Practical Carriage Building
Compiled by M.T. Richardson, Vol.1. 1891
All workers in wood require good tools, but none more so than body makers. Theirs must be of a form and quality that will cut the hardest as well as the softest wood, and either with or across the grain. The bench tools absolutely necessary are one single-iron jack, one double iron jack, one twenty-four- inch joiner, one smoothing arid one door plane, three draw knives, one rabbet knife, one set of framer chisels, six socket mortise chisels, one set of flat gouges, one light iron brace, one ratchet, adjustable brace, half dozen auger bits, half dozen pod bits, half dozen center bits, half dozen German gimlet bits, three brace screw drivers, two hand screw drivers , two try squares, one bevel square, one pair compasses, one calipers, one scratch awl, one cutting marker, half dozen brad awls, one scraper, two T planes, three rabbet planes, one claw hammer, one riveting hammer, one large oil stone, two small oil stones, one small and one large hack saw, one sixteen-inch straight cut, one large ripping and one large cross cut saw, one whip saw frame, three blades, one keyhole saw, one spoke shave, one double and two single routers, and one set of punches.
Armed with these, a good workman is fairly equipped, but there are a score or more tools which are absolutely necessary f work is to be done rapidly. Many of the special tools have been made for specific uses, but scarcely one comes amiss on the body rnaker’s bench nowadays.
One of the most important tools is the draw knife, and the workman who has a good variety, properly ground, is able to perform his work more easily and better than the one poorly quipped in this respect. Five knives can be used to an advantage, two for dressing up broad hard wood, one having a flat face, as shown by the cross section, Fig. 7, two concaved, as shown by Figs. 7a and 8. These should not be less than ne and three-eighths inch wide on the face. If for use on hard and soft wood alike, the bevel should be as shown by Fig. 7a; if for hard wood only, a shorter bevel, as shown by Fig. 7; if for soft wood only, then the bevel should be lung, as shown by Fig. 8.
The next size knife should have a face about one and one-eighth inch wide, perfectly flat, or slightly concaved, with the back ground, as shown by Fig. 8. A fifth knife should have a short blade, not to exceed seven inches long on the cutting edge, one-half inch wide on the face, ground short bevel, as shown by Fig. 7, and ground round on the back.
The large knives should be heavy, so that they will not spring when used on the heaviest work. The cutting edges should have a true sweep of one-quarter of an inch to the foot, and in all cases there must be metal enough back of the face to give a support; ground as shown by Figs. 7, 7a, and 8.
The hang of the blade is an important matter, but as no two workmen grasp the handles alike, it is impossible to give an angle that would suit all parties. Then too the angle for a heavy knife for dressing up would not be the angle desired for smaller knives for general work. The best guide for determining the angle is to lay the face of the blade flat upon a piece of wood secured in the vise on a line horizontal with the top of the bench, grasp the handles firmly with both hands, the arms in a natural, easy position, without bending the wrist. When this can be done without bending the wrist, or changing the position of the face of the blade, the angle is all right. For general use on all kinds of timber the edge should hang a little lower than for dressing up.
The question is often asked, “Why is it that one man, who apparently works no harder than his neighbor, can accomplish so much more?“ An examination of the drawing knives will answer the question. The quick workman has a good assortment, all properly ground, so that when working the edge “bites” and the cut is clean and true. There are men who will dress up a pair of four-inch ash bottom sides with a knife as true as most men will with a plane, and in half the time.