliant in the extreme, when freshly cut, but by exposure to the air,
fade away into the most sombre colors.

                              TULIP WOOD.

This is a moderately hard wood, of a peculiar salmon-pink, veined with
reddish brown and gray. The veinings are chiefly parallel with the
grain, not straight, of course, but wavy and mottled. As previously
remarked, it is beautiful when first cut, but gradually fades into a
dingy, reddish brown. It is a handsome wood for contrasting with ebony,
or any dark variety, and is chiefly used for inlaying costly furniture,
such as musical instruments, work boxes, etc., etc. It is undeniably
handsome, however, and by no means to be disparaged.


This is commonly called cocoa wood. It is hard, finely-veined, and
capable of a handsome polish. It is largely used in the manufacture of
table and pocket cutlery, for the handles. It comes in logs, from two
to eight inches in diameter, and is one of the most easily worked
woods. Quantities of it are employed for the handles of seals or letter
stamps, in which instruments its brownish yellow color and markings
must be familiar to many. It fades, however, so that in time it becomes
almost uniform in its tone.


This wood is very unfrequently met with. I obtained, by chance, a large
log of a wood-worker, and was highly pleased with it. It can scarcely
be called variegated, except so finely as to be unnoticeable, but for a
rich brown color and tint it is unapproachable. It is chocolate brown
in hue, and so hard and close in fibre, as to rive like the husk of a
cocoanut, while under a burnisher alone it polishes like ivory. It is
seldom one meets with a wood so wholly satisfactory, in its general
nature, for all kinds of work where a hard grain and fine surface is

                               CAM WOOD.

This is a dye wood; that is, the shavings boiled in water, or treated
with alcohol, yield a handsome dye, which is largely used in the arts.
It is moderately hard, in about the same degree as mahogany, and is
plain in surface; it is handsome for inlaying and veneering in contrast
with ebony, but changes to a brown with age.

                               BOX WOOD.

This is so well known to be a fine-grained, buff yellow color, and
easily worked wood, as to need little further explanation of its
characteristics. It is becoming scarcer and dearer every year, but is
of little general value to the amateur from its monotonous sameness;
one piece being like all the others; whereas, with snake wood, or
granadilla, perpetual surprises await one. Refuse box wood, in
odd-shaped pieces, can be bought very cheap from those who make it a
business to fit up blocks for engravers, and also from wood-type makers.

                              LAUREL ROOT.

This is a peculiar wood, and, in my opinion, more peculiar than pretty.
It has a singular feeling under the tool, cutting much like cheese or
gum; like any thing else, in fact, but wood. In veining, it closely
resembles brier wood and bird’s eye maple; pipes have been made of it.
It is quite sound, but cannot be said to be handsome. It is the root of
the common swamp laurel, I am told, and requires long seasoning and
drying to be manipulated.

                              WHITE HOLLY.

This is a pure white wood, very easily bent, turned, and cut, straight
of grain, and very useful for inlaying. Quantities of needle cases,
fans, and such wares, are made of it. It is a native of this country,
though the best is said to come from England. This seems quite
unnecessary, for I have picked out of my wood-pile quantities of white
holly, as handsome in color and in grain, as one could wish to see.


Every one has his prejudice, and I have no doubt but that many will
consider me lacking in taste if I condemn this wood. It has one sole
redeeming feature—blackness—which renders it indispensable in many
cases. Yet I have seen rock maple dyed black, that put ebony to shame
for richness of color and fineness of grain. No ebony that I ever saw
was _black_, naturally. It was brown, and became black by oiling and
varnishing. There is a variety, called “bastard ebony,” which is full
of whitish brown stripes, and is soft like pine, but the true ebony is
not to me a precious wood, although it is expensive, and, in some
cases, undeniably handsome. In spite of all selection, aided by good
judges, I have frequently found my “black ebony” any thing but black;
it is full of season streaks and cracks, and splits in the most
perverse and unexpected manner.

                              OLIVE WOOD.

This is the wood of the olive tree, and is chiefly valuable for its
odor; that is, to those who like that odor. In color it is like white
wood, and is without any marked feature, except that of scent.

                              SANDAL WOOD.

This is a fragrant wood, light buff-colored, and very soft, and
straight in grain. In general it is like pine wood, splitting straight,
working easily, and valuable solely for its odor.

                               ROSE WOOD.

This is an exceedingly beautiful wood, and is so well known, in its
general nature, as to need no recommendation. In marking, it is so
delicate as to admit of the finest work, and yet retain the beauty of
the pattern.

                             CURLED MAPLE.

This is one of the most beautiful of our native woods; in point of
color, and power of retaining it, in marking and in variety, it is, to
me, one of the most beautiful of all woods. The vein has a sinuous
sweep and curve to it, which is heightened by varnishing and polishing,
to a marked degree. All of the handsome woods, however, have a peculiar
intractability, so to speak, which renders them slow and tedious to
work. In fact, it is just this stubbornness of grain which renders them
beautiful, for, by running in all directions, interlacing the fibres,
so that the end of the grain is alternately presented side by side with
the parallel grain, the light is caught and retained on dead surfaces
that absorb it, making those beautiful contrasts which the most
uncultivated admire.

                           BIRD’S EYE MAPLE.

This is also a handsome wood, full of round spots interspersed with
circular markings, the whole forming a handsome contrast when well
handled. Pear and apple tree woods are also handsome, but none of the
native woods exhibit so great variety in tint and markings, as those
which grow in tropical countries. There is no occasion to continue a
mere list of woods which can be found in any shop, and this branch of
the subject will be dropped.


The first thing that occurs to the workman when he possesses or sees a
handsome piece of wood, is: What shall I make with it? Many kinds of
wood show well in large works, but in smaller wares, such as sleeve
buttons, and napkin rings, they look like common wood; it is,
therefore, labor lost to spend time in working out a nice job to show
the veining and marking of the wood, because such veining is not
brought out fully. The first care is to select sound wood. It is one of
the most vexatious things in the world to have a nice job nearly done,
and find a large worm hole extending right through the center of it,
interfering with the tool and destroying the beauty of the piece. In
such a case, the only resort is to plug it up, but no matter how
skillfully this is done, the plug is certain to show, and always mars
the appearance. Some kinds of foreign woods are almost always worm
eaten. Snake wood, for instance, is very liable to that fault, and too
much care cannot be taken in examining it. Ebony is not so liable to
it, and native woods are peculiarly free from it.

                              CHAPTER XI.

                             WOOD TURNING.

[Illustration: Fig. 54.]

In turning wood, the speed cannot be too high, or the tool too sharp.
The faster the speed, the more perfect the surface produced by the
tool. In centering, also, it is necessary to use care in getting a
sound place to begin on; otherwise, when in the middle of a job, the
centers change and the work is spoiled. This, of course, relates to
work that is turned on centers, such as chess-men, penholders, rulers
with ornamental ends, “what-not” legs; in fact, anything of that class.
The driving center or one that goes in the head of the lathe, commonly
called the live center—in opposition to the one in the back end of the
lathe head, which does not move, and is called the dead center—should
be properly made, or much confusion will be the result. Very many use
the common bit, like Fig. 54, which is a very poor device for the
purpose. There being no guard at the corners of the bit, they are
liable to slip when strain is brought on the work by the tool; it is,
therefore, necessary to make the driving bit, or center, like Fig. 55,
which represents a section through the front edge and the flat pieces
at the top, to prevent the work from slipping.

[Illustration: Fig. 55.]

In turning very small work, say penholders for example, I have found
centers useless to drive from, and after trying dogs, commonly used for
metal turning, and many other devices, have found no more efficient or
expeditious plan than to round the end of the wood slightly with a
pocket-knife, as in Fig. 56; insert the rounded end in a chuck, and
place the other in the back center. In this way, I am able to command
the whole range of the work, from end to end, without interference, and
to have the small tip where it is necessary to have it to keep steady;
that is, near the center.

[Illustration: Fig. 56.]

I _saw_ all my pieces for turning, into square strips. I never split
them; splitting shivers and cracks hard and precious wood, and makes
unsound that which was previously sound.

Besides, it is more economical and more expeditious. If you cannot saw
them yourself, handily, take them to the nearest wood-worker who has a
circular saw, and he will do it for a trifle.

                              CHAPTER XII.

                        TOOLS FOR WOOD TURNING.

It does not seem necessary to go into the discussion of tools, or
shapes of tools, for wood turning, for the grand and great reliance for
roughing is the gouge, and a skillful workman will do as many things
with it as the Russian carpenter is said to do with his axe, which is
almost his only tool. For smoothing, there is the flat chisel, and for
special work, every one will find tools, or, rather, make those he
finds best suited to his needs.

I would, however, here say with great earnestness, that it makes all
the difference in the world what kind of steel you get in your tools,
whether they are worth any thing or not. I never found _any_ turning
tools in stores, that I considered worth any thing. They are generally
made for working soft woods, such as pine, but the amateur needs tools
of a different class and temper. Hard woods are full of dust on the
outside, and seem more or less impregnated with silica, the principle
which forms the coating on the stalks of rye and cereal grains
generally, which destroys the cutting edge in a short time, and also
draws the temper. I have therefore found it convenient to make my own
tools out of the best steel I could buy, and temper them myself. The
difference is very marked, for where I formerly went to the grindstone
every few minutes, I now use a tool a long while, thus saving many
steps and minutes.

I therefore repeat—choose your steel from such as you find the best,
and harden it yourself. If you don’t know how, a few trials will enable
you to do it “everytime,” as the saying is. I have found Sanderson’s,
Jessops, and Stubbs, all good steel; also Park Brothers American steel
first-rate for general work. No doubt there are some who will take up
this book, and for the first time read of the matters contained
therein, to whom hardening and tempering are “all Greek;” to such I
will explain the process.

Very often amateurs buy tools which are good if they were only properly
hardened, and to them also, it may be of service—if they do not
already know it—to be able to do this simple thing.

                             CHAPTER XIII.

                          TOOL TEMPERING, ETC.

The great object is to harden at as low a heat as possible, so as not
to injure the steel. The tool must not be treated as a blacksmith does
iron, nothing like so hot, but so as to be of a dull cherry color.
Steel that will not harden at this heat is poor stock. When so heated,
plunge it into cold water. This will make the tool hard and brittle,
like glass, so that it is not fit to cut with; you must then rub it
bright on a piece of emery paper or a grindstone, and hold it in the
fire for a second or so at a time, until the temper is drawn to the
right degree of toughness and tenacity. This will be, for turning-tools
for _hard_ wood, of a dull blue-brown, say violet, color. Straw brown
is hard enough to cut steel, and you do not want such a temper for wood
in general, but for some purposes, it is desirable to have a very hard
tool. When the edge _crumbles_, it is too hard, and must be lowered in
temper; when it rounds over, or dulls quickly, it is too soft, and
needs to be hardened. This much in the way of tools of which more will
be said hereafter.

Many things are not held in the centers at all, but are grasped by
chucks, of different patterns or shapes. This, to me, is the most
satisfactory way of turning, inasmuch as it allows perfect liberty and
sweep in all directions, and does not restrict the fancy or imagination
of the workman.

[Illustration: Fig. 57.]

[Illustration: Fig. 58.]

It is not necessary to mention _what_ kinds of work can be done, for
that will occur to every one, but I will merely give here an
illustration of the facility which the chuck affords for all kinds of
work. Fig. 57 is a box cover, and being held at first by the corners,
permits the inside to be turned out to fit the bottom. Afterwards,
whatever finish or pattern is desired, can be given to the top. There
is in every lathe, a center screw, like Fig. 58, which is useful for
holding work that has, or is to have, a hole in it, but for fine work
it is not suitable, for the obvious reason that the screw spoils it.
Fig. 57 is the scroll chuck, and is a favorite instrument of mine. I
could dispense with many things—the face-plate of the lathe for
one—better than I could with this. If I want to make a sleeve-button,
there is my friend, the scroll chuck, ready to hold the piece true to
the center, without any adjustment whatever and hold it firmly, too. If
I wish to bore out a ring, the chuck will grasp true, and hold it
without spring: in fact, not to dilate unnecessarily, I call it the one
thing no turner can afford to be without. There are many in the market,
but the best one for general work of this class, I have found to be
that made by A. F. Cushman, of Hartford, Connecticut. He makes a very
small chuck, also, for holding drills, that is exceedingly convenient
for them, and for holding screw wire, or any work of that class. The
“Beach Chuck,” made by the Morse Twist Drill Company of New Bedford,
Massachusetts, is also a good chuck, but as I am not now discussing the
merits of chucks, I will return to the subject in hand—treatment of

I do not design, in this little work, telling any one how to hold a
tool, for it is to be presumed that at least that part of the craft has
been acquired. Even if I did essay to tell them, I could no more impart
such knowledge than one could skate by seeing another person do it.
Observation and practice are the only teachers.

                              CHAPTER XIV.

                         ARTISTIC WOOD TURNING.

Some of the most beautiful work, really artistic in every sense of the
word, is made by laying up woods of different colors, _but of the same
general character as regards hardness_. If this latter precaution,
which I have italicised, be neglected, the result will be wholly
unsatisfactory, for where two or more woods of different densities are
laid up together, side by side, the tool will act upon the hardest very
well, but will glide or spring over the inferior material, and thus
leave an uneven surface. White holly and ebony work well enough
together, but I do not consider ebony a hard wood. Of course there are
many who will dispute this assertion, but it is easy enough to pick out
specimens of any wood that are hard, but what I mean to say is, that,
in general, it is not a truly hard wood, like rosewood or even
cocoanut. White holly is almost as soft as pine, and contrasts finely
with the only natural black wood that we have. There is one other black
wood, of which I have seen specimens, that is perfection itself, so far
as color, grain, and strength are concerned. Indeed, it can scarcely be
said to have a grain, so firm and solid is it in texture. It turns like
horn, or ivory, and is of the “darkest, deepest, deadliest,” black.
Unfortunately, I cannot give the name of it, for the reason that the
gentleman who gave it to me, did not know himself what it was, and he
obtained it from the captain of a vessel trading to Africa.[1]

Mere white and black wood, side by side, do not look well unless some
kind of pattern or design is observed, and if the pattern is obtained
only at great expense of time and labor, it is also unsatisfactory. I
shall show, further along, how different designs can be produced
rapidly and accurately, with but comparatively little labor.

By inlaying, too, many most beautiful designs can be produced, with but
little labor compared to that which is generally bestowed upon such
work. This kind of ornamentation is beautiful upon work tables, work
boxes, cigar stands, paper knives, fan handles, fancy boxes, inkstands,
card cases, vases, picture frames, penholders, sleeve buttons,
ear-rings, chess and checker men, napkin rings, fancy drawer knobs,
jewel caskets, watch holders, glove boxes, in fact, the whole array of
fine cabinet work, looks better when neatly and tastefully inlaid with
woods that match and harmonize with the subject, and with each other. I
think that some of the methods I practice are new to most persons, and
I am sure they will be found accurate and expeditious; which last is a
point of no small importance; for when a person works a long time over
an elaborate thing, he gets terribly tired of it after while, if it is
slow and plodding. In fact, where there is much that is uniform in
character, as in making a check pattern, in black and white colors in
squares, not over the tenth of one inch wide—it is impossible to make
any thing like regularity, or fine fitting, and close joints, by
handling each piece separately.

I therefore have a variety of what I call “stock” on hand, ready laid
up, in all colors and dimensions, so that I can choose from it exactly
as I would pick out a tool. This stock consists of wood laid up in the
patterns shown in Figs. 59-67, and of sizes varying according to my
designs, but generally very near the sizes here shown.

[Illustration: Fig. 59.]

[Illustration: Fig. 60.]

[Illustration: Fig. 61.]

[Illustration: Fig. 62.]

[Illustration: Fig. 63.]

[Illustration: Fig. 64.]

[Illustration: Fig. 65.]

[Illustration: Fig. 66.]

[Illustration: Fig. 67.]

These are laid up in long strips, say twelve inches long, or as may be
conveniently handled. They are all sawed out with a fine circular saw,
by some one who understands cutting hard wood for this purpose. The
stuff must be shoved through the saw with a very regular, gradual feed,
so as to cut a smooth surface, and if the saw is not right for cutting
smooth on the side, it must be made so; for it will not do to plane the
strips after they are sawed, as there never would be any uniformity
between them, and the joints would be very imperfect. In gluing them
up, there is nothing particular to be observed, except that the glue
must be very hot, laid on well with a stiff brush, and the stuff
clamped between two thick boards, which have been planed perfectly true
on the faces; so that the union will be perfect between the strips. In
this way the job will be well done, and the sections will show
uniformly. As it is the sections that are mainly used, this is a matter
of great importance; for when it is necessary to have an ornamental
border to a work-box, for example, it is only requisite to saw off as
many sections, from the end of any of the blocks, as may be desired; as
in Fig. 68. It is then a simple and easy thing to lay them in, one
after another, in the place that has been left for them.

[Illustration: Fig. 68.]

[Illustration: Fig. 69.]

I do not saw off each square strip by itself before I glue the stock,
but I lay up several flat pieces, as in Fig. 69, which represents one
_end_ section of the strips, longer than it is high, the saw removes
some in cutting, so that when I saw down through the top vertically, as
shown by the straight line A, I obtain square strips in long pieces,
but all glued together so they are easy to handle, these I afterward
glue together again, so that white and black alternate, as in the
checker-board, and I then have the pattern precisely uniform in all the
length of the stock. I claim originality for this plan, and also
expedition in execution; more than either I get entire uniformity. Of
course it is easy to make any other pattern in the same way, and it is
surprising to see how many rectangular and acute-angled patterns can be
made with these sections. It is sometimes possible to get veneers of
the right thickness, but any veneer cutter will saw the wood as desired.

Since the paragraph above was written, I have seen some “Tunbridge
Ware” work made in England, which is, I am sure, done in the same way.
Therefore, I am not the originator of the idea, but I can certify that
it is a good and a quick way of making very elaborate patterns.


Footnote 1:

  I have since learned that it is called African “Black Thorn.”

                              CHAPTER XV.

                            STAMP INLAYING.

Of course there are times and places where the sameness and rigidity of
angular patterns are tedious, and the eye and hand, fatigued by it,
desire a change into something more graceful and harmonious in effect.
The smaller the pattern, the more tedious, irksome, and expensive the
goods. To avoid delay is one object of the workman, but to obtain
perfection is the chief. In order to do this, we must have some plan or
some tool to multiply the same shape with great rapidity and regularity.

[Illustration: Fig. 70.]

In fine workmanship, or rather in small pieces, it would be impossible
to cut out any great number with the certainty of their being at all
similar; some would be large, some small, and all different. Let us
imagine that it is desired to inlay a laurel wreath, or a garland of
stars in an elliptic pattern about the edge of a box cover, as in Fig.
70. It will be seen that to cut each one in with a chisel would be an
endless task. I therefore propose to do it much quicker than it can be
done by other plan, and that is by a stamp. I make a steel stamp, or
punch, of the exact size of the pattern I wish to let in the box, and
am careful to have it bevel inwards, from the edges toward the top, as
in Fig. 71, not only to avoid breaking down the edges, but to make a
clean, sharp impression in the wood. It is necessary to cut in pretty
deep, for, with all your care, you cannot avoid breaking the edge to
some extent, and it can only be practised on any solid, sound wood,
_not veneered_. Except for large patterns, I do not put veneers in
these incisions, or stamp markings, as I could not cut them out so
small, as the pattern shows in the engraving, but I either make a
cement of white lead, and push that into the holes, or, using the same
stamp I cut in the pattern in the wood with, I cut pieces out of thin
sheet German silver, and push them in with great ease. If I use silver,
I am careful to cut in below the surface of the cover on the box, so
that I can put the cover in the lathe again, and refinish the top so as
to be flush with the silver. In this way I get a true, uniform, and
even pattern, which looks as if it had grown in its place; for grace
and elegance of appearance, it cannot be surpassed. Where it is
absolutely necessary to use a chisel and cutting tool to inlay with, I
still make stamps, even so large as half an inch superficial area, for
they are soon cut out, and serve to mark the outlines for the chisel,
so that it is easier to cut the pattern by their aid.

[Illustration: Fig. 71.]

In straight lines, or even in letting in circles, parts of circles,
ellipses, in fact, any curved or angular work with veneers, I
invariably cut the pattern _out_ before laying it on the box, and then
fit the other colored pieces in the spaces left. Very many veneers
cannot be handled at all when dry, without breaking all to pieces and
spoiling the pattern. It will be necessary to soak ebony, for instance,
for some time before you want to use it. With this precaution, you can
cut it in any shape without danger. It is the same with maple veneer.
When I have cut out an intricate pattern in ebony, and wish to inlay
the same with holly, I obtain an exact duplicate of the shape the holly
should have, by placing it, _wet_, over the ebony, holding it firmly,
so that it cannot slip, and then rapping the holly with the end of a
tool handle. In this way a fac simile of the pattern is transferred in
wet lines to the holly, and you have only to follow them over with a
lead pencil to get a perfect shape. Then take a sharp square-ended
knife, and laying the veneer on a hard surface, cut slowly and
carefully all round the marks, and after a few incisions, you will have
the satisfaction of seeing it come out perfect.

                              CHAPTER XVI.

                           DESIGNS IN MOSAIC.

These methods greatly expedite the _labor_ of inlaying, for mere labor
much of it is; that is, when repetition of the pattern is frequent, as
it is in small designs.

The great trouble and vice of amateur mechanics is _haste_; they are
too anxious to see the result of a design to give it proper attention
in detail, and, as a consequence, it lacks that nicety and uniform
elegance that characterize the shop-made goods. For where men work by
the day, they are not too energetic as a rule.

                           DESIGNS IN MOSAIC.

By this I mean the employment of small bits of different colored woods
to produce a certain effect. I have seen many that were made to
represent foliage of trees, the wood being stained green, of course,
but these works of art seem to me labor thrown away, and, except as
mere curiosities, are in no wise attractive; for no workman can do more
than _imitate_ nature in this line, and it is a poor imitation.

[Illustration: Fig. 72.]

A legitimate branch of this line of work is that wherein small bits,
say of the size of Fig. 72, can be conveniently used. When laid in
nicely, and the colors arranged to harmonize, they certainly look well,
resembling the straw flower work, or inlaid straw work of Japan. The
wood may be dyed any color desired, but it is much nicer to use those
colored by nature, which do not fade. I give here a list of naturally
colored woods, useful for this kind of work.

  Red—Cam Wood, Tulip Wood.
  Brown—Walnut, Cocoa.
  Red Brown—Spanish Cedar (cigar box).

These woods all inlay well except the Spanish Cedar and Walnut, which
are apt to chip and sliver off on the edges, when cut thin. Cam wood is
a pretty red wood, very close in grain, but not to be had in veneers,
as it is used chiefly for making dyes. Most of this kind of work looks
better when ranged in angles about a center, though I recently saw a
work-box in Boston, which had an accurate representation of a worsted
pattern worked on a canvas, but as the workman had unfortunately
selected a very ugly pattern, and the woods had faded, his labor was
wholly thrown away.

After having arranged or laid one course in mosaic work, it is
comparatively easy to follow the whole around, but it is absolutely
essential that the pieces to be let in should be fac similes of each
other, for unless this is the case, the pattern will come out wrong
when the ends are joined, or where it meets. Great care must be
observed in this, and as it would be almost impossible to cut slips of
veneer so small, and be accurate, I prefer to take a slip of wood, and
saw off of the end, having, of course, previously planed and callipered
the stick perfectly true. Here let me say, that the saw I use for this
purpose, is the watchmakers’ dividing saw, the same as jewellers use.
Some of the saws are scarcely larger than a horse hair, while others
are three-tenths of an inch deep and very narrow. With this instrument
I can work very delicately as regards thinness and smoothness of
surface. It is also admirable for scroll sawing, of which more

Of course, all these are small jobs, and small, fine work; when it
comes to more elaborate patterns, such as are generally found on
tables, work-boxes, musical boxes, and similar things, it requires more
time, but as the pattern is large, it requires no particular patience
beyond that which a _very_ fine piece of work does. But where the
pieces are small, as in mosaic, it takes a great deal of patience to
pick up one after another, and no small degree of artistic talent to
bring them all in in the right place.

                             CHAPTER XVII.

                         FINISHING THE OUTSIDE.

When the pattern has all been laid, the next thing that remains is to
finish the exterior, and polish it or oil it as may be desired. To do
this it is, of course, necessary to use great care. The veneers, if
they have been used, are very thin, about the twenty-fifth part of an
inch, and there is not much to come off. It must therefore be scraped
very carefully with a sharp scraper, either in the lathe, or, if the
work be a flat surface, by a scraper held in the hand, and made of
sheet steel of the best quality. In using the scraper, care must be
taken to humor the grain of the wood, so that it will not be roughened
up by being rubbed the wrong way. When it has been scraped sufficiently
smooth, it must be thoroughly rubbed with sand paper, until it has an
even, uniform surface all over. If it is to be varnished and polished,
French polish as it is termed, such as is seen on pianos, it will
require a long time and much experience to make it a success. The
reason is this: the polish is really given to the gum of which the
varnish is composed, and not to the wood itself. The gum sinks into the
pores of the wood and fills them up, and hardens as it is applied, but
the fluids in which the gums are dissolved, either turpentine or oil,
evaporate comparatively slowly, so that before each coat is applied,
the previous one must be dry and hard, or else the next one will be
streaky, and the surface will be ridgy.

The length of time depends greatly on the weather; from three to six
months being required to properly dry and harden a piano-case so that
it will wear—six months is, however, extreme, and is only the case in
very warm weather. It will easily be seen why so many amateurs fail in
producing that vitreous glaze, or polish, which is so universally
admired. Not one in fifty has patience enough to wait until the first
coat dries, before the second is applied, and they keep trying the
varnish, to see if it won’t work, in a day or two after it has been put
on. It sometimes takes ten days before the third coat is ready to apply
the next. It is a common fault to apply too much varnish on the first
coat. It is necessary to rub it into the grain of the wood, so that it
is thoroughly charged with it, and sinks into the pores. By rubbing it
is merely meant to take a little on the brush and cover the surface
gradually, without trying to make it look well or ill. The ground work
has to be put on first, before any thing can be done toward
ornamenting. After one coat has been put on, it must be rubbed down
with sand paper to remove any varnish that may not have sunk into the
work, and when all is fair and smooth and dry, a second coat may be
applied and treated in the same way. The third coat may be applied
rather more freely, and must be left to get thoroughly hard before
treating it. It must then be rubbed freely with pumice stone flour, and
water. This will leave it bright and hard if the varnish has been
skillfully put on, and a coat of flowing varnish may now be put on for
the last. Flowing varnish is so-called because it is lighter in body
than most varnishes, and is intended as the last of all, to produce
that elegant glossy surface which characterizes all fine work.

Many persons use shellac varnish, which is simply gum lac (the proper
name is “lac”), which is a gum found in the Indies; the trade give it
the names of shell-lac and seed-lac, and one other which I have
forgotten: shell-lac is the kind used for varnish. The gum is simply
dissolved in alcohol of high proof; the solution being aided by
exposure to a warm place and agitation from time to time. As this
varnish dries immediately, or within an hour, owing to the rapid
evaporation of the alcohol; it is very convenient for amateurs who are
of an energetic turn of mind, and wish to see their productions turned
and finished in a breath, as one may say. It takes a fair polish, but
is by no means so durable or beautiful as copal or hard varnishes. On
some woods, as, for instance, cherry, pine, or cedar, it is very
appropriate, and looks well.

It is quite easy to write these instructions and observations down, but
there is a dexterity, acquired only by practice, which cannot be told
to any one, and the operator must, if possible, inform himself by
visiting the nearest cabinet or piano factory, and see with his eyes
for himself.

I should have said previously that ivory black introduced into
shell-lac varnish, gives a very good black lacquer, closely imitating
japan, while other colors, such as blue, carmine, green, or yellow,
have the effect of enamel when handsomely rubbed down and polished with
several coats. I have seen some most beautiful knobs for drawers, fancy
handles, etc., made in this way, that looked like porcelain.

Oiled wood looks well in furniture, and there may be some who desire to
use it on fancy work. It is simply linseed oil applied in successive
coats; but it requires time to dry, and always has a disagreeable odor
about it.

                             CHAPTER XVIII.

                          INLAYING CONTINUED.

A very convenient tool for inlaying veneers edgewise, so as to produce
alternate dark and white lines is made by taking a piece of steel, one
fourth of an inch by one sixteenth thick, and making a chisel, like
Fig. 73. The bottom is rounded to prevent it from digging in. To use
this tool, or to inlay fine white and black lines, or white lines
alone, all over the surface of any piece of wood in any pattern
desired, it is only needful to mark out the pattern first, incise it
all around with a sharp keen edge, such as a knife blade broken off to
form a square end, and then follow the lines with this tool, when the
wood will come away, leaving a clean channel, in which the veneer may
be inserted with expedition and neatness. In crossing the corners, it
is necessary to use caution, so that they be not broken away, for no
inlaying looks well if chipped, or ragged at the edges. This is
especially convenient for drawing lines across mahogany boxes that have
been put together before inlaying was thought of for them. The veneers
should all be glued together, side and side first, that is, if two
colors are used, then they will fit on the ends properly, and may be
handled with more expedition.

[Illustration: Fig. 73.]

                           GLUING IN VENEERS.

In a previous part of this little work I have advised the use of
waterproof cements for fine inlaying, so that dampness will not affect
them, but as this is not always convenient, it is well to make the glue
so that it can be used and the work finished off in a short time. This
is easily done by making the glue as thick as it will run, or so that
it is like a jelly. If applied in this condition, it will set hard in
thirty minutes, and the work may be cut down without fear or danger of
its moving. I have done this frequently, in order to see what kind of
work I was making. Always put a clamp on your work wherever you can,
for although the glue will adhere of itself to the wood, it adheres
much more strongly if pressed down by a clamp. Also, never put a veneer
on a piece of work that is uneven, for although it may set square under
the pressure of the clamp, when you come to scrape it, it will give way
and yield to the inequalities, and when varnished and polished, will be
full of depressions.

Don’t be afraid to rub down with sand paper, under the impression that
you are spoiling the work, but let the varnish get thoroughly dried,
and be hard before you attempt it. Be sure, also, to remove every
particle of varnish if you touch it at all, otherwise that which
remains will take a coat while the bare wood will not take so much, and
you will have a surface full of scars and ridges. It is not necessary
to touch the wood in rubbing down, but go down _to_ the wood, so that a
waxy appearance is presented, and you will have a handsome finish that
will add greatly to the beauty of the work. White holly is easily
soiled when used in connection with ebony, by the dust from it, and it
will be necessary to rub it, or scrape it delicately, before
varnishing, without touching the ebony.


This substance is certainly a most attractive one to the turner. Pure
in color, hard, solid and strong beyond belief in texture or grain, it
has the fewest disadvantages of any substance we use. It is easily dyed
to any shade, and will hold it a long while. Either for jewelry, or
rather for personal adornment, or articles of utility, it is well
adapted, and but for the cost of it would be in general use. It is
getting dearer and scarcer each year. The best comes from Ceylon, and
that in least repute from African elephants; the former is said to be
much stronger and more solid.

Of its general manipulation there is not much to be said, except that
the workman will find it trying to the edge of his tools. In all
respects it can be cut and turned like hard woods.

[Illustration: Fig. 74.]

It is easily softened by immersion for a time in weak acid, so that its
friability, toughness, or tendency to resist the carving tool, is
destroyed, and this without injuring the goods, unless the acid is too

As it is so expensive in general, it is well for the amateur to know
that he can purchase it in all shapes, either in squares like Fig. 74,
or in flat, cord-like slips, from dealers in it. I will mention one
person, F. Grote, 78 Fulton street, New York, who generally has a good
assortment of this kind.

It is extremely convenient to find pieces of the exact size and shape
one needs, and it is also economical, both in time and material, for
all ivory must be sawed, and that is slow work where there are no
facilities. After the article, whatever it may be, is turned, it may be
either dyed, or polished in its natural color.


This is performed in the easiest way. A wet rag will polish ivory, but
in order to put on a brilliant gloss, take starch, or Spanish white,
saturate a wet rag with it, and hold it on the work; when dried off and
rubbed with a woolen cloth or a piece of chamois leather, it will have
a brilliant and durable gloss.

                             DYEING IVORY.

I tried a great many plans and recipes for dyeing ivory before I hit
upon any that were in all respects satisfactory. Most of them were
nasty, involved the purchase of drugs and dyes that were sure to be
adulterated, and the results were vexatious, but one day, in dyeing
some silk with family dye color, prepared by Howe and Stevens, of
Boston, Massachusetts, the idea occurred to me to try it on ivory. It
succeeded to admiration, and I had found what I had so long sought,
namely, a clean, cheap, simple and _sure_ method of coloring ivory to
any shade needed, in a short time. The color can always be had, ready
for use, in any town, as much so as a bottle of ink, while the various
shades and gradations of tint are ready made to hand; there is no need
of stale urine, or any other mess,—simple immersion in the hot liquid
from ten to twenty-four hours will give a permanent and brilliant hue
to any article. I have never seen such brilliant colors as these dyes
give. The solferino and the black are particularly handsome, and are
insoluble in water; that is, the goods may be washed without injury.
The solferino will not bear _hard_ rubbing in water, but the black and
other colors will, without injury. The depth to which the color
penetrates depends upon the length of time the goods are immersed, but
twenty-four hours, and even six hours in some cases, will answer all
purposes. For chess-men, the solferino is a splendid color, while all
the other tints can be had for other kinds of fancy work.

Ivory is particularly suitable for mosaic inlaying, as it never chips,
and can be cut into the smallest and thinnest pieces without danger of
fracture. It will hold on wood with glue, though there are other
cements, stronger, for the purpose.

It can also be dyed before inlaying, and afterwards rubbed down to a
uniform surface, but the work must be done well, as the dyes do not
always penetrate equally, and if the work is delicate and the design
small, it is apt to change the colors to rub them down. Napkin rings,
breast pins, masonic mallets and emblems generally, miniature gothic
chairs with carved backs for ornamental purposes, chess and checker
men, small boxes for lip and eye salves, needle cases, thimble cases,
ring and jewel boxes, penholders, silk-winders, card cases, all afford
a fine opportunity for the skill and taste of the amateur.

                              CHAPTER XIX.


Although a handsomely veined piece of wood is as beautiful a thing as
any one would wish to see, there are occasionally pieces of work that
look well inlaid, and for this it is desirable that we should have as
pretty patterns and judiciously chosen woods and contrasts as we can

I give here what I think is a pretty design for the cover of a round
box. It is easily made, and I venture to suggest that the following
colors will be found agreeable; No. 1, tulip with outside edge of white
holly, tulip to be cut across the grain. No. 2, ebony cut out of a
solid veneer, that is not pieced. It will save a great deal of time and
labor to glue this veneer on to mahogany a quarter of an inch thick,
and then saw the pattern out with a fine turn-saw. To get the veneer
off whole, soak it in warm water for a few minutes. No. 3, boxwood.
No. 4, ebony. No. 5, tulip, or, if you can get it, turtle wood. It is
sometimes to be had of Henry A. Kerr, Center street, New York, dealer
in woods. The central flower can be omitted or executed. It is a good
deal of work, but will make a beautiful piece when well done. Turtle
wood is very remarkable, being yellow inclining to salmon, mottled with
brownish black streaks, sometimes black with superb crimson markings,
like a summer sunset after a thunder storm.

Fig. 76 is another similar pattern. Of course the workman will make
such disposition of the colors as he pleases. When these are varnished
and French polished, they certainly look splendidly, and are specimens
of work that any one may be proud of; of course supposing them to be
well fitted as to joints, and without the glairy, sticky appearance
that characterizes varnish half rubbed down, and that worked before it
has hardened. Hardening and drying are two different things. Varnish
dries before it hardens, and requires time, the more the better, to
season, so it can be polished. This is a very easy pattern to fit, and
any one of experience can make it complete in four or six hours.

Fig. 77 is still another pattern, but what is shown dark, as at A, in
the outer circles should be light to represent tulip wood. Tulip
contrasts splendidly with ebony. The center or body of the cover should
be rosewood. This must be put on first, all over the whole surface, and
a white holly ring put on the outside edge. The exterior and interior
circles, which form the pattern, are then cut out by a tool like a
carpenter’s bit used in the lathe, as in this diagram. The letter _a_
is round, and will, of course, make a slight center hole in the box
cover, but as it is covered up that is a matter of no moment. The inner
circles B should also be tulip, or some wood that contrasts with ebony;
mahogany is very handsome. This pattern is not pretty, but it is
striking and unique, which is sometimes the same thing. Of course, the
distances of the circles must be determined beforehand with a pair of

In scroll sawing much can be done that is pleasing to the eye in small
works, but for large designs and intricate ones, the amateur will find
an upright or jig saw necessary, unless he be more than usually patient.

For the joints of boxes before veneering I always prefer screws rather
than dovetailing, which takes a long time, and is no better when done;
screws are sure, never start, and save time, which is a great
consideration with amateurs, whose tasks are often, indeed, in nearly
all cases, carried on after some other labor is over, in the interim
between arduous toil.

White woods, such as holly, need white glue, else the joints will show.
Beware of dust in your varnish brush, and take care that you soak it
for half a day before using it, else the hairs will come out on your
work and ruin it. Flat, camel’s hair brushes are to be used, and can be
had in every paint store. Use only the whitest copal varnish for your
white holly, else you will find it yellow holly after the varnish has
been put on. Most varnishes need thinning slightly with turpentine
before use, especially if they have been kept some time.

Keep your lathe centers so that they run true on the points at all
times, and have a mark on them so that they always enter from the same
side of the lathe mandrel.

When you put clamps on to hold your veneers, as you always should, be
careful, if your wood is soft, that you do not set the clamps so tight
as to sink the veneer into the lower wood, for the result will be an
uneven surface, that nothing can remedy.

Be careful to have clean glue and clean surfaces if you wish to make
sound work. Dust or grit ruins glue so that it will not hold.

                              CHAPTER XX.

                            GENERAL SUMMARY.

In polishing metals, whether brass, iron, steel, or of whatever nature,
it is essential that the tool marks and scratches of files, or other
agents, should be entirely removed before the final gloss is given,
otherwise the work will have a cheap look that detracts very much from
its appearance.

If emery of the finest character (flour) is used, with oil, the result
will be very beautiful, but this makes a mess about the lathe it is
desirable to avoid. Polish with oil is softer in appearance than dry
polishing, and is much more durable, being not so liable to rust and
tarnish. Dry polishing is performed with sand paper of various grades,
running from ½ to 0. This gives a very bright, dazzling finish, that is
easily rusted. Brass must be treated with rotten stone and oil to be
nicely polished, and after this the burnisher should be used. Lacquers
are employed for the purpose of preserving the polish unimpaired, and
are made as follows:


  2 gals. Alcohol, proof, specific gravity not less than 95 per. cent.
  1 lb. Seed-lac.
  1 oz. Gum Copal.
  1 oz. English Saffron.
  1 oz. Annotto.


  40 ozs. Proof Alcohol.
  8 grs. Spanish Annotto.
  2 drs. Turmeric.
  ½ oz. Shellac.
  12 grs. Red Sanders.
  When dissolved add 30 drops Spirit of Turpentine.

_Directions for Making._—Mix the ingredients, and let the vessel
containing them stand in the sun, or in a place slightly warmed, for
three or four days, shaking it frequently till the gum is dissolved,
after which let it settle from 24 to 48 hours, when the clear liquor
may be poured off for use. Pulverized glass is sometimes used in making
lacquers, to carry down the impurities.

The best burnisher is a piece of bloodstone ground to shape and set in
a handle; they can be bought for about a dollar and a half at any
watchmakers’ tool store. Rouge powder is also an excellent thing for
polishing brass and German silver. German silver, in wire, also in
sheet, can be had at the same place.

For silver plating fluid the workman will find that manufactured by
Howe & Stevens, Boston, Massachusetts, to be the best of its class, as
it leaves a thin coating of pure silver on the metal, which can be
renewed from time to time, as it wears, by a fresh application.

Any articles that require to be gilt can be best done by electro
platers, who will deposit as much gold on the surface as one desires,
even to the thirty-second part of an inch. It is better, however, to
buy a small battery, which can be had for four or five dollars, and do
this for yourself. Very many other things can be electro-plated, and
fac similes of medals produced at a small cost, which will be both
instructive and ornamental.


There are many ways of soldering, but the amateur will find the spirit
lamp and the soldering iron the most convenient and expeditious.

In soldering tinned surfaces, no particular care is needed, as the
solder will adhere easily, but in brass, or other metals, it does not
do so without the aid of a rosin flux or acid solution. These simply
act to make the surfaces chemically clean, so that the solder will
hold. In fact, cleanliness is absolutely indispensable to success, for
the solder will crawl off of any thing that is dirty or greasy, even
though it may not appear to be so. Lead and tin are used for solder,
and can be bought of any tinner very cheaply. The end of the soldering
iron (which is not iron, but copper, by the way) should be tinned,
otherwise the solder will not hold on it, neither will it follow when
the iron is drawn along a seam.

The iron is readily tinned in this way. File it to the shape you want
it, and put it in the fire, heating it pretty hot, but nothing like
redness. You are then to wipe it clean quickly on a rag wet with
soldering fluid, which can be had in drug stores, and is made of
muriatic acid and sheet zinc dissolved in the same; the zinc must be
clean, and in small strips, and shaken gradually until dissolved. The
solution must then be well diluted with water. It is used by wetting
the rag aforesaid with it and rubbing the iron in it; if block tin in
strips be now rubbed on the end of the iron, it will adhere, and the
iron will be ready for use. The iron must not be heated so as to melt
off the tin and expose the copper underneath; for the iron is then
useless until tinned again.

The soldering fluid is always to be used when brass, or any surfaces
not coated with tin, are to be united.

By the spirit lamp you can join metallic surfaces very easily and
quickly as follows: take your plate, or whatever it is you wish to join
together, and scour it bright with fine sand-paper or pumice stone and
water, on the faces to be united. Apply the soldering fluid, hold it
over the spirit lamp blaze, and as soon as it is well heated, rub it
over with a stick of tin; when it is well tinned, lay it on a hot flat
iron or the stove for a minute, until you have tinned the other piece,
then clap both together, and they will set instantly.

The blowpipe is very convenient for soldering small pieces together
that cannot be touched with the iron, but as it requires some skill to
use it, the amateur is not likely to be very successful with it. The
articles to be soldered in this way, should be placed on a piece of
charcoal, so that the heat will be equally distributed and kept up
during the process.

                       VARNISHING AND POLISHING.

On no account is a second coat of varnish to be applied before the
first one is dry. If this _is_ done the result will be a sticky, ridgy,
dirty looking job. Before the work is varnished even, it must be
thoroughly sand-papered to remove inequalities, and the last
sand-papering should be with the finest grade. Then apply the varnish,
taking care not to put too much on for the first coat. When that is dry
and _hard_, sand-paper with fine paper again and varnish again. Three
to four coats are enough for ordinary work. When the last coat is dry
and hard, get some floated pumice stone flour, that is, pumice stone
flour that has been washed, mix it with water to about the thickness of
cream; apply it to a woolen rag, and rub it gently over the work; not
too hard, for that would cut the varnish off down to the wood. After a
while you will see that the surface of the varnish begins to have a
hard, smooth body, like carriage work. When this occurs, you can wash
the pumice stone all off, and take a little Tripoli or rotten stone and
oil, and rub gently all over the job; you will then have a surpassingly
beautiful and brilliant surface, that will show the grain and vein of
the wood to perfection. If you desire the gloss that varnish gives, you
must apply a thin coat of wearing varnish after this. In varnishing,
you must buy “rubbing varnish” if you intend to polish and oil varnish,
not spirit, which is apt to crack and rub up under the treatment.


In varnishing, you, of course, desire to have a true and even surface,
without a ridge to show where the brush left it. Camel’s hair flat
brushes are used for this purpose, but they will not answer in spirit
varnishes, as the hairs drop out or are loosened from the action of the
spirit on the shellac or glue, which holds them in. Bristle brushes are
the best for general use. They must be soaked for an hour or more in
cold water, to fasten the bristles before using.


This substance is easily sawed into shape, and is easily turned with a
common steel tool. It is polished readily with pumice stone and water
and “putty powder,” this last to be had of chemists or lapidaries. It
is better to preserve the colored surface as nature left it, for the
beautiful rays and tints presented by it are owing to a peculiar
disposition of thin scales on the surface, which retain the light; if
these be destroyed, the beauty of the material is lost. It is to be had
of marine store keepers generally, or the amateur can get it more
readily of the nearest button manufacturer.

                          MISCELLANEOUS TOOLS.

If you buy any tools, always buy the best that money can get. P. S.
Stubs’ files, wire, rimmers, and screw plates, are standard tools, and
the amateur cannot go astray in choosing them. A vise is indispensable,
and it should be large enough to hold the work without springing.

                         CURVING MAPLE VENEERS.

If you wish to curve a veneer so that it will fit a half or a whole
circle, it is easily done by dipping it in hot water, when it will
instantly curl up into any shape you want. I do this with bird’s eye
maple. This wood is easily stained any hue, and is rather handsomer in
chocolate brown than in its natural color. It is then the nearest to
French oak of any wood that we have, and that is unquestionably superb.
Such markings and mottlings as it has, surpass anything ever seen; it
is a deep, rich, chocolate brown color, full of snarls, curves, and
knots, not over five eights of an inch in their largest diameters, and
so beautiful that it seems as if some hand must have arranged them.

The French oak is susceptible of a splendid polish, but I am unable to
say how it works, for I never worked any, nor do I know where to get
it. Curled maple will also take a handsome dye. Get Howe & Stevens’s
Dye Colors in powder—they can be had in any apothecary’s store, of any
shade—put it in an earthen dish and boil it, then dip or sponge the
veneer with it. The color will strike through and through, and you may
sand-paper it as much as you please without removing it. It is a very
beautiful job to take a plain ogee moulding and curl a bird’s eye maple
veneer on the round part, and an ebony veneer on the fillet or hollow,
and then varnish and polish it. It makes one of the most beautiful
picture frames that ever was seen; having all the effect of mouldings
made from the solid wood.


By these I mean horn jet, malachite, alabaster, cannel coal, glass, and
similar substances. For all of these, except malachite, steel will
answer, but that steel will not touch. It is not a nice material to
work, being apt to check and crack in the most unlooked-for manner. To
those who have never seen it, I will say that it is a stone, or species
of marble, obtained in Russia, and is green in color, marked with white
and greenish gray stripes. The green is specially brilliant, and the
effect is very fine. Although it is so hard that steel will not cut it,
it is easily scratched in use, and is a soft stone, and can be readily
cut on a common vulcanite emery wheel, and polished on a razor strop
covered with rouge powder. It is frequently used for jewelry. Glass is
easily filed in a lathe with a common file, but I do not know what any
one should wish to work glass for, as it is exceedingly dangerous from
the splinters which fly from it, is quite friable and easily broken,
and is, moreover, so common that no value attaches to it. Very pretty
vases can be made out of alabaster by turning them in the lathe.






  Acid in soldering, 127

  African black-thorn, 97

  Alabaster, Cutting, 133

  Apple-Wood, 85

  Arbors, 74

  Artistic Wood-Turning, 96

  Bamboo Pattern, 63

  Bank-Bills, Work on, 73

  Bastard Ebony, 83

  Beach Chuck, 94

  Bird’s-eye Maple, 84

  Bit for Turning, 88

  Black Thorn, 97

  Boiler for Toy Engine, 53

  Boring, 55

  Boxes, Joints of, 123

  Box for Pins, 62

  Boxwood, 81

  Brushes for Varnishes, 131

  Burnisher, 126

  Buttons, Solitaire Sleeve, 59

  Cam Wood, 81

  Centers, 65

  Chasers, 33, 35

  Chasing, 33

  Chucking, 42, 49

  Chucks, Geometrical, 73

  Chucks, Wooden, 43

  Clamps for Polishing, 48

  Cocoa Wood, 80

  Colored Woods, 107

  Coloring Maple, 132

  Curled Maple, 84

  Curving Veneers, 132

  Cushman’s Scroll Chuck, 42

  Cutting Alabaster, 133

  Cutting Horn, 133

  Cutting Jet, 133

  Cutting Malachite, 133

  Cutting Miscellaneous Materials, 133

  Cutting, Ornamental, 59

  Cutting Screws, 33

  Designs for Inlaying, 121

  Designs in Mosaic, 106

  Diamond Point, 21

  Doctor, 37

  Drills, Twist, 75

  Dyeing Ivory, 118

  Ebony, 82

  Elliptic Chuck, 74

  Fancy Turning, 71

  Finishing Outside, 110

  Foot Lathe, 13

  Foreign Woods, 77

  General Summary, 125

  Geometrical Chuck, 73

  Gilding, 127

  Glass Filing, 133

  Globe, and Spur within, 68

  Glueing in Veneers, 115

  Good Tools necessary, 20

  Granadilla, 80

  Hand Lathes, 19

  Heel Tools, 27

  Height of Lathe, 22

  Holding the Tool, 23

  Hole Boring, 55

  Holly, White, 82

  Holtzapfel Lathe, 38

  Holtzapfel, Work by, 16

  Horn, Cutting, 133

  Hubs, 40

  Indigenous Woods, 77

  Inlaying, 97, 114

  Inlaying, Designs for, 121

  Inlaying Stamps, 102

  Iron for Soldering, 128

  Ivory, 116

  Jet Cutting, 133

  Joints of Boxes, 123

  Lacquers, 126

  Lac Varnish, 112

  Lathe, Foot, 13

  Lathe, Height of, 22

  Lathe, Holtzapfel, 38

  Lathe, Speed of, 23

  Lathe, Uses of, 16

  Lathes, Hand, 19

  Laurel Root, 82

  Leopard Wood, 78

  Malachite, Cutting, 133

  Mandrels, 38, 74

  Maple, Bird’s-eye, 84

  Maple, Coloring, 132

  Maple, Curled, 84

  Metal Spinning, 51

  Metals, Polishing, 125

  Miscellaneous Tools, 131

  Mosaic Designs, 106

  Natural Colored Woods, 107

  Novel Ornament, 68

  Oiled Wood, 113

  Olive Wood, 83

  Ornamental Cutting, 59

  Ornamental Designs for Inlaying, 121

  Ornamental Woods, 77

  Ornamental Work, 14

  Outside Finishing, 110

  Parallel Holes, to bore, 55

  Patterns, 99

  Pearl, 131

  Pear Wood, 85

  Polishing, 46, 129

  Polishing Metals, 125

  Polishing Ivory, 118

  Polygon and Spurs, 69

  Rack for Tools, 75

  Rest, Slide, 57

  Rest, The, 24

  Rosewood, 84

  Rosin Flux, 127

  Rouge Powder, 127

  Roughing off, 24

  Sandal Wood, 83

  Sawing, Scroll, 123

  Scrapers, 30

  Screw Cutting, 33

  Screws, Tool for Small, 72

  Scroll Chuck, 73

  Scroll Chuck, Cushman’s, 42

  Scroll Sawing, 123

  Shellac Varnish, 112

  Silver-plating Fluid, 127

  Sleeve Buttons, Solitaire, 59

  Slide Rest, 54, 57

  Snake Wood, 78

  Soldering, 127

  Soldering Iron, 128

  Solitaire Sleeve Buttons, 59

  Speed of Lathe, 23

  Spinning Metals, 51

  Stamp Inlaying, 102

  Steel Mandrels, 75

  Straight Tools, 27

  Tamarind, 80

  Tempering Tools, 92

  Tinning Soldering Iron, 128

  Tool for Boring Holes, 55

  Tool for Inlaying, 114

  Tool for Small Screws, 72

  Tool Tempering, 92

  Tools, 22

  Tools, Holding, 23

  Tools, Miscellaneous, 131

  Tools for Wood Turning, 90

  Traversing Mandrel, 38

  Treatment of Woods, 85

  Tulip Wood, 79

  Tunbridge Ware Work, 101

  Turning, Fancy, 71

  Turning, Wood, 87

  Turning, Artistic Wood, 96

  Turtle Wood, 122

  Twist Drills, 75

  Uses of the Lathe, 16

  Varieties of Woods, 77

  Varnishing, 111, 129

  Veneers, 104

  Veneers, Curving, 132

  Veneers, Gluing in, 115

  White Glue, 123

  White Holly, 82

  Wooden Chucks, 43

  Wooden Mandrels, 74

  Woods for Inlaying, 107

  Woods, Ornamental, 77

  Wood Turning, 88

  Wood Turning, Artistic, 96

  Work, Ornamental, 14


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE:

  Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

  Spelling and hyphenations were made consistent based on frequency
  of usage within text and common usage for that time period.

     • Pg 20, excute -> execute
     • Pg 57, cuttter -> cutter
     • Pg 62, "Fig. 43, It may" -> "Fig. 43. It may"
     • Pg 69, th -> the
     • Pg 108, "a regenerally" -> "are generally"
     • Pg 112, thorougly -> thoroughly
     • Pg 121, "colors will will be found" -> "colors will be found"
     • Pg 130, sandpaper -> sand-paper
     • Pg 136, tuning -> turning

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Manual of the Hand Lathe - Comprising Concise Directions for Working Metals of All - Kinds, Ivory, Bone and Precious Woods" ***

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